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Eli Iserbyt gets 'green light' to race Hulst World Cup

Belgian Eli Iserbyt the mens race of the Superprestige Boom fifth stage of the Superprestige cyclocross cycling competition Sunday 06 December 2020 in BoomBELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images
Belgian Eli Iserbyt won the mens race of the 2020 Superprestige Boom (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Eli Iserbyt has received the “green light” to race Sunday in Hulst and defend his title from last year, it was reported today by his team, Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal.

The team posted on social media that the reigning European cyclo-cross champion visited his physiotherapist earlier in the day to check on his left elbow, which was injured the day after Christmas at the Superprestige race in Heusden-Zolder. He crashed on the third lap chasing down eventual winner Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and was taken from the course on a stretcher with a suspected broken elbow.

The next day the 23-year-old Belgian confirmed there was no break, saying on Twitter, “Thanks to all of you for your kind words. Painful crash in Zolder, but luckily no fractures found. I don’t know for sure yet when, but: I’ll be back!”

This year the Hulst race is a UCI World Cup event, the fourth of five on the calendar, with the final event on January 24 in Overijse. It is also a final test for Iserbyt and his Belgian compatriots before the national cyclo-cross championships in Meulebeke next weekend. He took the silver medal in 2020, the title going to his Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammate Laurens Sweeck.

The injury prevented Iserbyt from competing at the World Cup event in Dendermonde, which was the first UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup victory of the season for Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).

Iserbyt returned to competition at the GP Sven Nys in Baal, where he led the race for a while and settled on a fourth-place finish, which allowed him to retain his led in the X2O Trophy standings.

"I didn't expect this, I really had a good feeling," Iserbyt told Sporza after the Baal race. “Maybe the legs were a bit better than expected because I did a little less in the last few days and am therefore a bit fresher. I don't know, but I had a really good feeling. But in the end the pain came back up."

Iserbyt moved from the U23 ranks to the elite level level at the start of the 2019-20 cyclo-cross season, and immediately made a mark by winning the first three rounds of the World Cup series. This season he has six wins, and a second place in the first World Cup at Tabor.