Eli Iserbyt of Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal clinched his first victory of the cyclocross season in a nail-biting finale at the Superprestige Overijse. He held off challenges from his teammate Michael Vanthourenhout and Lars van der Haar to claim the top spot. Thibau Nys, who had been leading the season with wins in Beringen and Waterloo, crashed out in the final lap, thus altering the course of what seemed to be a duel between him and Iserbyt.
Nys initially had the edge, quickly taking the lead before Iserbyt overtook him. Several riders, including Lars van der Haar and Kevin Kuhn, also enjoyed brief stints at the front. At this point, favourites like Iserbyt, Vanthourenhout, and Gerben Kuypers were neck-and-neck, with no clear gaps emerging. Only Laurens Sweeck and Kuypers fell slightly behind but managed to catch up as the race momentarily slowed in the second lap. Sweeck mentioned during the week that he wasn’t back at full fitness after his crash at Beringen.
However, the situation changed when Iserbyt decided to push ahead, causing Nys to lose his balance and crash. Nys found himself forced to change bikes and re-entered the race near the twentieth position, almost half a minute behind Iserbyt. At this juncture, Kevin Kuhn emerged as the leading chaser, followed by a group including van der Haar, Kuypers, Witse Meeussen, Vanthourenhout, and Toon Vandebosch.
Nys wasn’t to be counted out yet; he began clawing his way back, leading a group of cyclists that managed to close in on van der Haar’s group by the end of the third lap. Kuypers, Vanthourenhout, and van der Haar were the only riders who could keep pace with Nys, who seemed to be on a mission. Halfway through the race, Kuypers and van der Haar began to struggle, allowing Nys to inch closer and closer. Van der Haar was the first to reconnect with the leading group, followed shortly by Nys and Vanthourenhout.
In a crucial move during the penultimate lap, Vanthourenhout broke away. Van der Haar couldn’t catch him, but Nys did, setting up a showdown with Iserbyt in the last lap. However, it all came crashing down—quite literally—for Nys as he fell while trying to overtake Iserbyt in the race’s final moments.
With Nys’ fall, Iserbyt sealed his victory, crossing the finish line just two seconds ahead of his teammate Vanthourenhout. Van der Haar rounded out the podium, finishing 15 seconds behind the leader, while Nys had to settle for fourth place, 19 seconds adrift. According to Iserbyt, when Nys tried to overtake him in a difficult section, he thought there was a high likelihood of a crash. His prediction proved accurate, and he was able to ride through and secure his win.
2023 Overijse Druivencross Men result
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