Sunday was a big day for Belgium. After Mathieu van der Poel (The Netherlands) dominated the Elite season and Tom Pidcock (Great Britain) won the U23 World Cup overall, the Belgian team was looking for a strong World Championships under new coach Sven Vanthourenhout. For a nation where cyclocross is the national sport, a return to glory was a must, especially since the race was held on the soil of the country’s archrival.
Eli Iserbyt (Belgium) kicked off the day with a commanding win in the U23 Men’s race and then Wout van Aert (Belgium) did something almost no one expected: he buried his rival Van der Poel and won his third-straight Worlds title. With the entire Belgian team placing in the top 11, it was exactly the kind of day Belgian fans were looking for.
U.S. fans also had some riders to cheer for, with Gage Hecht taking 9th in the U23 race and Stephen Hyde 15th in the Elite tilt. Their finishes give both men something to build on as they approach the coming cyclocross offseason.
Photographer Gavin Gould of Chicago traveled to Belgium to take in the sights and scenes of the Valkenburg-Limburg World Championships. He provided this gallery of images from Sunday’s races. You can find more from Gould on his Instagram page.
For more from Valkenburg-Limburg, see our dedicated 2018 Cyclocross World Championships page.
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Photo Gallery: Elite and U23 Men World Championships