Michael Vanthourenhout beats Tom Pidcock in muddy thriller at World Cup Overijse

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Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) gave the Belgian crowd a muddy thriller to prepare for the Overijse World Cup.

Vanthourenhout beat the world champion in Sunday’s ‘cross after a tense back-and-forth battle for the last half of the race. It is the Belgian’s first win since he claimed the European title at the beginning of the month.

“This was an even better win than in the European championships,” Vanthourenhout said afterwards.

“He was really close to Tom, and maybe I was a little bit better in the technical sections, but it was really hard to follow him uphill. It was a really good battle.”

Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) finished more than 30 seconds behind the two leaders to claim the final place on the podium.

Pidcock and Vanthourenhout took center stage in a scintillating race through the iconic Overijse course on Sunday. The technical circuit was made more complicated by the wet greasy mud after heavy rain fell during the night and morning.

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Pidcock had to chase all the way back through the field in the opening laps after problems coming off the starting grid left him at the back of the pack.

“At the beginning I had a problem changing gear and I had to chase, even my shoe had come loose and it was difficult to ride,” Pidcock explained later.

The rainbow jersey worked through traffic and got into the lead in turn three of seven. Vanthourenhout took command on lap four before a crash brought Pidock back into the lead soon after.

Pidcock forced the pressure through the penultimate lap and was weakening until a crash on slippery cobbles later in the same circuit gave Vanthourenhout the crucial advantage of victory.

Vanthourenhout held off Pidcock’s mounting pursuit in the final lap to claim victory by just three seconds.

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“It was very difficult,” Vanthourenhout said of the final. “In the last two laps I pushed very hard but I saw Tom getting very close. But I didn’t make a mistake. It was difficult, but very nice.”

Series leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) finished seventh and now holds just one point lead overall.

Results provided by FirstCycling.com

Pieterse dominates the mud for first World Cup win

Pieterse thrived in dire conditions.

Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) claimed his first elite World Cup victory with a dominant race in unpleasant conditions early on Sunday.

The new U23 European champion and U23 World Cup leader pulled away from rivals and fellow 20-year-olds Fem van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) in the first round and won by more than a minute.

Technical super-talent Pieterse was almost perfect on a rutted, rooted and wooded Belgian course that was packed with rain-soaked descents and sloppy mud.

“It was such a great race, but really tough,” Pieterse said.

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“I wanted to be in front in the first descent to the pits because I knew my descent would be good. I took a lot of risks in the first laps to have an advantage, so I drove my own pace and kept safe.

Pieterse had finished on the podium in all three rounds of the World Cup that started this season.

The Alpecin-Deceuninck ace’s win on Sunday was only the second time series leader Van Empel has failed to hit the World Cup podium as she continues to command a firm grip on the the general leader.

World champion Marianne Vos pulled away from the front of the race after going deep and slipping in the Superprestige Merksplas on Saturday.

“Marianne deduced that pushing the limits tomorrow would not be a good idea,” the Jumbo-Visma team said on Saturday.

Results provided by FirstCycling.com



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