European champion Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) increased his lead in the Superprestige series as he soloed to victory in the fifth round in Boom ahead of his teammate Michael Vanthourenhout. Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) came home in third place, while Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) had to settle for fourth.
"It was a dangerous course and every lap it got more difficult," Iserbyt said. "You could see that in the race. I am glad that I was able to win on this beautiful course. Everyone raced about the same speed.
"It was difficult to make a difference, but in the end it was a battle of attrition. I waited for that one moment because I knew it was going to be a long and hard race and had to pay attention to technique."
Iserbyt was prominent throughout, showing his strength as early as the second lap. The Belgian’s decisive move came with two-and-a-half laps to go, when he hit the front on a steep climb and pressed home his advantage when Van Aert and the men on his wheel were forced off their bikes and onto their feet near the summit.
Both Van Aert and Aerts were fallers in the slippery conditions as they gave chase, and therein, perhaps, lay the difference between Iserbyt and the rest here. The Belgian produced a technically flawless ride, making light of the conditions as he forged clear to what was ultimately a resounding victory.
Iserbyt had time to wipe the mud off his jersey as he crossed the line for his sixth win of the season, 15 seconds ahead of Vanthourenhout and 21 up on Aerts, while Van Aert came in 32 seconds down.
Corne van Kessel (Tormans Cyclo-cross Team) took fifth ahead of Ryan Kamp and Belgian champion Laurens Sweeck. Tom Pidcock crossed the line in 9th place, marking a significant progression on his outing last weekend.
Van Aert was riding his third cyclo-cross race of the winter and he admitted beforehand that he was still building form for the events in late December, when his eternal rival Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) enters the fray.
After a brace of third places last weekend, Van Aert was among the favourites here, but he suffered an early setback when he was squeezed out on the inside of a turn on the first lap, which left him with some ground to recoup in the opening phase of the race.
Iserbyt ignited the race by riding up a run-up on the second lap, while Aerts briefly struggled. Come lap four, there were six riders in front, as Van Aert had worked his way up to Iserbyt, Aerts, and Vanthourenhout, while Sweeck and Van Kessel hung on as best they could.
Van Aert came to the front on lap four and his searing show of force there seemed to open another phase of the race, helping to drag the four strongest riders clear of the rest.
"It looked like I felt good on those climbs, but that was just an illusion," Van Aert said. "Fourth place was where I belonged today. I didn't have a good feeling."
Aerts forced the issue on lap six and his pace-making strung things out and opened some small gaps among the front runners, but the leading quartet were still in contact by lap’s end.
The afternoon’s key attack followed on lap seven, where Iserbyt hit the front on a steep climb. Van Aert was on his wheel, but when the Jumbo-Visma man was forced off his bike and onto his feet, Iserbyt sensed his opportunity and punched his way clear. Aerts led the chase at first, but when his wheels slipped from under him, Van Aert took up the pursuit with Vanthourenhout on his wheel.
With two laps to go, Van Aert and Vanthourenhout trailed Iserbyt by 11 seconds with Aerts a further five seconds back, but the race took on another complexion shortly afterwards, when Van Aert lost his grip on a left-hand corner and fell. That left Vanthourenhout in lone pursuit of his Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammate Iserbyt, while Van Aert was joined by Aerts a little further behind.
Iserbyt changed his bike on the penultimate lap and he took the bell with 13 seconds in hand on Vanthourenhout and another seven on Aerts, while Van Aert came through 25 seconds down.
