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Iserbyt wins U23 world title, Vanthourenhout takes silver in the elite race

Marlux-Bingoal's best day of the season
Eli Iserbyt has ridden his X-Night SL to the U23 world title cyclocross in Valkenburg. After winning the European title earlier this season the young Belgian adds an even bigger victory to his 2018 season tally. A few hours later Michael Vanthourenhout took the silver in the men's elite race.

Was this the perfect track for Iserbyt? Anyway, several women riders explained a day earlier this was the heaviest course they have ever ridden. Different riders needed assistance after the finish line to keep their legs straight. Climbing, many parts where agility was imperative, two walls where the bike needed to be shouldered until the top,… Every cyclocross feature was present. Add the tough weather conditions to the already difficult track and the course became a real sliding and slipping mud fest. Pushing, pushing and keep on pushing those pedals.

One day earlier it already became clear that a good start was highly important. The U23 and elite women’s race showed that winning positions from behind was almost impossible. Also the main challenger of Iserbyt, Thomas Pidcock, encountered this. After one lap he was already 25 seconds behind, and this gap would only become bigger.

Last year’s world champion Joris Nieuwenhuis took the lead in the first two laps, but after a technical problem and change of shoes he had to let Iserbyt go. The Belgian took a 25 second lead and kept it until the end, despite a small slipper in the third lap. Nobody was actually putting the pressure on Iserbyt anymore, but on this super heavy track he remained strong himself as well. His white-blue jersey got some more beautiful colors that way. A world champion on the X-Night SL. 

The men's elite race was predicted to become a two men battle as well, but neither this prediction became reality. Wout Van Aert soon took the lead and Mathieu Van der Poel had to let the Belgian go. The Dutchman had an off day and Michael Vanthourenhout was able to close in on him. Vanthourenhout eventually managed to create a gap with today's favorite and the Marlux-Bingoal rider managed to keep his advantage until the finish line. He ultimately got his biggest performance of the season at the world championship. That's what they call timing.