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Wout van Aert turns favorite in Superprestige Heusden-Zolder after duel with Iserbyt

Wout van Aert turns favorite in Superprestige Heusden-Zolder after duel with Iserbyt

Wednesday, December 27, 2023 at 4:09 pm

Wout van Aert started as the favorite in the Superprestige of Heusden-Zolder and has lived up to his role as favourite. The Belgian from Jumbo-Visma had to dig deep into his arsenal to keep Ilie Iserbit behind him. Joris Nieuwenhuis crossed the third line.

During the busy Christmas and New Year period, riders hardly have time to recover. On Tuesday the riders competed for the World Cup in Javier, and today the Terleimen circuit in Heusden-Zolder was the setting for a new round in the Superprestige. There was a clear favorite among the men, but this time it wasn't Mathieu van der Poel. The World Champion's absence was evident today (just like Tom Pidcock), so it was a case of looking to his eternal rival, Wout van Aart.

In the exploration phase, the young Del Grosso steals the show
However, the Belgian from Jumbo-Visma was able to cheer himself up, because the competition from the three-time world champion was not small, including Joris Nieuwenhuis, Elie Iserbyt and Michael Vanthornhout. The crossover at Heusden-Zolder started with a reconnaissance stage, where the top riders were mainly watching each other and not riding too fast. There were already some gaps in the fast and technical track, but we still have to wait for the first real acceleration.

Photo: Cor Foss

That acceleration also came in the first half for Al-Salib, but not from one of the established names. It was the young Dutchman Tibor Del Grosso, who competes mainly in the promising category, who chose to attack boldly. The 20-year-old rider from the Alpecin-Deceuninck training squad had a great break, but was soon called back by Eli Iserbyt.

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Iserbyt steps forward, and Van Aart waits
Pauwels leader Sauzen-Bingoal took charge in the chasing group, climbed over Del Grossi and immediately took charge. Under his inspiring leadership, the pace increased dramatically and the leading group was on the verge of collapse. Nieuwenhuis, Del Grosso and Niels Vandeputte joined Iserbyt, while Van Aert had to do a medium sprint to make the crossing. Youngsters Ward Huips and Joran Wisseur were also at the forefront of the race.

Thus, with only four laps remaining, seven riders were still eligible for victory. Van Aert maintained an impressive distance in the first laps. Was this a mark on the wall? Or did the favorite wait patiently for his moment? In the sixth round, it seemed that his moment had come. Van Aart moved away from his rivals meter after meter on the bike, but he got stuck on a hill in the forest and Elie Iserbyt managed to get back to the line by hanging and strangling. Nieuwenhuis and Del Grosso had to show their colors again and seemed to have withdrawn for good.

Photo: Cor Foss

Belgian battle for victory
After six laps, Van Aert still had to have Iserbyt on his wheel, but he didn't seem to care much about that. The big man from Jumbo-Visma never looked back and tried to crush his compatriot at a hellish pace, but the powerful Izerbet held on well and at one point took the lead again. In other words, he will make it to the final round. Can Van Aert live up to his role as favourite? Or did Iserbyt pull a little trick (of course)?

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It was Iserbyt who was not shy about taking the lead on the final lap, although Van Aart made no attempt to take the lead. The latter seems to be waiting for a decisive attack or a fast race, but he pulled out all the stops earlier. This turned out to be a crucial moment in the race. Iserbyt proved unable to keep up with Van Aert and the latter was able to take victory at the final straight round of the Zolder motor circuit.

Iserbyt took second place after a very strong performance, while Joris Nieuwenhuis decided the fight for third place in his favor. Niels Vandeputte took fourth place, but the “surprise” of the day was Tibor del Grosso. The young Dutchman finished fifth among the big boys.

Photo: Cor Foss

Science is Super prestige Heusden Zolder
The result is elite men
1. Science isWoot Fan Art – at 57m05s
2. Science isElie Isserbyt – age eight
3. flag nlJoris Nieuwenhuis – 34 years old
4. Science isNiels Vandeput – 38 years old
5. flag nlTibor del Grosso – 44 years old
6. Science isJoran Wieser – 46 years old
7. Science is Hoybez Suite – 1:01 sec
8. Science chapterKevin Cone – at 1:05 seconds
9. Science isThis Aerts – at 1:06 seconds
10. Science is Aaron Dukes – Sh