Eli Iserbyt makes most of last lap crash by teammate Vanthourenhout to secure victory in Kortrijk

In a thrilling and eventful second round of the X2O Trofee cyclocross series in Kortrijk, Eli Iserbyt of Pauwels-Sauzen-Bingoal clinched a dramatic victory. The race took an unexpected turn on the final lap when his teammate, Michael Vanthourenhout, leading at the time, suffered a crash, leaving Iserbyt to surge ahead and secure his fifth win of the season. Lars van der Haar of Baloise Trek Lions finished second, followed by Cameron Mason of Cyclocross Reds in third, amid a chaotic finale.

Van der Haar’s strong performance placed him at the forefront of the X2O Trofee series standings, shifting the dynamic of the overall competition. Iserbyt, in his post-race reflections, credited a last-minute tyre change by his mechanic for his success in the increasingly muddy conditions, stating that he remained focused despite a minor slip during the race.

The incident involving Vanthourenhout was a focal point of discussion. Iserbyt expressed concern for his teammate, who lost control in a fast right-hand turn, resulting in a partial dislocation of his shoulder joint. Fortunately, Vanthourenhout avoided any fractures, and his participation in the next day’s World Cup race in Dublin remained a possibility.

Van der Haar initiated the day’s racing with an aggressive start, setting a high pace that initially only Corné van Kessel could match. However, as the race progressed, Vanthourenhout gradually closed the gap, forming a leading group with Iserbyt and Mason. Mason briefly led the race before a slip relegated him to fourth in the group.

The Pauwels-Sauzen-Bingoal team played their numbers strategically against Van der Haar until Vanthourenhout’s crash on the final lap altered the course of the race. Vanthourenhout, looking set for victory, was left in evident pain as Iserbyt narrowly avoided his bike, taking the lead and eventually the win.

Post-race, Iserbyt reflected on the unfortunate turn of events for his teammate and the team’s tactics during the race. He hoped for Vanthourenhout’s quick recovery, especially considering their planned travel to Dublin together for the upcoming World Cup round. Despite the unforeseen challenges, Iserbyt’s victory showcased his resilience and ability to adapt under pressure.

2023 X2O Trofee Kortrijk Men result

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

Main photo credit: BELGA

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