Photo gallery: 2016 World Cyclocross Championship, Elite Men
On Sunday, January 31, Belgian Wout van Aert won a thrilling race against Dutch rider Lars van der Haar to take his first elite world cyclocross championship, on home soil, in Zolder, Belgium.
The 21-year-old van Aert, who was second last year to Mathieu van der Poel after a mechanical issue followed by a crash, looked to be in danger of a repeat scenario of 2015 on the fifth of eight laps, when van der Poel slid out on a tricky uphill bend. Van Aert plowed into the back of van der Poel, with the Dutch rider’s foot stuck in van Aert’s front wheel.
The pair lost valuable time untangling while van der Haar attacked, going clear of what had been a dangerous eight-rider front group composed entirely of Belgian and Dutch riders.
Van der Haar rode solo at the front for almost 20 minutes, opening a 30-second lead, while van Aert patiently worked his way back through a group that also contained Belgians Kevin Pauwels and Sven Nys, as well as Dutch rider David van der Poel.
Halfway into the seventh of eight laps, van Aert made contact with van der Haar, and from there to the finish line it was a two-man duel for the rainbow jersey.
Kristof Ramon was there to capture these beautiful images.