January 19, 2022

Taylor Daily Press

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Even a shoe change can't stop him: Wout van Aert takes seven out of seven after a giant duel with Tom Pidcock at Baal

Even a shoe change can’t stop him: Wout van Aert takes seven out of seven after a giant duel with Tom Pidcock at Baal

© BELGA

Wout van Aert took his seventh straight win on the field. But this was not without struggle: the Belgian champion had to fight hard at Baal after he had a fall and changed his boots. On the last lap Van Aert tackled an excellent Tom Bidcock, and Eli Esserbitt finished third.

Sam Variek

Wout van Aert concluded 2021 with an impressive streak: the Belgian champion won six cycling races in a row. In Baal he really wanted to make seven out of seven. The winner of the previous four GPs Sven Nys would certainly not hold him back: Mathieu van der Poel was still absent. From the party: Tom Bidcock. And with names like Toon Aerts and the entire Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal group in existence, it never ends.

Eli Iserbyt had the best start at Flemish Brabant, but Tom Pidcock soon took over. The Olympic mountain bike champion Iserbyt quickly followed, and Van Aert and Toon Aerts slipped as well. So it’s a nice quad. In the background, things immediately went wrong for Korn van Kessel: The Dutchman fell into a landing and was treated to a hard mud bath.

Van Aert is divided

After all, the circuit in Baal was very difficult. Bacon to Van Aert’s mouth, but he remained out of sight. Ayertz was the next who shook the tree. The leader in the X2O Baths Cup – defending his lead for more than two minutes over Iserbet – saw his progress halted by a fall, but returned with Michael Fanthornhout.

They didn’t stay together for long, because in the third round of seven, Van Aart thought his moment had come. Bidcock didn’t hold back and Iserbet was also able to hold out with tremendous effort, but he went too fast for Ertes and Fantorenhout. On another roll later, Van Aert took up his role again: this time no one was able to join in.

Falling and changing shoes

Racing, it seems. But nothing could be further from the truth. Van Aert split with Bidcock and Iserbet, but then fell out. Bidcock joined moments later and in the fifth round Van Aert lost nearly half a minute to a shoe change. Suddenly Bidcock and Isrbet received a nice reward. But Van Aert did not give up: he quickly captured Iserbyt again, after which he immediately went to Pidcock.

On the penultimate lap, Van Aert took the risk to get the younger Briton back. It paid off, as the duo started their last tour together – near Iserbyt. But it soon became clear that Van Aert had more in the tank. The Belgian champion managed to make a hole with Bidcock and then literally walked away from him. The win – his seventh in a row on the field – was in.

It is the third time that Van Aert has won the Sven Ness Grand Prix: in 2015 and 2016 he was also the best. Bidcock is second, ahead of Iserbyt, who is doing well in the X2O Bathrooms Trophy standings: He’s ahead of leader Toon Aerts. Well just to stress about this standard of regularity: There are still four rounds in the program, which take place the following Wednesday at the Herentals.

GP Sven Nys Result:

1) Wout van Aert

2) Tom Bidcock +10″

3) Eli Iserbyt +29″

4) Toon Airs + 1’16”

5) Michael Fanthornhout + 1’58”

6) Ben Turner + 2’13”

7) Lars van der Haar + 2’25”

8) Jens Adams + 2’44”

9) Lauren Swick + 2’48”

10) Tom Meeusen + 2’50”

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