by Justin Christopher
For just a moment, it looked like the penultimate round of the X²O Badkamers Trofee from Lille, Belgium might be in jeopardy: not from the usual suspect (COVID) but instead from a heavy storm that threatened the course and spectators before clearing in time for the racing to go off.
A year prior, Krawatencross Lille 2021 produced a visibly beautiful scene as the riders raced through a snowy course and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado and Laurens Sweeck were victorious. Compared with last year, this edition was a study in contrast as rain, and more rain, dumped on Lille, producing a wet and heavy, muddy course that brought out the rubber boots.
This was the second day of the first weekend back in Europe following the Fayetteville, Arkansas World Championship. This year Krawatencross is the second-to-last round of the X²O Badkamers Trofee, with only the Brussels Universities Cyclocross remaining next weekend. For riders more used to Belgian temperatures, Lille must have felt a bit of a return to normal, compared with the unseasonably warm and dry weather in Fayetteville that saw some riders cut off the sleeves of their skinsuits in an attempt to cool off.
One Title Locked Up, One Up for Grabs
Coming into the Lille event, the Elite Women’s category was close, while the Elite Men’s category was not. Recall that the X2O series is based on cumulative time, not points. Toon Aerts entered with a commanding lead over Eli Iserbyt that appeared to be insurmountable. Lucinda Brand, despite winning the five previous 5 events, was clinging to a lead of only 21 seconds over Denise Betsema.
Let’s take a look at how the Krawatencross from Lille went down:
Eventual winner Toon Aerts looked sharp right from the start, opening a lead of a couple of seconds on the first lap and continuing to extend throughout the race as the rain continued to fall.
He looked delighted with the win, grabbing the signature yellow rubber ducky of the race sponsor as he crossed the finish line.
Niels Vandeputte, still age just 21, had a breakout day to finish second, distancing much older and more experienced riders from Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal and Baloise Trek Lions.
The most exciting race of the day, however, might have been for third. Lars van der Haar, who crashed heavily at the barriers the day prior at the Ethias Cross Maldegem Parkcross, seemed no worse for wear, nipping a resurgent Tom Meeusen for third at the line. That’s still a nice result for Meeusen, who missed out on being named to the Belgian team for the World Championships. Meeusen and van der Haar had a banger of a last lap with the latter only just putting his wheel in front after Meeusen led out the sprint in a photo finish.
💬 Als een duiveltje uit een doosje snelde @larsvanderhaar naar een derde plaats in de Krawatencross. Bekijk hier zijn interview.#X2OBadkamersTrofee #Krawatencross #Lille #veldrijden #cyclocross pic.twitter.com/MLsl8XsSZm
— X²O Badkamers Trofee (@X2OTrofee) February 6, 2022
Iserbyt fell to an uncharacteristic 15th, perhaps not bringing his best effort given catching Aerts for the overall seems increasingly unlikely; he also appeared to break a shifter, perhaps in an off-camera crash. Notably missing from the Elite Men’s field: newly-crowned World Champ Tom Pidcock, who has indicated he could be done for the ’cross season, and Quinten Hermans, unable to travel to Fayetteville due to a COVID positive test pre-travel.
Skipping this race didn’t seem to keep Pidcock dry, however, he found some rain anyway on his New York victory tour:
See the full results below.
2022 X2O Badkamers Trofee Lille - Krawatencross results Elite Men
|1||AERTS Toon||BALOISE TREK LIONS||58:08:00|
|2||VANDEPUTTE Niels||ALPECIN - FENIX||0:48|
|3||VAN DER HAAR Lars||BALOISE TREK LIONS||1:00|
|4||MEEUSEN Tom||CX TEAM DESCHACHT - GROUP HENS - MAES CONTAINERS||'|
|5||VANTHOURENHOUT Michael||PAUWELS SAUZEN - BINGOAL||1:11|
|7||AERTS Thijs||BALOISE TREK LIONS||1:34|
|8||SOETE Daan||CX TEAM DESCHACHT - GROUP HENS - MAES CONTAINERS||1:35|
|9||KUHN Kevin||TORMANS - CIRCUS CYCLO CROSS TEAM||1:36|
|10||SWEECK Laurens||PAUWELS SAUZEN - BINGOAL||1:39|
|11||ORTS LLORET Felipe||1:43|
|12||SWEECK Diether||IKO - CRELAN||2:16|
|13||VANDEBOSCH Toon||PAUWELS SAUZEN - BINGOAL||2:24|
|14||RÜEGG Timon||CROSS TEAM LEGENDRE||'|
|15||ISERBYT Eli||PAUWELS SAUZEN - BINGOAL||2:26|
|17||VAN KESSEL Corné||TORMANS - CIRCUS CYCLO CROSS TEAM||3:45|
|18||KIELICH Timo||IKO - CRELAN||3:48|
|19||LOOCKX Lander||CX TEAM DESCHACHT - GROUP HENS - MAES CONTAINERS||3:55|
|21||MENUT David||CROSS TEAM LEGENDRE||4:18|
|22||BEKAERT Yentl||BALOISE TREK LIONS||4:38|
|24||SUAREZ FERNANDEZ Kevin||NESTA - MMR CX TEAM||5:08|
|25||KAMP Ryan||PAUWELS SAUZEN - BINGOAL||5:25|
|28||CRISPIN Mickaël||CROSS TEAM LEGENDRE||6:40|
|32||CHAINEL Steve||CROSS TEAM LEGENDRE||7:39|
|33||VAN DIJKE Koen||8:16|
|34||DE MEYER Senne|
|DNF||VAN STAEYEN Maarten|
The Elite Women’s field featured some new faces we didn’t see at Worlds. Annemarie Worst returned to action – recall she missed traveling to the United States following a COVID positive; while Denise Betsema took the start as she recovers from a non-COVID illness.
