The second to last round of the World Cup awaited in the French city of Nommay today. Toon Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) led in the World Cup classification. World Champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) celebrated his 25th birthday, but was not present today as he is training in Spain, preparing for the spring classics on the road.
A very good start could be noticed for teammates Lars van der Haar and Thijs Aerts (Telenet Baloise Lions) today. Also, new Belgian National Champion Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal) had a good start. After having had some bad starts this season, the Belgian champion jersey seemed to give him wings. Three minutes into the race, Sweeck took the lead as well.
Thijs Aerts later regained the lead and passed the finish line with a little advantage on a large chasing group led by Sweeck. Iserbyt then took on the chase and closed the gap, the other Aerts hanging on to his wheel.
Once his brother was caught, Toon Aerts put the hammer down. Iserbyt was the only one able to follow an unleashed Aerts. Without mechanical problems for Iserbyt and Aerts, the rest would have to battle for 3rd today.
When Aerts later on attacked again, Iserbyt got dropped. Was this the decisive move of the race?
In the background British national champion Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing) had attacked as well, only Belgian champion Sweeck being able to hold on to his wheel.
Partly because of a mistake of Iserbyt on the barriers, his arrear had gone up to 11 seconds at the end of Lap 7. He then reduced the gap a bit and when Aerts changed bikes, Iserbyt decided not to, resulting in a decrease of Aerts’ advantage to 5 seconds at the end of Lap 8. As best of the rest, Sweeck passed the finish line with a 56 seconds arrear, as he had left Pidcock behind.
On a little uphill Iserbyt closed the gap entirely and pushed passed Aerts. After a bike change by Aerts, a little gap opened up. No worries for the Aerts fans yet, as he managed to close it by the end of the second-to-last lap.
Inside the bell lap, not wanting to wait for a sprint, Aerts attacked fiercely. Iserbyt lost some ground.
The small West Flemish rider didn’t want to give up today and fought his way back once again after which he immediately attacked himself. A little gap opened up and the final stretch awaited.
The World Cup leader had given his all with his numerous attacks and couldn’t make his way back to Iserbyt’s wheel. After a tough duel Iserbyt drove this one home.
“I’ve had to go deep. It was a very long race, but on a track that was put there for me. Toon (Aerts) was better in the first half of the race and I had to pay attention on my pace,” Iserbyt said (translated). “After that I skipped a few bike changes to come closer and that succeeded. On the road I felt that I was faster, but it didn’t turn out to be a sprint. The last time uphill, that was my big luck. He didn’t make it to the top and because of that I could rejoin. Otherwise it would never have worked out.”
Belgian champion Sweeck took third today. Van der Haar and Pidcock completed the top five.
Stephen Hyde (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) finished 35th, Kerry Werner (Kona Maxxis Shimano) finished 38th, Curtis White (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) 40th and Patrick Collins (kb PHOTO cx / A-D Bikes) 48th.
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|4||2||VAN DER HAAR||Lars||NED||1:08:41|
|14||6||VAN DER POEL||David||NED||1:10:26|
|29||9||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Maik||NED||1:12:41|
|42||10||VAN DER MEER||Gosse||NED|