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Wout van Aert unbeatable in Loenhout

ZOLDER BELGIUM DECEMBER 27 Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team JumboVisma celebrates winning during 17th Superprestige HeusdenZolder 2021 Mens Elite SuperprestigeCX SPHeusdenZolder on December 27 2021 in Zolder Belgium Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) made it six wins in a row for the 2021-2022 cyclo-cross season, taking out the Azencross in Loenhout ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek).

Unlike his previous wins, where he rode away solo early in the race, Van Aert waited until the penultimate lap to ditch Quinten Hermans (Tormans CX) and Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) in pursuit of Vanthourenhout, who attacked through the pit mid-lap.

Van Aert bridged across to Vanthourenhout then left him behind, while the race for the X2O Badkamers Trophy played out further back, where Aerts fought to gain time over Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal).

Vanthourenhout held on for second at 14 seconds, while Aerts made great strides toward the GC in third at 27 seconds but 1:13 ahead of rival Iserbyt. He now leads the series by nearly two minutes.

 "I am happy with this victory. I tried to achieve it as economically as possible, because there was a lot of wind today," Van Aert said.

"There was a long stretch into the headwind. That's why I didn't want to go alone too quickly, because that would have cost me a lot of strength. I tried to make the difference a little later."

"When Michael Vanthourenhout accelerated, I had to give everything to get back on track and then I immediately took over. For the time being, things are going very well. I hope to get through the coming races well, because there are a lot of them in a short time. And then hopefully I will be recovered in time for the Belgian Championship."

In absence of his famous brother, David van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) took the hole shot but it was Sweeck who claimed the early lead, stretching the bunch out along the heavy, muddy course.

Aerts attacked for the bonus seconds, followed by Iserbyt and Hermans but the race stayed largely together until lap three, when Van Aert put in a surge and took Sweeck and Hermans along.

Vanthourenhout scrambled across on lap four thanks to a superior strategy coping with a ditch right before the mechanic's pit. Riding far into the pits before taking a new bike, he joined the leaders and used the same strategy on the next lap to attack.

But Van Aert was ready and joined Vanthourenhout and, despite sliding out on a slick bend and having to step off, he found his footing and soon attacked to solo to victory.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 0:56:16
2Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:00:14
3Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:00:27
4Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans - Circus Cyclo Cross Team 0:00:41
5Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:00:54
6Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans - Circus Cyclo Cross Team 0:00:59
7Felipe Orts Lloret (Spa) Burgos-BH 0:01:04
8Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin - Fenix 0:01:10
9Vincent Baestaens (Bel) CX Team Deschacht-group Hens-containers Maes 0:01:17
10Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:01:25
11Niels Vandeputte (Bel) Alpecin - Fenix 0:01:32
12Jens Adams (Bel) 0:01:33
13Tom Meeusen (Bel) CX Team Deschacht-group Hens-containers Maes 0:01:34
14Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:01:41
15Daan Soete (Bel) CX Team Deschacht-group Hens-containers Maes 0:02:09
16Thomas Mein (GBr) Tormans - Circus Cyclo Cross Team 0:02:20
17Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin - Fenix 0:02:31
18Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Tormans - Circus Cyclo Cross Team 0:03:13
19Thijs Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:03:17
20Lander Loockx (Bel) CX Team Deschacht-group Hens-containers Maes 0:03:33
21Curtis White (USA) Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld 0:03:42
22Tony Periou (Fra) Team S1 Neo Loudeac 0:03:45
23Arne Vrachten (Bel) 0:04:02
24Kerry Werner (USA) 0:04:13
25Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa) Nesta - MMR CX Team 0:04:15
26Seppe Rombouts (Bel) 0:04:16
27Robin Alderweireld (Bel) 0:04:49
28Mathijs Wuyts (Bel) 0:04:54
29Stan Godrie (Ned) 0:04:56
30Julian Siemons (Bel) 0:05:07
31Valentin Guillaud (Fra) Team Guevel Immobilier Laval Cyclisme 53 0:05:43
32Jonas Degroote (Bel) 0:05:47
33Mario Junquera San Millan (Spa) Unicaja Banco - Gijon 0:05:52
34Mathieu Morichon (Fra) Team Royalbikeshop.Com 0:05:57
35David van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin - Fenix 0:06:15
36Marcel Meisen (Ger) Alpecin - Fenix 0:06:16
37Valentin Humbert (Fra) Team S1 Neo Loudeac 0:06:44
38Caleb Swartz (USA) 0:06:46
39Senne De Meyer (Bel)
40Ingmar Uytdewilligen (Bel) 0:07:07
41Klaas Groenen (Ned) 0:07:14
42Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 0:07:16
43Nick Peers (Bel) 0:07:18
44Lorenzo Marasco (Fra) Sebmotobikes CX Team 0:07:19
45Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) 0:07:21
46Siebe Tormans (Bel) 0:07:25
47Alex Colman (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:07:26
48Grégory Careme (Bel)
49Matej Ulik (Svk)
50Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies
51Celestin Guillon (Fra)
52Florian Hamm (Ger) Schamel p/b Kloster Kitchen
53Ondřej Zelený (Cze)
54Maarten Van Staeyen (Bel)
55Yelle Leaerts (Bel)
56Cameron Jette (Can)
57Andrew Giniat (USA)
58Mathieu Taburet (Fra)
59Finnegan O'Connor (USA)
60Philipp Heigl (Aut)
61Rory Jack (USA)
62Tyler Cloutier (USA)
63Andy Ruts (Bel)
64Yannick Mayer (Ger)
65Frederick Junge (USA)
66Gauthier Heymes (Fra)
67Greg Bruynseels (Svk)
DNFDiether Sweeck (Bel) IKO - Crelan
DNFYentl Bekaert (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions
DNFTim De Schuyter (Bel)
DNFNicholas Lando (USA)

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.

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