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 crowds some muddy fun to taste at the Overijse World Cup.

Vanthourenhout edged out the world champion in Sunday’s cross after a tough back-and-forth battle in the last half of the race. It was the Belgian’s first victory since claiming the European title at the start of the month.

“This was a better victory than the European competition,” Vanthourenhout said afterwards.

“It was very close with Tom, and maybe I was a bit better in the technical parts but it was difficult to follow him when I went up. 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 spot on the podium.

Pidcock and Vanthourenhout took center stage in a brilliant race on Sunday. The technical cycle was made more difficult by the wet, greasy mud after heavy rains overnight.

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Pidcock had to chase all the way back to the field in the opening stages after problems from the starting grid left him at the back of the pack.

“In the beginning I had trouble changing gear and I had to chase, my shoe was too loose and it was difficult to ride,” explained Pidcock later.

The black jersey worked through traffic and took the lead on lap three of seven. Vanthourenhout took command in the fourth half before a crash put Pidock back in the lead soon after.

Pidcock applied pressure on the penultimate lap and squeezed into a narrow lead until a cobblestone collision later in circuit one gave Vanthourenhout a crucial advantage for the win.

Vanthourenhout fended off Pidcock’s chase 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 really hard but I saw Tom getting really close. But I didn’t make mistakes. It was difficult, but very good. “

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

Results are sponsored by FirstCycling.com

Pieterse tops the clay in first World Cup victory

Pieterse thrived in such dire circumstances.

Puck Pieterse (Alpecin-Deceuninck) scored his first World Cup victory in a spectacular climb in poor conditions early on Sunday.

The newly-crowned European Under-23 champion and U23 World Cup leader outclassed former players and fellow 20-year-olds Fem van Empel (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Shirin van Anrooij (Baloise Trek Lions) in the opening game and won over for one minute.

The technically gifted Pieterse was almost perfect on the tree-lined, rooty, rain-soaked Belgian course and slushy mud.

“It was a cool race, but it was very difficult,” said Pieterse.

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“I wanted to be in front on the first descent into the pit because I knew my descent would be good. I took a lot of risks in the first few laps to gain an advantage and then rode my own pace and stayed safe. “

Pieterse has finished on the podium in all three World Cup rounds he has started this season.

The Alpecin-Deceuninck ace’s victory on Sunday was just the second time Van Empel has failed to top the World Cup podium as he continues to hold the overall leader’s jersey securely.

World champion Marianne Vos pulled out of the race after a deep blow at the Superprestige Merksplas on Saturday.

“Marianne found out that pushing the limits tomorrow is not going to be a good idea,” team member Jumbo-Visma said on Saturday.

Results are sponsored by FirstCycling.com


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