A second place behind three-time Cyclocross World Champion Wout van Aert secures the 29-year-old Belgian important points to extend his World Cup lead. His direct competitor Eli Iserbyt had to be content with a seventh place at the first cyclo-cross World Cup on Irish soil.
The wet and cold weather made for a challenging race with slippery track conditions that got worse as the day went on. The muddy course robbed the riders of a lot of energy and so the leading group was unusually large at first. None of the up to twelve riders was able to break away decisively. In the final stages, however, Laurens Sweeck managed to establish himself at the top together with Wout van Aert in the penultimate lap and ultimately take home a second place.
The 10th race of the season will take place next weekend in Val di Sole, Italy, and on Boxing Day it's off to the classic in Gavere, Belgium.
On Saturday at the Exact Cross in Essen, Belgium Aniek van Alphen (Team 777) took a commanding victory in the Women's Elite class. Yara Kastelijn (Crelan-Fristads) finished the race in third place, Anna Kay (Team 777) just missed the podium – tie on time with Yara.
In the Men's Elite race STEVENS rider Jens Adams (Chocovit Cycling Team) rode to a good second place ahead of Emiel Verstrynge (Crelan-Fristads).