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Attacks on Mt. Krumpit prove to be decisive for both Iserbyt and Rochette, who both claim maiden World Cup victories.
21-year-old American Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) also had a breakthrough performance to take claim her first World Cup podium, placing third in the women’s race.
In the men’s, Iserbyt and 2018 winner Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) went away early, before being caught by a five-rider chase. Aerts continued to apply pressure and started to whittle down the group. It was Aerts’s acceleration up Mt. Krumpit that made the selection, as he shed all riders bar Iserbyt.
The pair continued together, but with three laps remaining, Iserbyt was able to use his climbing ability to move away on Mt. Krumpit, soloing to the win by a margin of 56 seconds. Aerts took second place while Daan Soete (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) came third.
“It has not sunk in yet, but it’s really big,” said Iserbyt of his victory. “Besides the world championships, it is one of the biggest races of the year.”
“Toon set a really high pace at the start of the race and at the top of the climb, I think he was over his limit so I took advantage,” said Iserbyt of his winning move. “I got a little gap and just held my pace.”
World Cup Round 1 – Men
1. Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 1:05:27
2. Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) 1:06:21
3. Daan Soete (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 1:06:27
Rochette was able to recover from an early crash to win the women’s race. Having set the pace early on, she crashed in the sandy section, going over her bars. She was quick to pace herself back, then catch and distance Inge Van Der Heijden (CCC – Liv), who had been leading the race. With Rochette alone out front, Honsinger and Katerina Nash (Cliff) bridged across shortly after.
Rochette made her attack with two laps to go, accelerating up Mt Krumpit in a move that Nash and Honsnger were unable to counter. The Canadian held off the chase to take the win, with Nash and Honsinger following her to second and third place respectively.
“I have been dreaming about this for a long time – I am a big dreamer and when I started cyclocross I initially set my goals and my mind on wanting to win a World Cup and to be one of the best,” said Rochette. “I just believed it was possible – it means the world.”
“The run up on Mt. Krumpit was a key section of the race for me. I realized on the first lap that I was running it a bit faster and so I took advantage,” continued the winner. “That is where, with two laps to go and Clara and Katerina on my wheel, I decided that I was just going to go full gas. I got a little gap and was able to hold until the end.”
World Cup Round 1 – Women
1. Maghalie Rochette (Specialized – Feedback Sports) 46:23:00
2. Katerina Nash (Clif) 46:30:00
3. Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) 46:38:00