Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) came out on top after an attritional final round of the CX World Cup in Hoogerheide.
It looked like it might all be over as early as lap four when Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) slid out on a fast corner, holding up a number of riders who’d dominated the front up to that point. Having only just made it up to the head of affairs, Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) found himself all alone with a ten-second lead over solo chaser Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), and that advantage grew over the next couple of laps.
But the Brit’s long-time rival was not to be stopped. A handful of seconds behind Vanthourenhout, Iserbyt and Van der Haar were taking it in turns to eat into the gap. Pidcock’s buffer over the World Cup leader had been as much as 20 seconds at one point, but against all odds, there were four riders together by the bottom of the penultimate ascent of the infamous ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
Sensing fatigue, Iserbyt attacked early in the final lap and was just about able to keep the furious chase at bay. It would have taken only the smallest of mistakes or hesitations for Pidcock to catch on before the final ramp to the finish, but Iserbyt kept it together and, leaving nothing to chance, he surged up the road and to victory.
Just behind the winner, Lars van der Haar sprinted past a dejected Pidcock to steal second on the line. The top four were separated by a mere five seconds.