The Hotondcross circuit on the flanks of the Hotond Arena in the area of the two East Flanders communities of Ronse and Kluisbergen has often been the venue for strenuous and exciting races. In contrast to the previous two events, where the course was very fast in warm and dry weather, the rains of the last few days this year created quite a challenge for the participants.
Slowly, the Belgian cross season is starting to pick up speed. Last weekend the Superprestige series had its beginning in Gieten, now the dvv verzekeringen Trofee started with the Hotondcross in Ronse.
When two argue, the third man rejoices
As in the first races of this season, all the observers expected to see a renewed duel between world champion Wout van Aert and dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel. The expectations seemed to be fulfilled at the beginning of the race, as the two favourites burnedı down a firework of mutual attacks. But the course made it impossible for the two of them to gain a decisive advantage. At the beginning of the penultimate round, the two combat roosters took a short rest period, which Lars van der Haar used to catch up with the leading duo.
Van der Haar quickly recognized that the other two had almost shot their last bullet and set the decisive attack. Van der Poel and van Aert were lurking in wait, and no one seemed to be interested in following van der Haar’s attack. The little dutchman had quickly pulled out an almost 30-second advantage, which he happily defended to the finish line. Mathieu van der Poel won the final sprint for honour, just ahead of van Aert.
Compton came, saw and conquered
For the first time in her career, the American champion had decided to participate in all eight races of the dvv Verzekeringen Trofee and she doesn’t seem to regret it. At the start of the race, Katie Compton and Maud Kaptheijns from the Netherlands broke away from the field. Both of them continued to increase their lead during the following laps. About halfway through the race, Compton then set the decisive attack and was able to break away from Kaptheijns. Both were then able to defend their positions up to the finish line without any problems.
The fight for the last remaining podium place was still exciting. For a long time it looked as if british champion Nikki Brammeier could take the flowers home with her. But in the last lap, her countrywoman Helen Wyman came closer and closer, and while the reserves were exhausted at Brammeier, Wyman was able to take the third place and conquer the last podium position.
On her birthday, of all days, Sanne Cant had caught a pitch-black day. The world champion had gotten stomach cramps the evening before and spent the night in the University Hospital of Ghent. Bleary-eyed and plagued with severe abdominal pain, Cant had to end the race prematurely.
Ronse looks like Iserbyt’s living room
Iserbyt wins the Hotondcross for the third time. The west flandrien remained victorious as junior and in his first year in the U23 category .Only last year, he had to leave the top spot to the superior Joris Nieuwenhuis.
This time Iserbyt didn’t leave a chance for his rivals, right from the start he dominated the race. Former junior world champion Jens Dekker, who ruled the race in Gieten last weekend , could not resist this time and had to settle for second place.
In the junior class, swiss champion Loris Roulier triumphed once again. In the U17, Thibaut Nys had to accept being defeated by the Dutch Salvador Alvarado.