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23 October

UCI World Cup – Round 3 – Tabor (Czech Rep) | The hat trick of the unstoppable Eli Iserbyt

Photo Credit:  © Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal

Eli Iserbyt seems to be unstoppable. The Pauwles Sauzen – Bingoal rider took the victory on the Tabor circuit, where the third round of the Cyclocross World Cup took place. The Belgian made a breakthrough in the sixth of the eight laps, progressively taking all his rivals off his wheel. The 1997-class rider thus achieved his third consecutive victory this year in the CDM, further increasing his lead in the general classification. Second place for European champion Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions), who tried for a long time to catch up with the lone leader. Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwles Sauzen-Bingoal), author of a great duel with Laurens Sweeck (Crelan – Fristads), completed the podium. The Under 23 race was win by Thibau Nys sprinting ib front of Jente Michels Full Results here

Fem van Empel still unbeatable in the World Cup

In Tabor, the third CDM stage, Van Empel sealed the hat-trick after the two American victories. Also on the podium were an excellent Puck Pieterse and Annemarie Worst. The Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal rider arrived with just a few seconds to spare at the finish line of the Tabor circuit after attacking Puck Pieters (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Annemaire Worst (777), who were second and third respectively on the day, during the final lap. The three Dutchwomen had emerged from a small group of seven athletes who had selected themselves over the course of the six laps. Full Results here

16 Oct

UCI World Cup – Round 2 – Fayetteville (USA) | Eli Iserbyt again on the American soil

Eli Iserbyt again in the second round of the 2022/2023 Cyclo-cross World Cup. The rider from Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal won the US circuit in Fayetteville by outsprinting Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads), thus repeating the success he took a week ago in the first round in Waterloo, which allows him to strengthen his lead in the general classification. Third place for Michael Vanthourenaut (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) who had gone on the attack in the seventh of the ten laps planned with the two riders vying for victory, but then lost ground in the final lap. Surprise fourth place for the American Eric Brunner. Full results here

Fem Van Empel encore in Fayetteville

© UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup

Fem Van Empel also wins in Fayetteville the second round of the 2022/2023 Cyclo-cross World Cup. The Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal rider, winner a week ago in Waterloo, won in a sprint at the end of a long duel with Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions). Third place went to Annemarie Worst (777) who, despite getting into trouble every time the two forced the pace, managed to arrive with them to play for the success in the sprint. The two Dutchwomen, who finished the race in the top two places, went on the attack together from the fourth of the seven laps envisaged, repeatedly trying to overcame the resistance of each other. The winner of the day also strengthened her lead in the overall World Cup ranking. Full Results here

9 October

UCI World Cup – Round 1 – Waterloo (USA) | Eli Iserbyt scores his second win of the season in the first World Cup event


Before the start at Waterloo, in the light of these three tests, it was therefore quite clear that the clear favourites for the race were four (Iserbyt, Vanthourenhout, Van der Haar and Sweeck), two of whom clearly prevailed over the others, partly because they were team-mates.
On the starting line, Iserbyt immediately took the lead, with Vandebosch, one of the world’s strongest starters, close behind. Behind them were LVDH, Daan Soete (Deschacht, another cross-country rider who does well in the early laps), Thibau Nys, Vanthourenhout and Niels Vandeputte. Considerably further back was Sweeck, who got off to a bad start. Eli’s forcing between continuous ups and downs, fast and technical bends and relaunches broke the legs of the resistance already on the second lap, after less than ten minutes. Behind him, the chase hesitated and was led first by LVDH and then by Sweeck, who on lap four pulled away from all the others and moved to within 7″ of the leader, threatening to reopen the race. Iserbyt’s pace was hammering, however, and after the break Laurens needed to take a breather and settle down to a slightly slower pace. As a result, the Crelan rider’s counter-attack was forcefully and decisively repelled by the master of the last CDM and favourite to win it back this season. In the second half-hour Iserbyt further increased his lead, finishing the race a good 32 seconds ahead of Sweeck in second place. The fight for third position dragged on to the finish, where Van der Haar paid 1’18” to the winner, just ahead of Vanthourenhout (1’21”). Very good also the two young Baloise Thibau Nys, fifth at 1’27” (for him this result is a revenge after last year’s fall in which he broke his collarbone), and Pim Ronhaar, sixth at 1’33”. The finishing order is followed by Soete at 1’39”, Vandeputte at 1’45”, Timon Rüegg (Team Legendre) at 1’47” and David Menut (AS Bike Racing) at 1’56”. Full Results here

