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Carsten Schabacher

Successful Race Premier On STEVENS Super Prestige

Cyclocross World Champion Wout van Aert rides his new cyclocross bike to a podium place at the World Cup races in Waterloo, Wisconsin and Iowa City, Iowa. Tim Merlier, Maud Kaptheijns and Sanne Cant also ride into the top ten.

Wout van Aert in Waterloo, USA Bild: Cor Vos

Wout van Aert entered the cyclocross season with two second places. The duel on a fast, dry and technically not that challenging course in Waterloo, Wisconsin was followed a week later by another duel in more difficult conditions with two-time winner Toon Aerts in Iowa City, Iowa.

First World Cup Race in Waterloo
The fast course in Waterloo turned the race into a shoot-out: In the middle of the race only seven riders were still in the lead group: Besides Wout Van Aert it was Toon Aerts, Quinten Hermans, Corné Van Kessel, Laurens Sweeck, Daan Soete and Eli Iserbyt. After a couple of errors and crashes by the competition only Toon Aerts and Wout Van Aert had remained while Laurens Sweeck was about to catch up to them.

When Toon Aerts attacked three laps before the finish, van Aert, who after a strong road season (including an overall win in the Tour of Denmark) was not on top of his game yet, and could not keep up. Sweeck eventually came in third.

Also riding a STEVENS Super Prestige, Tim Merlier of team Crélan-Charles finished a strong ninth. His female team mate Maud Kaptheijns rode to a respectable seventh place in the Women’s Elite race. World Champion Sanne Cant of IKO-Beobank rode her Super Prestige to a tenth place. The serial winner of last year, who also had competed in a long road season, did not have a good start and was busy fending off the competition from within the field rather than just dealing with the challenges of the race course.

Second World Cup Race in Iowa City
In Iowa City Cyclocross World Champion Wout Van Aert also rode in the lead group from the beginning of the race on his STEVENS Super Prestige. After the first few laps it became obvious that the second World Cup race of the season also would be decided between Toon Aerts and van Aert. The two quickly increased their lead. Each time the World Champion attacked, Aerts was able to follow and keep close.

As opposed to the dry course in Waterloo the Iowa City circuit was quite slippery due to several days of rain prior to the event. This put up some additional challenges for van Aert who got stuck in a mud puddle three laps before the finish. Aerts used this opportunity to jump ahead to create a gap of a couple of meters which Van Aert eventually could not close. Third place was won by Michael Vanthourenhout, also from Belgium.

Tim Merlier of team Crélan-Charles, another Super Prestige rider, came in sixth. In the Women’s Elite race Sanne Cant of team IKO-Beobank, finishes a respectable fifth.

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