Cyclo-Cross World Cup: Eli Iserbyt extends overall lead with victory in Flamanville

Belgian holds off Baloise Trek Lions duo Lars van der Haar and Pim Ronhaar to win in France

Clock15:12, Sunday 3rd December 2023
Eli Iserbyt claimed his second World Cup victory of the season

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Eli Iserbyt claimed his second World Cup victory of the season

Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) overcame the numerical advantage of Baloise Trek Lions to win in the latest round of the Cyclo-Cross World Cup in Flamanville and extend his lead at the top of the overall standings.

Surrounded by the Baloise trio of Pim Ronhaar, Lars van der Haar and Joris Nieuwenhuis, the Belgian rider cut an isolated figure over the early laps of the race but he escaped their shackles on the sixth of seven laps to take his second World Cup victory of the 2023/2024 season.

“Very good but very tired,” Iserbyt reflected on his performance after the race. “My start was very bad, I had to go through the whole field to go to the front. But then after 30 minutes I found the good lines on the track, so I’m pretty happy that I could grow into the race and do a good set of final laps.

“It was very important for me to win today. Also to win in the leader’s jersey is not easy, so I have a nice picture again to post tonight.”

Van der Haar led the Baloise trio in second, while Ronhaar faded badly having been the last of his teammates to lose Iserbyt’s wheel, but did enough to hang on for third.

Iserbyt strikes as Ronhaar tires

Unlike in the women’s race where multiple top riders skipped the event, a stacked field took to the start line in Flamanville, including World Cup leader Iserbyt. The challenge facing the Belgian if he wanted to extend that lead was obvious from the outset as Baloise Trek Lions swarmed the front of the race with Ronhaar, Van der Haar and Nieuwenhuis, using numbers to their advantage.

Their superior numbers started to pay dividends on the second lap when Ronhaar built a small lead, while his teammates marked Iserbyt behind. His progress was briefly hampered by a group of ducks that had strayed onto the track but the status quo maintained for a few laps, although the Dutchman’s constant glances behind betrayed his confidence, suggesting that the he had already expended a lot of energy.

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Iserbyt is also a hard man to crack and he was soon eating into the gap, dropping both Van der Haar and Nieuwenhuis in the process. Having made quick inroads, the gap started to hover at around six seconds, before Iserbyt pulled out a flying lap five to complete the jump, although that was partly aided by a Ronhaar mistake.

With a healthy buffer, it became a two-up race for the victory but it was clear that Iserbyt was the stronger of the two riders as Ronhaar began to pay for his earlier efforts. Sensing this weakness, the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal man applied constant pressure at the front which Ronhaar soon succumbed to.

With Ronhaar drifting backwards and Van der Haar too far back to challenge, Iserbyt produced a controlled performance over the remaining lap to cruise to his second World Cup victory of the season.

Baloise Trek Lions were forced to settle for the remaining podium places through Van der Haar in second, while Ronhaar slipped back into third.

Race Results

1

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ISERBYT Eli

1H 00' 09"

2

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VAN DER HAAR Lars

+ 13"

3

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RONHAAR Pim

+ 47"

4

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NIEUWENHUIS Joris

+ 54"

5

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VANDEPUTTE Niels

+ 1' 23"

6

ch flag

KUHN Kevin

+ 1' 36"

7

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VERSTRYNGE Emiel

+ 1' 47"

8

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KAMP Ryan

+ 2' 04"

9

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ADAMS Jens

+ 2' 16"

10

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WYSEURE Joran

+ 2' 31"

Provided by FirstCycling

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