Iserbyt wins UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup - Bern

World Cup leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) continued his winning streak in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. The 22-year-old Belgian captured a third consecutive victory, this time with a win in Bern, Switzerland. Belgian champion Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) won a tactical battle on a muddy course for second place, holding off Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal). Thanks to his third win in three World Cup rounds, Iserbyt strengthens his lead in the World Cup over Aerts to thirty points.

Iserbyt is clearly the man of the first part of this cyclo-cross season. He was delighted with his hat trick. 

“It feels good. When I played football I once scored a hat trick but never in cyclo-cross,” Iserbyt told Telenet Play Sports during the post-race flash interview.

Iserbyt was always in control of the race. He took a blistering start and was only briefly passed by Belgian road champion Tim Merlier. Iserbyt quickly moved back into the lead and his acceleration resulted in a first selection. Merlier made no attempt to keep up with Iserbyt but performed well and he ended up finishing seventh in Bern. Meanwhile Iserbyt was joined by teammate Vanthourenhout, Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea Lions), Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions) and eventually Aerts too.

Iserbyt switched bikes a couple of times and afterwards he explained he was searching for the right set-up. “Early on I needed some time to get into the rhythm. I had to switch several times to find the right pressure. Michael was a good teammate in the chasing group where a lot of Telenet Fidea Lions riders were present. They tried to set something up a few times but we controlled it well. We don’t need a lot of words to understand each other,” Iserbyt said. Halfway through the race, Iserbyt put in a big acceleration. Belgian champion Aerts was the final rider who held onto Iserbyt’s wheel but the latter was gone for good after four laps of racing. Teammate Vanthourenhout skipped Saturday’s Superprestige race in Boom, Belgium due to illness. He rode surprisingly well and even tried to bridge up solo to Iserbyt in the two following laps but his attempt fell short.

“Many people will say that I put up a good show [by skipping yesterday’s race] but I wasn’t on my bike until Thursday. This is well above my expectations but maybe it ended up this way because you needed fresh legs on a course like this one in Bern. It annoys me. It frustrates me. It made me stronger today, trying to make these people shut their mouth. I tried to bridge up to Eli but he’s on another level nowadays. I possibly paid the price for my efforts but I still managed to finish on the podium,” Michael Vanthourenhout said. 

While Iserbyt continued to extend his lead up to half a minute when hitting the penultimate lap, Vanthourenhout was up for a battle with Telenet Fidea riders Aerts and Hermans. Hermans had a go on that penultimate lap but Vanthourenhout stood tall. When reaching the bell lap, there was no bell to be heard, which caused confusion with the race leader. When he eventually approached the finish line he made gestures that indicated he expected that one more lap had to be raced.

 “It seems like I was always one lap behind the actual timing. The display at the finish indicated three more laps and then two more laps so I was expecting to hear the bell but then everybody was standing at the finish. I didn’t know for sure. When I cornered into the finishing straight the display showed there was one more lap to go and just before I finish it switched to finish. I still had a final lap in my legs,” Iserbyt said. In the chase group, Aerts seemed to be suffering a lot but he clearly saved something for the final lap as he made a big acceleration. Hermans was the first to get dropped and eventually Vanthourenhout had to bow his head too. Aerts once again finished as runner-up, holding off Vanthourenhout and Hermans.

“It turns out that Eli is really strong,” Aerts told Telenet Play Sports.

“I can be happy with a weekend like this with a victory [Superprestige Boom] and a second place. It was hard. The legs were tired after yesterday’s race and the long trip. Michael had a good start, possibly because he was more fresh because he didn’t race yesterday. Everybody finished on the right spot. By riding a good, tactical finale I can finish in second place. My start wasn’t great and then I lacked the energy to mix in when Eli and Michael were playing team tactics. Luckily there was a good co-operation with Quinten Hermans in the chase. That’s not so obvious because he’s moving to another team in a few weeks time, so I thank him for that,” Aerts said. Iserbyt defends his lead position in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup next month during the fourth World Cup round in Tabor, Czech Republic. By that time, Mathieu van der Poel will have made his comeback in cyclo-cross. Van der Poel is currently scheduled to ride his first race in Ruddervoorde on November 3.


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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Eli Iserbyt (Bel) 1:01:26
2Toon Aerts (Bel) 0:00:35
3Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) 0:00:44
4Quinten Hermans (Bel) 0:00:52
5Corne Van Kessel (Ned) 0:01:01
6Lars Van der Haar (Ned) 0:01:02
7Tim Merlier (Bel) 0:01:15
8Laurens Sweeck (Bel) 0:01:20
9Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) 0:01:23
10Daan Soete (Bel) 0:01:38
11Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) 0:01:46
12Thijs Aerts (Bel) 0:01:58
13Jim Aernouts (Bel) 0:02:04
14Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) 0:02:11
15Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) 0:02:24
16Jens Adams (Bel) 0:02:37
17Diether Sweeck (Bel) 0:02:52
18Tom Meeusen (Bel) 0:02:57
19Marcel Meisen (Ger) 0:03:01
20Steve Chainel (Fra)
21Timon Ruegg (Swi) 0:03:13
22Michael Boros (Cze) 0:03:21
23Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa) 0:03:28
24Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) 0:03:40
25Braam Merlier (Bel) 0:03:45
26Lukas Flueckiger (Swi) 0:03:49
27Simon Zahner (Swi) 0:03:51
28Jan Nesvadba (Cze)
29Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) 0:03:56
30Maik Van der Heijden (Ned) 0:04:28
31Stan Godrie (Ned) 0:04:39
32Vincent Baestaens (Bel) 0:04:49
33Gosse Van der Meer (Ned) 0:05:00
34Alois Falenta (Fra) 0:05:26
35Aurélien Philibert (Fra) 0:05:30
36Lukas Winterberg (Swi) 0:05:41
37Lander Loockx (Bel) 0:05:46
38Severin Sagesser (Swi) 0:06:16
39Yan Gras (Fra) 0:06:26
40Gilles Mottiez (Swi) 0:06:46
41Stefano Capponi (Ita)
42Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)
43Lucas Brondani (Fra)
44Lucas Vaz (Fra)
45Kevin Bradford-parish (USA)
46Luca Ursino (Ita)
DNFSieben Wouters (Ned)
DNFDavid Menut (Fra)

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