After winning the first two World Cup races in the US, Belgian rider Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) was the rider who had to defend the leader’s jersey in the first European World Cup race of the season at World Cup Bern.
Knowing what’s at stake, Iserbyt took the lead from the start. Tim Merlier (Creafin Fristads) known to be a quick starter, tried to hold on to the wheel of the two-time U23 World Champion. But as Merlier had to let go, it was Quinten Hermans (Telenet-Baloise Lions) who closed the gap, with Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) on his wheel.
A fourth rider joining the leaders at the end of the first lap was Dutch rider Lars van der Haar (Telenet-Baloise Lions). In the second lap, Belgian national champion Toon Aerts (Telenet-Baloise Lions) bridged the gap as well, as he had to defend his second place in the World Cup standings.
Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) was the rider leading the chasing group, but soon faced a back wheel puncture and a little later some shoe troubles as well. After a mechanical and a broken shoe yesterday, it wouldn’t be his day today either. With Sweeck falling away as the engine of the chasing group, the gap of the 5 leaders extended its lead to 12 seconds. The winner would be one of them.
When Iserbyt attacked in the fourth lap, a gap opened up. Aerts led the chase, with Vanthourenthout and Hermans on his wheel. Van der Haar had dropped off the pace, leaving the 3 chasers with a 7-second gap at the end of Lap 4.
Vanthourenhout realized that the Telenet-Baloise Lions weren’t going to close the gap and then tried to bridge the gap towards his teammate on his own. Both the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal teammates jumped the hurdles in the mud, but the gap opened up towards 15 seconds by the end of lap 6, as Hermans and Aerts started closing in on Vanthourenhout again.
With a lap to go and a 39 seconds advantage, a hat trick seemed to be a certainty for Iserbyt. The two remaining spots on the podium had yet to be divided between three riders, as Hermans and Aerts had caught up with Vanthourenhout. When Aerts accelerated a little later, Hermans got dropped. The same destiny awaited Vanthourenhout as well.
Iserbyt took his fifth win of the season and is leading in the World Cup standings with the maximum amount of points now as he took his third consecutive win in the World Cup.
“I once made a hat trick in soccer, but in cyclocross I didn’t manage to do that yet I think,” Iserbyt said (Translated, source: Sporza). “In the beginning of the race, I had to search for a long time for the right tire pressure. After a few bike changes, I had the good feeling. The Telenet riders tried to accelerate a few times, but I had control. I also have to thank Michael Vanthourenhout, who was the ideal teammate for me.”
Aerts and Vanthourenhout flanked Iserbyt on the podium, as Hermans had to be content with fourth place today. After a strong comeback, Corné van Kessel (Telenet-Baloise Lions) took fifth before teammate Van der Haar.
American Kevin Bradford-Parrish (KBP Racing) finished 45th.
Full results are below.
Elite Men Results: 2019 World Cup Bern
|Rank||BIB||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|6||2||VAN DER HAAR||Lars||NED||1:02:28|
|30||8||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Maik||NED||1:05:54|
|33||9||VAN DER MEER||Gosse||NED||1:06:26|