Van Aert solos through the snow
Sunday 12 December 2021
After a long solo, Wout van Aert was the winner of the first ever UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup race in Val di Sole. In the snow, he was 49 seconds faster than Vanthourenhout. The Briton Pidcock finished 1’28” behind.
Belgian champion Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) had to start from the second row on his debut in the ’21-’22 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. He quickly took his place near classification leader Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), while it was his teammate, Michael Vanthourenhout, who started fastest on the snow-white course in Italy.
At the end of the first lap there were three leaders: Van Aert, Vanthourenhout and Iserbyt seemed to be moving as one. But then it was Van Aert who quickly increased the tempo. On the climb in lap 2, he accelerated in a strong run passage and created a gap on the chasers.
For the leader in the classification, Iserbyt, it was all too fast. Vanthourenhout, who in the past has often been good on an icy course, remained 6 to 8 seconds behind for a long time. However, Van Aert was not faultless and Vanthourenhout seemed to be able to catch up, but that didn’t happen. The Belgian champion Van Aert accelerated again and steadily extended his lead.
Place 2 also seemed to be secured early in the race and thus the main interest in the battle was above all for the last spot on the podium. Iserbyt and Pidcock played leapfrog for a while. Going into the final lap, Pidcock had a small lead on his competitor. On the hilly stretch, Iserbyt pulled out all the stops to catch up with Pidcock and he succeeded. After a skid by Pidcock, Iserbyt also felt the pressure. A skid and a stumble a little further on gave Pidcock the advantage he needed to take third place.
In the meantime, at the finish, Wout van Aert was able to make the traditional victory gesture in the first ever UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup race in Val di Sole. Vanthourenhout finished 49 seconds behind in second place, ahead of Tom Pidcock.