Van Aert solos in Dublin
Sunday 11 December 2022
Wout van Aert has secured his first win of the season. The Belgian champion had to chase twice after bad luck, but decided the race with one acceleration on the penultimate lap. He makes it ahead of Sweeck and Pidcock.
It was Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal) who set the pace at the start of the race. After a slightly disappointing period, the Belgian seemed to have found his good form from the beginning of the season again. His fast pace thinned out the big leading group. The only riders hot on Iserbyt’s heels were reigning champions: Belgian champion Van Aert (Jumbo – Visma), world champion Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) and European champion Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal).
No gaps opened up in the first two laps. A large group started the third of a total of seven laps in Dublin, in which Van Aert had to dismount after a skid. The Belgian champion was able to quickly get back on track at the rear of the leading group, almost without any problems.
In the third lap, Sweeck (Crelan – Fristads) took the lead. Pidcock and Vanthourenhout joined him, while Van Aert in turn tried to close the gap with an acceleration during another passage at the finish line. Pidcock saw his change and put pressure on the rest. It was Belgian champion Van Aert who refused to let him get away. Not far behind, Iserbyt and European champion Vanthourenhout also tried to close the gap.
At the end of the fourth lap, a leading group of six formed again at the front, after Sweeck and Adams were also able to join them. Suddenly, there was a commotion in the pit. A towel had gotten caught in Van Aert’s wheel. The Belgian champion had to go back and dived into the pit with his bike in hand.
The Belgian champion was left to chase, but the gap of more than 10 seconds vanished into thin air. Van Aert was able to rejoin the front even before the fifth lap was well and truly over. For the leading group of seven it was all to fight for. Just before the sandpit, Van Aert switched up a gear. With a solid passage through the sand, the Belgian champion sprinted away. In the chase, it was Sweeck who went alone in search of the leader.
With a ten-second lead, Van Aert started the final lap. He did not relinquish his victory and took his first win of the season in Dublin. Sweeck strengthened his lead in the standings with his second place, at 14 seconds. In the battle for third place, it was eventually world champion Pidcock who prevailed after an exciting final lap.