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Cyclo-cross round-up: Iserbyt, Nash retain World Cup leads despite off-form finishes in Koksijde

Toon Aerts' third place at round 5 of the 2019/20 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Koksijde behind Mathieu van der Poel and Laurens Sweeck lifted the Belgian champion to just 18 points off the overall World Cup lead
Toon Aerts' third place at round 5 of the 2019/20 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Koksijde behind Mathieu van der Poel and Laurens Sweeck lifted the Belgian champion to just 18 points off the overall World Cup lead
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was a double celebration for Corendon-Circus in Koksijde, Belgium, at round 5 of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup on Sunday as Mathieu van der Poel won the men's event and 21-year-old Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado won her first elite women's World Cup race.

Van der Poel extended his run of cyclo-cross wins to an astonishing 33, beating Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal's Laurens Sweeck by 25 seconds and Belgian champion Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) by 35 seconds, having had to make his way through a large part of the field from a lowly starting-grid position, having only started his World Cup campaign with round 4, which he won after similarly having to pass much of the field.

Van der Poel appeared not to have any hangover from having also won the previous day's Ambiancecross in Wachtebeke, Belgium, ahead of Tim Merlier (Creafin-Fristads) and Quentin Hermans (Telenet Baloise Lions), who finished ninth and fifth, respectively, at the Koksijde World Cup the next day.

Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) continues to lead the men's World Cup, despite what was somewhat of an off-day for the Belgian in the Koksijde sand on Sunday, where he finished 13th. It meant that Aerts' third-place finish closed the gap in the overall standings to just 18 points, with four rounds left to race.

Nash continues to lead Kay, Keough and Alvarado

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado's victory in Koksijde, while not unexpected, announced the Dutch rider as a true contender for both the overall title and the World Championships in February. The current under-23 European champion beat Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions) by just six seconds on Sunday, with 777's Yara Kastelijn – the elite European champion, and winner of Saturday's Ambiancecross – a further two seconds back.

Like Iserbyt in the men's race, the overall World Cup leader, Luna's Katerina Nash, finished well off the pace in 14th. Despite 'only' finishing 12th, Great Britain's Anna Kay (Experza Pro CX) has now moved up from fourth to second place overall, and trails Nash by what is still a good buffer of 40 points.

Alvarado's victory, meanwhile, on the back of two runner's-up spots in the previous rounds of the World Cup, after she missed the opening two rounds, moves her up to fourth in the overall standings, 48 points off Nash's lead, and only eight points behind 20-year-old Kay, whose overall lead in the under-23 standings is now also under real threat from Alvarado.

UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup overall standings after round 5 – ELITE MEN top 10
1Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal348 points
2Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions330
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 284
4Lars Van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions263
5Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions257
6Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal250
7Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Creafin-Fristads217
8Corne van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions210
9Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions195
10Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions190

UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup overall standings after round 5 – ELITE WOMEN top 10
1Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna268 points
2Anna Kay (GBr) Experza Pro CX228
3Kaitlin Keough (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld224
4Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned) Corendon-Circus220
5Inge van der Heijden (Ned) CCC-Liv219
6Annemarie Worst (Ned) 777215
7Maghalie Rochette (Can) Specialized-Feedback Sports210
8Manon Bakker (Ned) Experza Pro CX194
9Caroline Mani (Fra)192
10Katherine Compton (USA)189