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Carsten Schabacher

Wout van Aert Wins World Cup in France

The World Champion on STEVENS Super Prestige wins the race in Pont-Château and thereby also takes the overall lead in the World Cup. Jens Adams, Laurens Sweeck, Gianni Vermeersch in the Men’s Elite as well as Annemarie Worst and Alice Maria Arzuffi in the

Wout van Aert in final sprint

Wout van Aert won the Cyclocross WorldCup race in Pont-Château, France. The win in the penultimate race of the series ahead of Toon Aerts not only meant first place on this day, he also took over the overall lead in the World Cup from Aerts. The podium was completed by Michael Vanthourenhout. Serial winner Mathieu van der Poel meanwhile was absent in training camp preparing for the Worlds on the first weekend of February.

On the very fast course Wout van Aert, wearing his white World Champion’s outfit, on his STEVENS Super Prestige rode the race from the front in a tactically smart fashion. The hard-packed surface, the only slightly hilly profile and wide-stretched corners made it difficult for any rider to break away.

Neither Wout van Aert nor Toon Aerts nor any of their competitors such as Michael Vanthourenhout, Lars van der Haar, Jens Adams and Laurens Sweeck of team Pauwels Sauzen Vastgoedservice were able to create any sustainable lead after their individual attacks.

Sections like the hurdles and a flat therefore rideable staircase turned out to be far more decisive. Lars van der Haar crashed riding this very staircase, such splitting the peloton into a head and a chase group. Yet, he and Laurens Sweeck were able to catch up to the four-strong head group. So the race was eventually decided in the sprint, which was won by Van Aert who attacked from the front. Jens Adam, having ridden a strong race in the head group comes in fifth, Laurens Sweeck finishes sixth. Gianni Vermeersch, also riding a STEVENS Super Prestige and just having concluded his training camp comes in a strong 10th.

By winning this race, Van Aert passed Toon Aerts in the overall ranking and is now ahead by three points. So the final race next Sunday in Hoogerheide, NL is going to be a thrilling one.

The Women’s Elite race was an all Dutch affair, also because Sanne Cant was not participating due to training camp. Marianne Vos wins ahead of Denise Betsema and Maud Kaptheijns of team Roompot-Charles. The third of the most recent Dutch national championships said after the race: “It’s been a while since a World Cup race worked out so well for me. I am very happy.”

In the end also Alice Maria Arzuffi and Annemarie Worst of team Steylaerts-777 can be pleased. The finished sixth and seventh, respectively. After an almost perfect start the both rode in front until the group eventually broke apart. European Champion Worst began to chase and until the final lap fought for fourth place when a flat tire robbed her of her chances.

This way Arzuffi, who also showed a strong performance stayed ahead of her. After the race she said: “I am quite pleased with this result and my good feeling. I think I rode a smart race. It was not easy since it was really fast.” U23 rider Yara Kastelijns after coming out of a corner too fast crashed into the barrier and had to abandon the race due to a damaged wheel.

After her good results at the end of last year she is back in the top 50 again and will also compete in the upcoming final World Cup race in Hoogerheide next week.

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