Fan-favorite Sanne Cant, on the other hand, was now absent – missing the start with a COVID positive test popping up following her return from the United States. Also MIA – Marianne Vos and surprise worlds bronze medalist Silvia Persico, plus Blanka Kata Vas. Following a disappointing result in Arkansas she struggled to explain, Vas was another COVID positive and did not start.
Eventual winner Lucinda Brand solidified her lead in the time-based X²O Badkamers Trofee, as her nearest competitor, Denise Betsema, fell to 7th, 2:24 back.
Closest to Brand was Annemarie Worst at nearly one minute, followed by Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado in third. Following the race, Betsema required stitches to close a cut on her finger (crashed into a fence) that was deep enough to reveal the bone. Ouch!
See the full results below.
2022 X2O Badkamers Trofee Lille - Krawatencross results Elite Women
|1||BRAND Lucinda||BALOISE TREK LIONS||46:00:00|
|3||ALVARADO Ceylin Del Carmen||ALPECIN - FENIX||1:51|
|4||BAKKER Manon||IKO - CRELAN||2:11|
|5||VAN ALPHEN Aniek||777||2:12|
|6||FRANCK Alicia||PROXIMUS - ALPHAMOTORHOMES - DOLTCINI CT||2:17|
|7||BETSEMA Denise||PAUWELS SAUZEN - BINGOAL||2:24|
|8||NORBERT RIBEROLLE Marion||STARCASINO CX TEAM||3:11|
|9||SCHREIBER Marie||TORMANS - CIRCUS CYCLO CROSS TEAM||3:36|
|11||KAY Anna||STARCASINO CX TEAM||3:59|
|12||TRUYEN Marthe||IKO - CRELAN||4:09|
|15||VAN LOY Ellen||4:42|
|16||DOBBELAERE Jana||STARCASINO CX TEAM||4:52|
|17||VERHESTRAETEN Karen||IKO - CRELAN||5:43|
|20||GORT Femke||PISSEI - GROEP T.O.M.||6:51|
|21||KAPTHEIJNS Maud||CX TEAM DESCHACHT - GROUP HENS - MAES CONTAINERS||7:01|
|22||SELS Loes||PROXIMUS - ALPHAMOTORHOMES - DOLTCINI CT||7:19|
|23||BASTIAENSSEN Fauve||PISSEI - GROEP T.O.M.||8:32|
|24||DE BRUYNE Meg||8:37|
|25||MEISTROK Susanne||PROXIMUS - ALPHAMOTORHOMES - DOLTCINI CT||8:44|
|26||CASSIERS Cato||STARCASINO CX TEAM||9:14|
|27||MAES Shana||TORMANS - CIRCUS CYCLO CROSS TEAM||9:44|
|30||DE KEERSMAEKER Audrey||STARCASINO CX TEAM||10:38|
|33||ZWAENEPOEL Tessa||PROXIMUS - ALPHAMOTORHOMES - DOLTCINI CT||11:34|
|35||VAN ELSACKER Floor||11:58|
|36||DE VOS Nele||12:05|
|37||COOGAN CISEK Corey||VELOREVOLUTION WP CYCLES||12:06|
|41||ARENSMAN Allison||VELOREVOLUTION WP CYCLES|
|42||BREUGELMANS Rosanne||PISSEI - GROEP T.O.M.|
|44||DE CUYPER Emily|
|45||VAN CAMPFORT Melanie|
Next up – Brussels Universities Cyclocross
Looking ahead to the final event in the X²O Badkamers Trofee, we have Brussels Universities ’cross coming up next weekend, and Aerts and Brand seem to have the overall titles on lockdown. Aerts is on cruise control with a massive lead of 7:23, and while Brand doesn’t have quite as much of a lead (2:55), would still need to have a catastrophe to lose the title.
With those overall standings no longer in doubt, we could see some interesting results with different riders coming to the front in this late-season event, including younger riders, those looking for contracts, and older riders looking for the last podium in their twilight years. See you then!
Featured photo: 2021 Dendermonde, B. Hazen
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