Wout van Aert, riding for Team Jumbo-Visma, achieved a remarkable victory at the Heusden-Zolder Superprestige, marking his third consecutive win at this venue. The 29-year-old rider demonstrated his prowess in the sixth round of the Superprestige classification, comfortably securing the win. He was joined on the podium by Eli Iserbyt and Joris Nieuwenhuis, in what was Van Aert’s second victory in five races.
The day was also significant for Tibor Del Grosso, the 20-year-old Alpecin-Deceuninck rider, who showcased his emerging talent by securing a fifth-place finish. Del Grosso expressed both surprise and satisfaction at his performance, noting the rapid pace of the round as a factor that made breaking away challenging. He felt he could have contended for a higher position, stating, “I was just a bit too far back when Wout made his move.”
Van Aert began the race as the outright favourite, and despite the absence of his rival Mathieu van der Poel, he faced stiff competition from riders like Nieuwenhuis, Iserbyt, and Michael Vanthourenhout. The race started with a phase of observation, with the riders keeping a close watch on each other. The turning point came when Del Grosso boldly attacked, leading the race for a brief period before being overtaken by Iserbyt.
Van Aert’s strategy involved a patient approach, waiting for the right moment to assert his dominance. He made his decisive move in the final stages, breaking away from Iserbyt and maintaining the lead to the finish line. His victory was a testament to his strategy and endurance, particularly after the physically demanding race at Gavere.
Nieuwenhuis, despite a finger injury from the previous day’s race, managed to secure third place. He admitted to experiencing pain during the race but was determined to defend his position in the Superprestige standings. Nieuwenhuis’s resilience was evident as he battled through discomfort to earn his podium spot.
Reflecting on his victory, Van Aert highlighted his tactical approach, choosing to build up his effort gradually and capitalise on his strength in the latter part of the race. He acknowledged the challenges of the day but was pleased with the outcome, especially given the demanding nature of the race at Gavere.
Van Aert will take a brief break from racing before returning to compete in Hulst, where he anticipates a thrilling contest with all the top riders, including Van der Poel. His win at Heusden-Zolder adds another impressive achievement to his already distinguished cyclocross career.
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Main photo credit: Cor Vos