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Superprestige season finale the most enthralling round of the series

Iserbyt wraps up second series title with wild win

He might have missed last week’s Worlds podium, but on Saturday Eli Iserbyt wound up his second Superprestige series title in Middelkerke, Belgium on the final round’s tricky course. In an eventful race Iserbyt tracked down runaway leader Joris Niewenhuis on the sixth of eight laps and then dispatched him on Lap 7. Iserbyt adds the Superprestige accomplishment to his X2O Badkamers Trofee hat trick and brace of World Cups, the second of which was taken this season. He has tallied ten victories in 2023-2024.

By winning the first three rounds and racing onto the podium in the other four, Iserbyt took a 27-point gap over Joris Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis recently came second to Iserbyt in the World Cup.

The only gaps in the top 5 small enough to surmount was three points between Michael Vanthourenhout in fourth and Kevin Kuhn in fifth. Iserbyt took over from Niels Vandeputte, third place in the series. Early in the first lap, Vanthourenhout grabbed Ryan Kamp on a running section and exchanged words with him, delaying several riders.

Vanthourenhout and Kamp take an early break to exchange words.

Nieuwenhuis clawed his way past Iserbyt and Filipe Orts and pried open a gap. He had a nine second lead over the Iserbyt-Orts-Vandeputte chase.

The Dutch champion takes the lead on Lap 1.

Joran Wyseure was prominent in the chase group at the start of Lap 2 of 8, while Orts fell back. Wyseure was soon chasing solo. A calmer Vanthourenhout joined Iserbyt and Vandeputte. Nieuwenhuis raced 16 seconds ahead of Wyseure and 23 seconds ahead of Iserbyt and company.

Wyseure once more was part of the chase group on Lap 3. Iserbyt, Vanthourenhout, Jens Adams and Lars van der Haar made up the numbers. Huge disappointment was Wyseure’s fate as he suffered a chain suck mechanical. He had a long haul to the pits.

A real drag for Joran Wyseure, who had been on a dandy day.

Vanthourenhout became the hammock rider between the leader and the chase group on Lap 4. Van der Haar came over and moved to the front to block for his Baloise Trek Lions teammate at the pointy end of the race.

Van der Haar had to resist Vanthourenhout’s attempt to dump him on Lap 5. Iserbyt kept an eye on them from Position 4. As the race entered the sixth circuit, Iserbyt went to the front.

The podium battle was hot in the latter half of the race.

Van der Haar faded on Lap 6. Suddenly, Iserbyt was pulsing towards Nieuwenhuis, who seemed to have an insurmountable lead. Iserbyt made the junction and took over going into the penultimate lap. The Belgian champion went clear of the Dutch and European champions. Vanthourenhout took his leave of the floundering Nieuwenhuis.

Plot twist on Lap 7.

Iserbyt dashed clear of his teammate on the final lap. Absolutely everything happened in this race.

2023-2024 Superprestige, Round 8, Middelkerke
1) Eli Iserbyt (Belgium/Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) 1:01:54
2) Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium/Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) +0:23
3) Joris Nieuwenhuis (The Netherlands/BaloiseTrek Lions) +0:40