Fem Van Empel takes first at Waterloo in front of Alvarado and Brand

Fem Van Empel wins the first round of the 2022/2023 Cyclocross World Cup. The young Dutchwoman of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal got the better of Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Deceuninck) in a two-women sprint at the end of a tight and hard-fought race that opened the competition calendar in Waterloo, USA. Third step of the podium for the continental champion Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions), who finished just a few seconds behind the first two. Dominance of the Dutch athletes who occupied the first six positions, with the American Clara Honsinger, seventh, interrupting the Orange monopoly. Full results here

1 October

Exact Cross – 3rd Round – Berencross – Meulebeke (Bel): Michael Vanthourenhout’s encore at Meulebeke

Vanthourenhout triumphs for the third time in Meulebeke, teammate Iserbyt second | Cyclocross
© Belgium.postsen.com

New success for Michael Vanthourenhout in the Exact Cross 2022/2023. The Belgian of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal, who had won the opening race in Kruibeke a fortnight ago, also took victory in the third round of the circuit, the Berencross, which took place on the Meulebeke course. The 28-year-old made the difference over his rivals in the last two laps of the ten in the programme, soloing to the finish with a lead of 15″ over team-mate Eli Iserbyt. Iserbyt got the better of European champion Lars Van Der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) in the sprint for second place, while Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads), fourth almost a minute behind the winner, finished more distant. Full results here

25 September

Exact Cross – 2nd Round – Beringen (Bel): First season win for Eli Iserbyt


Eli Iserbyt returns to success and continued the domination of the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal team at the beginning of the cyclo-cross season by winning the second round of the Exact Cross in Beringen. Second in Kruibeke last weekend in the opening round, the 24-year-old Belgian rider soloed to victory on the Beringen circuit. After a first part of the race in which his team-mate Michael Vanthourenhout was the protagonist, the Belgian pulled ahead of his compatriot during the fifth of the ten laps planned, and then left all alone at the start of the next round. Iserbyt was ahead of Vanthourenhout by 40″ and Dutch rider Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) by 43″. Vanthourenhout was then able to defend his second place from a comeback by Lars Van Der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) as the Dutchman was able to pull back on the Belgian, but the Belgian took him off his wheel on the final lap. Iserbyt Thibau Nys (Baloise Trek Lions) took 6th place. Next race in Meulebeke on Saturday, October 1st for the third round. Full results here

18 September

Exact Cross – 1st Round – Polderscross – Kruibeke (Bel): Vanthourenhout opens the cyclo-cross season in Belgium

© procyclinguk.com

Michael Vanthourenhout won in the mud of Kruibeke, the first race of the season on the Belgian cyclo-cross calendar and the first round (eight in total) of the Exact Cross circuit (formerly Ethias Cross). The pouring rain that fell for almost the entire duration of the race made the course heavy, exalting the endurance skills of the 28-year-old raiding for Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal. A monologue started in the second half of the race. Ahead by 22″ was Eli Iserbyt. Third place for Laurens Sweeck (at 33″). As a general comment, a convincing victory by Vanthourenhout with good performances from Iserbyt, Sweeck and LVDH, in 4th position. Among others and in line with expectations, 5th place for 34 yo Meeusen (with an in-crescendo second part of the race), then Vandeputte, Adams and Vandebosch. Full results here

The TBC on the 11th November could/should be London!!!!

18 September

Ladies and gentlemen, Cyclocross is back

by Pietro Mauriello © Cicloweb.it / link to the original 🇮🇹 here

Another season of the winter discipline of cycling is about to begin: World Championships, European Championships, the World Cup in Val di Sole and many other appointments in a year, preceded by numerous jersey changes, that promises to be a sparkling one.

While everyone’s eyes are turned towards Wollongong (Australia), the venue of the upcoming World Road Championships, on the other side of the world, in Belgium, the 2022-2023 cyclo-cross season gets underway. Like every year, it will start quietly and then come to full shine in December and January, and at the same time becoming a showcase for new emerging names in all-round cycling, very often coming from the incredibly formative context of cyclocross. Officially opening the Belgian year will be tomorrow’s Poldercross in Kruibeke (whose last edition was cancelled), which found its place in September as the debut round of the Exact Cross, the new circuit which, replacing the Ethias Cross, brings together all the major events in the Belgian realm that are not part of the World Cup, Superprestige or X2O, uniting them under a single flag. The fourth most important world challenge behind the aforementioned three has no a general classification of its own and each race will therefore exclusively make history in its own right. In the Exact Cross programme, after Kruibeke, Beringen (25/09), Berencross in Meulebeke (01/10), Essen (10/12), the Zilvermeercross in Mol (23/12), there are very important new additions: the Azencross in Loenhout (30/12) at Christmas time, and then the Kasteelcross in Zonnebeke (21/01) before the World Championship and finally the Waaslandcross in Sint-Niklaas at the almost end of the season on 18/02. In contrast to the additions of Mol, Loenhout and Zonnebeke, the Rapencross of Lokeren, which will however host the Belgian national championship and thus remain in the circus, Bredene, Maldegem and Leuven remain out of the programme. Of the last three, at the moment, only the Parkcross at Maldegem will take place on its usual date, the Wednesday following the World Championships. Bredene and Leuven, on the other hand, have not yet found a fallback location that would allow them to stay alive and it is therefore likely that at least for this season they will not be run.

