Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) put on a masterclass performance to win the first of 16 rounds of the CX World Cup in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
The first lap (of nine) was blisteringly fast, but the already slightly moist course became treacherous in places as rain began to fall. Lap two was punctuated by crashes, particularly on the strip of tarmac that came after a steep dirt descent.
Early leader Quinten Hermans (Tormans-Circus) was the first rider to hit the deck, leaving Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) alone at the front, but he was soon joined by teammate and European champion, Eli Iserbyt, after he too slid out in a greasy corner.
Iserbyt dominated the front for a few laps, putting his teammate to the test before letting Vanthourenhout come through for lap five. The pair seemed to study each other as they traded the lead, but the European champion looked to have the upper hand.
A merciless Iserbyt pounced the moment he sensed his companion was tiring, and with more than three laps to go, he left Vanthourenhout behind.
The Belgian powered through the remaining laps to take a convincing victory ahead of his teammate, and Vanthourenhout was able to keep Hermans at bay to take second across the line 30 seconds later.