Racing through the mud of Zolder, Wout van Aert challenged the weather and the fastest men in the world to win the UCI Elite Men’s Cyclocross World Championship. The slippery race conditions made even the tame sections of the course technically challenging, especially the run ups. Defending champ Mathieu van der Poel of The Netherlands proved this when he made a technical bobble on one such run up and put his right foot through the front wheel of van Aert’s bike. Yet van Aert stayed cool and worked methodically to help his competitor extricate himself from the Zipp 303 Tubular’s spokes.
Once van Aert was back on his bike he worked his way back to the front of the race picking off his rivals one by one until he caught up with Dutchman Lars van der Haar. The two dueled back and forth with each making attacks on the other until van Aert took the lead on a run up in the final lap to take the win decisively.
Showing sportsmanship and candor, in an interview following the race van Aert thanked Mathieu van der Poel for helping him to find his rhythm following their tangle.
This season Wout van Aert made claim to the following titles:
- No. 1 ranked UCI Elite Men’s rider
- Belgian National Champion
- Bpost Bank Trofee Series Champion
- UCI World Cup Series Champion
- UCI World Champ
Wout rode SRAM RED components and Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubular wheels throughout the season.
Iserby Claims U23 Title
A serious student off the bike, Belgian Eli Iserbyt (Telenet-Fidea) stayed focused amid the drama and the pain of a dramatic Under-23 Men’s race in Zolder to become a world champion. The 19-year-old Iserbyt, who is studying law, outsprinted Adam Toupalik of the Czech Republic for the title. A lap before, Toupakik, with a gap, had celebrated early thinking the race was over. From there Iserbyt, lifted his intensity and focus.
Iserbyt, the winner of this season’s U23 World Cup, finished second in the Junior World Championship last year. He was riding SRAM Force 1.
Top 10 Finishes for SRAM Athletes
1st Wout van Aert (BEL) - World Champion – SRAM RED
8th Tom Meeusen (BEL) – Force 1
10th Marcel Meisen (GER) – Force 1 HRD
4th Sophie de Boer (DNK) – Force 1 HRD
5th Nikki Harris (GBR) – Force 1 HRD
8th Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) – Force 1 HRD
9th Christine Majerus (LUX) – Force 1 HRD
1st Eli Iserbyt (BEL) - World Champion – Force 1
3rd Quentin Hermans (BEL) – Force 1 HRD
4th Thijs Aerts (BEL) – Force 1
5th Nadja Heigl (AUT) – Force 1
6th Ellen Noble (USA) – Force 1
2nd Mickael Crispin (FRA) – Force 1
3rd Thomas Bonnet (FRA) – Force 1
10th Niklas Markl (GER) – Force 1