The third round of the 2019 Superprestige was held in the Belgian town of Gavere on Sunday. The race is seen as a classic in the world of cyclocross, as the course always delivers a hard race. There was no mudfest this year, but the many technical sections and elevation would make it a tough race as usual.
Quinten Hermans (Telenet-Baloise Lions) was the rider going to Gavere with the lead in the Superprestige. Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) had won the first round in Gieten, but missed out on the second round in Boom, as he successfully saved his energy for the World Cup in Bern the day after. Belgian champion Toon Aerts (Telenet-Baloise Lions) won that second round, but mechanical problems in the first round had made him lose a lot of points.
Lars van der Haar (Telenet-Baloise Lions) had the day’s head start, but pretty much all Lions had a good start as they were taking the first three positions during the first minutes of the race. Going towards the first passage of the steep descent Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) then moved up to second position. It was a sign, as the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal team started taking over.
Van der Haar crossed the start/finish in first after the first lap, but he was followed by three Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammates: Vanthourenhout, Daan Soete and Iserybt. The latter one soon accelerated.
Aerts realized the danger, as he moved up to fourth position, still having three Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammates in front of him. When Vanthourenhout went clear, Aerts closed the gap, after which it was Soete’s turn to accelerate. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal team clearly came with a plan to break the Telenet-Baloise Lions team.
Soete keeping the pace high, the four riders distanced themselves. It was the three Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammates and Belgian champion Aerts. The Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal plan was working out.
Aerts knew they had him in their grip and wanted to do something about it. He accelerated on the climb and Soete got dropped. Iserbyt, not being impressed, then attacked.
Vanthourenhout then dropped the pace with Aerts in his wheel and a gap opened up. Aerts once again had to step up. He did with success but then lost traction on an uphill. A gap was there again, but once again Aerts was able to close it, as he took Vanthourenhout with him every time.
On the long climb, Aerts then put in a major attack. Vanthourenhout barely holding on, looked over his shoulder trying to send a message to teammate Iserbyt that he was at his limit. Iserbyt understood the signal and passed him.
A little later Iserbyt who once again attacked and once again it was Aerts who had to try to close a gap. As he was coming close to succeeding again, Aerts lost his front wheel going into a corner. It allowed Iserbyt to open up a gap of 6 seconds.
This time Aerts wasn’t able to close the gap, and at the end of Lap 5, Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Van der Haar joined Aerts and Vanthourenhout. British champion Thomas Pidcock (Trinity Racing) was not far from them either. In the meantime, Iserbyt had extended his lead to more than 20 seconds.
In the chasing group, Van der Haar then stepped up. On the climb, he went clear with Sweeck in his wheel. With 4 laps left, Van der Haar and Sweeck’s arrear was 31 seconds.
Pidcock closed the gap with the two chasers a little later and put in some serious efforts, still hoping to catch up with Iserbyt. Nobody, though, was going to take this away from Iserbyt, as he kept extending his lead. With two laps left, Pidcock, Van der Haar and Sweeck faced a 57 seconds arrear. The three would have to battle for second.
Van der Haar soon showed that he would be the one able to take that second spot on the podium, as he dropped Pidcock and Sweeck on the climb. Sweeck fought his way back to Van der Haar towards the end of the penultimate lap, but the Dutchman dropped the Belgian again a little later.
For Iserbyt, it was already his sixth win of the season.
“My start was not the best and Toon Aerts put a lot of pressure. I then tried with Michael (Vanthourenhout) to make him tired and that succeeded,” he said about the race. (translated, source: Sporza)
Van der Haar took second and is now leading the Superprestige classification. Sweeck completed the podium, as Pidcock finished 4th. Vanthourenhout took 5th, Aerts 6th.
Full results are below.
Elite Men Results: 2019 Superprestige Gavere
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|2||5||VAN DER HAAR||Lars||NED||1:01:10|
|21||12||VAN DER POEL||David||NED||1:06:27|
|29||21||DE WIT||Edwin||BEL||-5 LAPS|
|30||63||MÖRTSELL RÖRFORS||Lukas||SWE||-5 LAPS|
|32||42||BENOIT GUYOD||Antoine||FRA||-5 LAPS|