World Cup leader Eli Iserbyt and Toon Aerts threw down in the sand dunes of Koksijde on Sunday, with a display of power and technical riding that ended in Iserbyt taking his fourth victory in seven rounds. Lone Canadian entrant Cameron Jette came 39th.
You can watch the 2021-2022 UCI Cyclocross World Cup at FloBikes.
The World Cup so far
October 10: Waterloo, Wis.: 1) Iserbyt 2) Vanthourenhout 3) Hermans
October 13: Fayetteville, Ark: 1) Hermans 2) Iserbyt 3) Vanthourenhout
October 17: Iowa City, Iowa: 1) Iserbyt 2) van der Haar 3) Vanthourenhout
October 24: Zonhoven, Belgium: 1) Aerts 2) van der Haar 3) Iserbyt
October 31: Overijse, Belgium: 1) Iserbyt 2) Vanthourenhout 3) Aerts
November 14, Tabor, Czech Republic: 1) Van der Haar 2) Iserbyt 3) Hermans
1) Iserbyt 205 pts
2) van der Haar 154 pts
3) Hermans 153 pts
The rain that began at the end of the elite women’s race pounded the 3.32-km circuit before the elite men’s race.
Quinten Hermans nabbed the hole shot on Lap 1, with Round 6 winner Lars van her Haar his closest chaser. Hermans had a nice gap, but lost momentum on a sandy climb and soon had Iserbyt and Aerts for company. Vincent Baestaens was having a great start to the race, mixing with Hermans, Iserbyt and Aerts. Those four were scattered over six seconds at the end of the opening circuit.
Lap 2 saw the string grow behind Iserbyt and Baestaens. The gap up to Hermans and Aerts stayed small on the first half of the second circuit. Soon there was a leading quintet: Hermans, Aerts, Iserbyt, Baestaens and van der Haar, with Daan Soete 11 seconds in arrears. Iserbyt grabbed the reins. Cameron Jette was 41st.
On the third of seven laps, van der Haar started to pull the string, Iserbyt, Aerts and Hermans keeping close tabs on him. Aerts and Iserbyt had a shoulder barge in a muddy curve, and then Iserbyt and van der Haar’s bikes got tangled as they pushed them through the sand. A sextet crossed the line together: Iserbyt, van der Haar, Aerts, Hermans, Laurens Sweeck and Corne van Kessel. But again there were several men just behind the leading group.
Aerts moved to the front to stretch things out on Lap 4, but it was Iserbyt’s presence at the business end of the race that created some space. Aerts and Hermans were able to hang and then Toon hit the gas. Van der Haar fought to come back to them.
Just as a few others came across on Lap 5, Aerts rode the sand where others had to push. Iserbyt countered by staying on the bike for a sandy hill before clearing another sand section to push out an advantage. Aerts came back and Hermans started to lag. Surely the race was between Iserbyt and Aerts; they entered the penultimate lap six seconds ahead of Hermans. Jette had muscled into 39th place.
On the penultimate lap, Hermans had to worry about Sweeck and van der Haar in the podium race, but Hermans started to reel in the leading duo. Iserbyt attacked. Aerts kept answering his questions. Hermans and Sweeck made the junction and van der Haar was just over their shoulders. The World Cup leader dashed away and when he heard the bell he had an eight-second gap.
Iserbyt continued to romp on the bell lap. Hermans, Aerts and Sweeck scrapped for podium places. Sweeck, who was third in Saturday’s round of the Superprestige series, was runner-up and Aerts took third.
The next round is in Besançon, France next Sunday.
2021-2022 UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Round Seven, Koksijde
1) Eli Iserbyt (Belgium/Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 57:00
2) Laurens Sweeck (Belgium/Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) +0:04
3) Toon Aerts (Belgium/Baloise Trek Lions) +0:07
39) Cameron Jette (Canada)