Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) made it seven cyclo-cross wins from seven starts at the GP Sven Nys in Baal, beating Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) after catching and passing the Briton on the last lap of the race.
After a hard battle, Pidcock crossed the line nine seconds down, while Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) rounded out the podium at 28 seconds down.
"Maybe I got into unnecessary trouble," Van Aert reflected after the race, which saw him battle back to the front after losing time due to a problem with his shoe.
"In retrospect it's nice that it was so exciting, but I didn't see it that way during the race. That problem with my shoe made it extra difficult for me.
"This win gives me a little bit more relief. That is partly due to my opponents. I wasn't riding against just anyone – you know who you're up against. But I wasn't really thinking about that during the race.
"I was able to use my strength there, so I kept getting closer to Tom each time. As we went into the final laps, my plan was to strike."
Van Aert, Pidcock, Iserbyt and Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions) were away from the rest of the field on the opening lap of the hour-long race, with several others – including Aert's teammate Lars van der Haar and Iserbyt's teammate Michael Vanthourenhout – sticking close behind.
Aerts was the first man to drop from the lead group after making an error, while a mid-race charge from behind by the chase group came to nothing after Van Aert upped the pace at the front three laps in.
Another attack from Van Aert on the next lap saw him put a gap between him and his two companions. However, a broken shoe and resultant change saw him drop over 30 seconds.
The Belgian wouldn't be defeated though, first catching Iserbyt and then making it across to Pidcock just before the start of the final lap. The pair dueled with one another for much of the lap before Van Aert finally prevailed on an uphill section towards the end, pushing on to another victory in what has so far been a perfect 2021-22 season.
Aerts continues to lead the X2O Trofee standings at the midway point of the eight-round series. He leads Iserbyt by 1:20.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma||1:04:22|
|2||Tom Pidcock (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers||0:00:10|
|3||Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:00:29|
|4||Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions||0:01:16|
|5||Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:01:58|
|6||Ben Turner (GBr) Trinity Racing||0:02:13|
|7||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions||0:02:25|
|8||Jens Adams (Bel) Hollebeekhoeve||0:02:44|
|9||Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal||0:02:48|
|10||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Deschacht-Hens-Maes||0:02:50|
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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