Speaking instead of challenges with rankings, one cannot but start with the World Cup. The 2022-2023 edition has been renewed compared to the previous one with two lesser races, as recommended by many organisers and insiders. The United States will once again host the “big start”: on 09/10 it will be run in Waterloo and the following week, on 16/10, in Fayetteville, on the route of the last World Championships; absent instead will be the Jingle Cross in Iowa City. From Sunday to Sunday it will then be back to Europe for the usual stage in Tabor (23/10), for the one in Rucphen (30/10), and for the newborn stage in Beekse Bergen (13/11), which will be laid out by Richard Groenendaal himself (who has meanwhile left the Pauwels staff). On 20/11 it’s time to go to Belgium for the historic Druivencross in Overijse, which precedes by a week the Vestingcross in Hulst (27/11, subject to possible date and/or time changes due to the concurrence with Belgium-Morocco football match at the World Cup in Qatar) and by two weeks the Scheldecross in Antwerp (04/12), cancelled at the last moment in 2021 due to covid. The venue for race number nine (11/12) has yet to be decided, but in all likelihood it will go to the United Kingdom and more precisely its capital, London. The following week big Italian appointment with the competition moving to Vermiglio (Saturday 17/12), in Val di Sole, which last year attracted many big names thanks to the charm of the snow; but risking to be snubbed by some teams due to training camps usually held between ten and twenty December, just before the intense racing Christmas period. On 26/12/12, in fact, on Boxing Day, one of the muddiest races of the year, Dendermonde, will be staged, while on 08/01 Zonhoven will close the festive races. In order to reach 14, there are, of course, after the various national championships on 15/01, Benidorm (22/01) and Besançon (29/01). The French stage will sanction the end of the second extra-large CDM, which will end up rewarding a continuous but at the same time frequently winning cross-country rider; the scores in fact give a substantial reward to the winners of the individual fractions: 40 to the first, 30 to the second, 25 to the third, 22 to the fourth, 21 to the fifth, 20 to the sixth, 19 to the seventh and so on until 1 point for the 25th.

The second most important stage competition, the Superprestige, was partially mutilated by the withdrawal of Gieten (Netherlands), traditionally positioned as the first stage of the SP. The organisers put the blame on Flanders Classic, which was guilty of wanting an exclusively Belgian Superprestige. The seven remaining events on the programme are Ruddervoorde (29/10), the Jaarmarktcross in Niel (11/11), Merksplas (19/11), Gavere (03/12, back in an optimal location), Heusden-Zolder (27/12) and finally, after a two-year stop, the night cross in Diegem (28/12). The trophy closes on 11/02 with the Noordzeecross in Middelkerke, which was the venue for the Belgian championship in 2021-2022. High concentration of stages therefore in the central months of the season, November and December, most of the time on Saturdays, an obligatory choice given the grandeur and preponderance of the CDM. Compared to last year, the general physiognomy of the SP has remained almost unchanged, just like the awarding of points: 15 to the first, 14 to the second, 13 to the third, 12 to the fourth and so on down to the fifteenth, which earns a paltry one point.

Time-based classifications, on the other hand, unlike in CDM and SP, for the third and final challenge, the X2O Badkamers Trofee. The gaps from each race will be added up and at the conclusion of the eighth the overall will be drawn up, just like in the Grand Tours of road cycling. The liability in the event of non-participation, withdrawal or lapping is five minutes.
Inevitably the opening in Oudenaarde for the classic of classics, the Koppenbergcross, of course on 1 November. This is followed by the Urban Cross in Kortrijk at the end of the month (26/11), the GP Sven Nys in Baal on the first of the year, and also in the Christmas period Herentals (03/01) and above all the Duinencross in Koksijde (05/01), an unmissable event on the sand that was part of the World Cup until last season. Before the World Championships there is still time for the Flandriencross in Hamme (28/01), while in February there is the Krawatencross in Lille (12/02) and the Brussels Universities Cyclocross (19/02).

