Joris Nieuwenhuis, a cyclist with Baloise Trek Lions, celebrated his maiden victory in a World Cup cyclocross event at Val di Sole, marking a significant milestone in his career. Nieuwenhuis, who previously competed as a road cyclist with Team DSM, has shifted his focus back to cyclocross, resulting in notable successes including wins at Merksplas and Boom in the Superprestige series.
The snowy conditions in Italy proved advantageous for Nieuwenhuis. He joked about making it look easy on television, despite the physical strain, and emphasised the need for focus and concentration to excel. Nieuwenhuis, experiencing the Val di Sole course for the first time, managed to lead from the first corner and maintained his position by choosing his lines wisely and focusing on his performance. His background in BMX aided his technique and composure on the challenging course. He knew victory was certain only in the last lap, aware that premature thoughts of winning could lead to mistakes.
Nieuwenhuis dominated the snowy Val di Sole cyclocross, leading from the start and not relinquishing his position throughout the race. Niels Vandeputte briefly followed but eventually fell behind, finishing second. In the absence of several top riders who chose training camps over the snowy race, Nieuwenhuis grabbed the opportunity and quickly established a significant lead over Vandeputte in the first lap.
Eli Iserbyt, among others, trailed behind but couldn’t close the gap on the leading duo. Nieuwenhuis extended his lead over Vandeputte beyond 20 seconds by the third lap, with the rest more than a minute behind. His consistent performance and minimal errors led to a doubling of his lead in the final laps, securing a comfortable win.
This victory marks Nieuwenhuis’s first win in a World Cup among the elite and his fourth overall this season. His breakthrough performance this winter highlights his emergence at the highest level in cyclocross. Vandeputte secured a strong second place, and Joran Wyseure claimed the third spot on the podium after a close battle, with Vanthourenhout, Iserbyt, and Sweeck completing the top six.
2023 Val di Sole Men result
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Main photo credit: Cor Vos