Eli Iserbyt led home a Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal 1-2 at the cyclocross season's first Superprestige round in Overijse, beating teammate Michael Vanthourenhout to the line to end a dramatic race.
Thibau Nys (Baloise Trek Lions) had been battling the pair for the win on the final lap of the race before making a move up the inside of Iserbyt for the lead in the final section of the course.
However, the Belgian went in too hard, overshooting the corner and crashing, leaving Iserbyt to push on through alone as European champion Vanthourenhout also shot past.
Less than a minute later, Iserbyt crossed the line two seconds up on his teammate as Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) rounded out the podium at 15 seconds. Nys ended up in fourth place 19 seconds down.
"It's my 40th victory, so it's a nice day," Iserbyt said afterwards, according to WielerFlits.
"Nys passed me very quickly in a practically impossible place," he said of the crash. "When he passed me, I thought 'there's a nine in 10 chance he will fall'. I wanted to leave a small gap because the outcome of my turn was going to be better.
"He fell very hard. Luckily it wasn't too bad for me. I was actually able to just ride over it, which allowed me to go on and grab the win."
Nys and Iserbyt had both enjoyed strong starts to the race, with the pair plus Van der Haar and Kevin Kuhn (Circus-Reuz-Technord) all enjoying spells in the lead.
Things changed on lap two, however, when Iserbyt pushed on at the front and Nys, leading the chase, crashed, dropping over half a minute back. Kuhn led the chase alone, followed by a larger group, as Nys fought back through the field.
On lap three, Nys was back with Van der Haar's group and hit the front, taking the Dutchman, Vanthourenhout, and Gerben Kuypers (Circus-Reuz-Technord) along with him.
It took until after the halfway mark of the eight-lap race for riders to make it across to Iserbyt again. Van der Haar was first to get across, with Nys and Vanthourenhout making it four at the front.
An acceleration from Vanthourenhout on the penultimate lap proved the next breaking point, with Nys able to get back on as Van der Haar struggled. Iserbyt was off the back, too, before managing to come across as the lead duo stalled.
The three up front battled for supremacy on the final lap, with Iserbyt and Nys ahead of Vanthourenhout as they raced into the final stretch. It was there, however, where Nys made his mistake, holding up Iserbyt as he fell.
The Belgian was quick to get going, though, racing into the final metres to secure the race victory as Vanthourenhout came in for second ahead of the Baloise Trek Lions pair.
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