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2021-2022 World Cup champion Iserbyt wins penultimate round in Flamanville

Iserbyt, Aerts show strength before Worlds

Eli Iserbyt underscored his first World Cup title by winning Sunday’s penultimate round in Flamanville, France, in dominant fashion. It was his sixth victory of the 2021-2022 series and the 13th overall win this season.

You can watch the final round of the 2021-2022 World Cup and the World Championships in Fayetteville on FloBikes.

Iserbyt, despite not having won a round since November, had a 95-point lead over Michael Vanthourenhout going into the Flamanville race, guaranteeing his first World Cup title. There was no Mathieu van der Poel, Wout Van Aert or Tom Pidcock in Flamanville. With Worlds two weeks away, the field was small at 31 athletes.

Toon Aerts, winner in Zonhoven and the X2O Badkamers Trofee series leader, took the hole shot on Lap 1. Another Toon, Vandebosch, seized Position 1, with teammate Laurens Sweeck right behind him. Iserbyt and Vanthourenhout made it four Pauwels Sauzen riders at the front. Sweeck led Iserbyt over the line.

Pauwels Sauzen mobs the front on Lap 1.

Iserbyt set the pace at the start of Lap 2 before pitting. Corne van Kessel broke up the Belgian/Pauwels Sauzen monopoly at the front. Sweeck, Iserbyt, Aerts, van Kessel and Vanthourenhout crossed the line together.

Vandebosch and French rider Joshua Dubau closed in on Lap 3. Iserbyt dashed away next to the lake and led Aerts and Vanthourenhout by 11 seconds going into the fourth circuit.

Iserbyt busts loose on Lap 3.

On the fourth of eight laps, Iserbyt kept yanking out more time. Aerts and Vanthourenhout carried on their scrap for the runner-up spot, with Vanthourenhout dropping Aerts. Sweeck and Van Kessel were still part of the podium scrap.

Aerts found Vanthourenhout’s wheel again on Lap 5.

Toon Aerts gamely chased Iserbyt all day.

Van Kessel had faded, but Sweeck was still pressing Aerts and Vanthourenhout in the podium battle on Lap 6. Iserbyt was nearly a minute clear going into Lap 7. Sweeck persisted.

On the penultimate lap Aerts put some real estate between himself and Vanthourenhout; Sweeck had faded. When he heard the bell, Aerts led Vanthourenhout by 8 seconds.

Vanthourenhout kept a visual on Aerts in the bell lap, but he couldn’t catch the Baloise Trek Lion. Aerts is eight points from Vanthourenhout’s runner-up position in the overall standings after Sunday.

The final round is in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands on January 23.

2021-2022 UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Round Fifteen, Flamanville

1) Eli Iserbyt (Belgium/Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 1:01:51
2) Toon Aerts (Belgium/Baloise Trek Lions) +0:59
3) Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium/Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) +1:12