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Not even a towel on the back wheel could stop Van Aert

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First win of the season at the World Cup in Dublin

By Kevin Kemp


Wout van Aert (Jumbo – Wisma) won the Weltcup in Dublin. | Photo: Cor Vos

11.12.2022 | (rsn) – victory in Dublin, second place in Antwerp: Wut van Aert (Jumbo – Wisma) has Ireland’s first Cross World Cup Decide for yourself. In the ninth round of the most important cyclocross series, the Belgian broke away from the group of seven in the sand section on the final lap, relegating World Cup leader Laurence Zweck (Crelan – Fristads) to second place by 14 seconds. World champion Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) completed the podium ahead of Lars van der Haar (Balois – Trek Lions) and Michael Vanthurenhout (Pauwels Sossen – Bingol).

Van Aert is the seventh driver to win a major race this winter, after Eli Iserbyt, Vanthourenhout (both Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal), Sweeck, van der Haar, Pidcock and Van der Poel. In the absence of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpesin – Dzeunink), the Belgian Antwerp was attacked, thanks Van Aert for his excellent performance in Dublin. Things didn’t go well in the Irish capital at first. “I really had to fight my way into the race. “I didn’t get off to a good start and was always far behind,” he said self-critically.

After a few small mistakes, the Belgian even lost contact with the leading group after two-thirds of the race when he got stuck on the bike with a towel hanging over the barrier near the material post. “I suddenly noticed something on the back of my bike. I was able to run back, so I was able to continue running,” said the 28-year-old. “They tried to slow me down in every possible way, but it didn’t work,” van Aert laughed heartily.

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The incident led to a race to catch up, with which he initiated the turnaround. “I felt better after the handicap. It was a long, difficult race – that’s why I still had a chance to win,” analyzed the Flemish, who, like many other athletes, praised the Irish premiere of the World Cup. “There were a lot of fans there today, the atmosphere was great. I’m proud – I’ve never lost a bike race in Ireland,” of the season. Van Aert joked after his first win.

On the sand, Van Aert shook everyone up

When the winner finally launched his decisive attack on the sand, Zweck was in a bad position. “I had good moments, I had bad moments. But I had a good one when Vaught attacked. My legs were still strong, but I was not on the edge of his rear wheel – now it is impossible to ride faster than him,” the man in the white jersey described the scene that decided the race. Muddy On the track, he and his teammates had big problems with the ground. “It was slippery and the conditions kept getting worse. The first concern was always to stay on the bike,” says Zwick.

To make matters worse, seven drivers battled for the win all the way to the final. “It was a strange race, the front group was big and you couldn’t really pull back anywhere,” said Pidcock, who was sixth after van Aert’s attack but managed to finish on the podium in the final lap. “Somehow I couldn’t pick up the pace today. “I ran the same speed the whole race,” said the surprised Briton.

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German athletes were not at the start. Kevin Kuhn (Tormans CX) was the best German-speaking driver not to finish in the top ten in eleventh place.

Sweek extended the lead overall. With 266 points, it is 17 points ahead of seventh-placed Iserbit today. This year’s 10th World Cup will be held on December 17 in Val d’Sol.

Here’s how the match went:

After a relatively moderate opening lap, a leading group of eleven reached the finish line with all the favourites. Iserbitt then increased the number of strokes and Van Aert, Pidcock and Vanturenhout were able to chase down the world number one. Soon after, the pursuers closed the gap again, so now there were even a dozen riders ahead.

Now Zwick has determined what happened. The overall World Cup leader broke away a bit, but was caught by Pidcock and Vanturenhout at the start of the fourth of seven laps. Van Aert, Iserbit, and Jens Adams (Chokovit) made up for their deficiency a little later. But Pidcock attacked five of his companions and Van Aert responded, and was the only one to catch the world champion. At the start of the fifth lap, Iserbitt, Vanturenhout, Sweek and Adams again moved forward.

Shortly after, Van Ert touched the rails at the level of the material zone, where a hanging towel came loose and got stuck on his bike. The Belgian champion had to run back to the entrance of the material post to change his work equipment. He lost 16 seconds, but closed the gap with van der Haar on his rear wheel in a very short time, so that a septet went into the final lap.

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Here, lying in first place, Van Ert pulled through the sandy track and shook all his rivals. The three-time world champion gave it his all and quickly extended his lead to seven seconds. At the start of the final lap he was ten seconds ahead of Zwick, 19 seconds ahead of Van der Haar and Van Toorenhout.

In the final, Van Aert maintained his lead with ease, while Zwick also managed to maintain his second place. Pidcock came close to van der Haar and Vandoorenhout to secure the final independent spot on the podium in a three-man sprint.


Giving results FirstCycling.com

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