Thibau Nys takes maiden World Cup win at Waterloo

Thibau Nys continued his stellar start to the cyclocross season (winning at Beringen last weekend) with a decisive solo victory in the World Cup at Waterloo. The young Belgian rider from Baloise Trek Lions made his mark in the fourth lap with a blistering attack that left his competitors trailing. Eli Iserbyt, who was plagued by a mechanical issue, and Pim Ronhaar joined him on the podium.

It was riders from the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal team, Eli Iserbyt and Michael Vanthourenhout, who got off to the best start, while Nys initially lost ground due to congestion in one of the first corners. Nevertheless, Nys’ teammate Pim Ronhaar swiftly bridged the gap to Iserbyt, allowing Nys to rejoin the front group, forming a trio of leaders. However, other top riders like Michael Vanthourenhout and Lars van der Haar were unable to keep pace.

Iserbyt’s challenge was marred by a shoe malfunction that forced him to change footwear, leaving him 20 seconds adrift. Seizing the opportunity, Nys and Ronhaar worked in tandem for a while. But in the fourth lap, Nys decided it was time to go it alone. He powered up a climb, gaining a few crucial seconds over his competitors.

Despite initial attempts to catch up, Ronhaar couldn’t sustain the effort, leaving Nys to control the race. Meanwhile, Iserbyt began to regain ground, managing to catch Ronhaar but ultimately unable to challenge Nys for the lead. Ronhaar finished third, while Iserbyt took second place. Both were overtaken in the last laps by Joris Nieuwenhuis and Lars van der Haar, completing the top five and rounding off a strong showing for Baloise Trek Lions.

Nys later revealed in a flash interview that he chose his moments carefully after losing several positions at the start. He said he wasn’t certain until the end but felt a surge of joy and relief when he finally crossed the finish line. Iserbyt, on the other hand, expressed disappointment, stating that he believed he had the legs to win but was thwarted by his shoe issue and subsequent loss of rhythm. Ronhaar said he had no doubt Nys would hold on for the win, particularly after seeing him gain several seconds on a particular climb during training.

2023 Waterloo World Cup result

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