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.
Some fine news! @IserbytEli had a check-up with his physiotherapist today. The race in Baal had a bit of an impact on the injured left elbow, but Eli received green light again to race tomorrow's World Cup in Hulst 👊📷 https://t.co/D5Ck2KCrLK#CXWorldCup pic.twitter.com/odIFbSsC0CJanuary 2, 2021
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