For the European and World Championships, one has to look at the noble CDM exclusions: Namur and Hoogerheide. The former will host the European Championships (06/11) on the Citadel circuit, which is challenging in terms of height and sometimes full of mud, while the latter will be the stage for the World Championships (03-04-05 February), which will most likely see the two Greats of the last decade: Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, competing for the title.

The protagonists and the cyclocross market
Having mentioned the names of WVA and MVDP, the second element of analysis of this presentation can be introduced: the cross riders. Because if it is true that the calendar represents the skeleton of the season, to make this come to life you need them, the athletes. First of all, the market movements are worth mentioning, because both in the women’s and men’s categories there have been transfers of great importance. The most obvious one is that of Laurens Sweeck, who, contrary to what was previously expected, split his contract with Pauwels at the end of August to settle in the new Team Crelan, where the two ex-Tormans Joran Wyseure and Emiel Verstrynge, respectively champion and vice-world champion among the under-23s, also find a place. It is precisely Tormans, after having been at the centre of controversy over its intention to leave Intermarché and join Patrick Lefevere, that has decided to continue the project with Jean-François Bourlart’s team, but will not renew the contract of Corné van Kessel, who is now looking for a team to race with from 1 January onwards. In addition, the Belgian team must cash in on the heavy losses of Quinten Hermans, who from the first of the year 2023 will be enlisted on both road and cross with Alpecin-Deceuninck, and Zoe Backstedt, who, after her current stint with the EF road team, will also join the American team in the field alongside Clara Honsinger. A partial redemption for the Belgians is represented by the acquisition of the talented Nathan Smith, bronze medallist among the juniors in Fayetteville, who has chosen the team led by Bart Wellens to grow further and get closer to the world summit. Also on the men’s side, significant were the disposals of Tim Merlier (from 2023 in Soudal Quick-Step) by Alpecin and Toon Vandebosch by Pauwels (his transfer to Alpecin was announced back in February). The team from Mettepenningen still remains the main reference, but the roster will be somewhat depleted compared to 2021-2022, mainly due to the loss of Sweeck. The other cross-country powerhouse, Baloise, has also lost one of its two main workhorses, Toon Aerts, who is still embroiled in the doping affair that hit him at the end of last season. The Belgian has presented various pieces of evidence to defend himself and is waiting for an answer from the UCI in order to be able to return to racing, but the affair could drag on. In the meantime, however, Toon and his brother Thijs have broken their contract with Sven Nys by mutual consent and are said to be very close to a new arrangement. Baloise, for its part, is strengthening its youth sector thanks to the coup de grâce of David Haverdings, who will dominate among the juniors in 2021 and 2022. Among the women, having said of Backstedt’s move to EF Education-TIBCO-SVB, no other major changes remain to be reported, if not the most important of all: Fem van Empel will leave Pauwels and will become a Jumbo-Visma athlete from 1 January, racing alongside world champion Marianne Vos. For the definitive plans of the big names, both men and women, we still have to wait, but the certainties are the usual: in the absence of Aerts, Eli Iserbyt will be even more of a favourite to reconfirm himself in the CDM and also conquer SP and X2O. The main rival could come from his own team and be Michael Vanthourenhout, but attention must also be paid to Lars van der Haar. The European champion has shown in recent times that he excels more on a single day than he does on a regular basis, but maybe if he bets on one challenge out of three he could get away with the big prize. Sweeck, too, free of any tactical yoke, will enjoy all the space he needs in each cross and it is at least to be hoped that he can do battle for one between CDM, SP and X2O. The world champions from 2015 onwards, namely the aforementioned Van der Poel and Van Aert and the current world champion Tom Pidcock, should instead take part in a dozen races throughout the season, from early December onwards, and will not be able to participate with ambitions in the overall in any of the three trophies. The goal for them is the World Championships in Hoogerheide, where they will almost necessarily be the favourites. Slightly different is the situation in the women’s field, where Lucinda Brand, the dominatrix of every challenge from 2020 onwards, is also one of the most feared for the World Cup at home. It is precisely this element, however, i.e. having to face a Marianne Vos in 100% psychophysical condition in the most prestigious event, that could make her lose a little in terms of regularity in the rest of the year, so as to leave the door open in one or more of the challenges to all those champions who have been sidelined a little lately by her performances, but who know how to seize the opportunity when it presents itself and have the means to endure an entire season at the highest level. We are talking about athletes such as Denise Betsema, Annemarie Worst, Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado herself, hoping that she has recovered completely after the problems that have slowed her down in recent seasons, and then the four very young athletes: Blanka Kata Vas, Fem van Empel, Shirin van Anrooij and Puck Pieterse.