The positions remained unchanged on the final lap around the venue of the Tomorrowland music festival in Boom, where the day belonged to Iserbyt. He extends his lead in the Superprestige standings to 5 points over Aerts, while Sweeck lies 11 points back in third.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||1:02:05|
|2||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:00:15|
|3||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:00:21|
|4||Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:00:32|
|5||Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:01:11|
|6||Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:01:18|
|7||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:01:33|
|8||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:01:46|
|9||Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Trinity Racing||0:02:00|
|10||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:02:06|
|11||Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:02:15|
|12||Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:02:26|
|13||Daan Soete (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers||0:02:30|
|14||Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:02:31|
|15||Thibau Nys (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:02:46|
|16||Anton Ferdinande (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:02:56|
|17||Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team Sunweb||0:03:04|
|18||Mees Hendrikx (Ned) Credishop-Fristads||0:03:06|
|19||Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:03:14|
|20||Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:03:24|
|21||Ben Turner (GBr) Trinity Racing||0:03:35|
|22||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||0:03:39|
|23||Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Teika-BH-Gsport||0:03:45|
|24||Thomas Mein (GBr) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:03:48|
|25||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers||0:03:57|
|26||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers||0:04:14|
|27||Curtis White (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||0:04:20|
|28||Lander Loockx (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers||0:04:35|
|29||Arne Vrachten (Bel) Acrog - Tormans Balen BC||0:04:43|
|30||Emiel Verstrynge (Bel) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||0:05:03|
|31||Joran Wyseure (Bel) Acrog - Tormans Balen BC||0:05:21|
|32||Tim van Dijke (Ned) Jumbo Visma Development||0:05:26|
|33||Arne Baers (Bel) Bert Containers - Pauwels Sauzen||0:05:40|
|34||Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:05:54|
|35||Seppe Rombouts (Bel) Acrog - Tormans Balen Bc||0:06:06|
|36||Hugo Jot (Fra) Ardennes Cross Team||0:06:07|
|37||Jelle Camps (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:06:15|
|38||Kyle Agterberg (Ned) G.w.c. de Adelaar||0:06:44|
|39||Len Dejonghe (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers||0:06:57|
|40||Yan Gras (Fra) AAA Sörius|
|41||Antoine Huby (Fra) Cross Team Legendre|
|42||Robin Alderweireld (Bel) Team Atom 6|
|43||Jelle Vermoote (Bel) Acrog - Tormans Balen Bc|
|44||Joris Delbove (Fra) Team S1neo-Graal-Bjorka|
|45||Julian Siemons (Bel) AA Drink Young Lions|
|46||Ward Huybs (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions|
|47||Dolf Pemen (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT|
|48||Wout Vervoort (Bel) Iko-crelan|
|49||Joachim van Looveren (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT|
|50||Maik van der Heijden (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg - Destil|
|51||Jarno Bellens (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal|
|52||Yves Coolen (Bel) Beat Cycling Team|
|53||Aurélien Philibert (Fra) Ardennes Cross Team|
|54||Ydris Salomez (Bel) Proximus-Alphamotorhomes-Doltcini CT|
|DNF||Vincent Oger (Bel) Entente Cycliste de Wallonie|
|DNF||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers|
|DNF||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads|
|DNF||David van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix|
|DNF||Stan Godrie (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg - Destil|
|DNF||Gianni Siebens (Bel) Urbano Cycling Team|
|DNF||Jetze van Campenhout (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers|
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||72|
|2||Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||67|
|3||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||61|
|4||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||59|
|5||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Baloise Lions||54|
|6||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert||53|
|7||Daan Soete (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers||36|
|8||Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||28|
|9||Quinten Hermans (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert||27|
|10||Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Teika-BH-Gsport||23|
|11||Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers||14|
|12||Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix||14|
|13||Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||13|
|14||Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma||12|
|15||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Group Hens-Maes Containers||9|
|16||Diether Sweeck (Bel) Credishop-Fristads||9|
|17||Pim Ronhaar (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||9|
|18||Thomas Pidcock (GBr) Trinity Racing||7|
|19||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix||5|
|20||Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||5|
|21||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||5|
|22||Timo Kielich (Bel) Credishop-Fristads||4|
|23||Jelle Camps (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||4|
|24||Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Tormans Cyclo Cross Team||3|
|25||Anton Ferdinande (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||3|
|26||Yentl Bekaert (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||2|
|27||Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions||1|
|28||Thibau Nys (Bel) Telenet Baloise Lions|
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