Van Aert sprints to victory in the final lap

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Van Aert sprints to victory in the final lap

Just like in 2021 and 2022, Wout van Aert can stand on the top step of the podium in Heusden-Zolder. He sped away from Eli Iserbyt in the final lap and soloed to victory. Joris Nieuwenhuis finished in third place.

In the men's race, the competition remained tight for a long time. The only one to accelerate in the first half of the race was the 20-year-old Tibor Del Grosso (Alpecin-Deceuninck). The Dutchman made a brief attempt to break away at the start of the fourth lap, but it was unsuccessful.

It wasn't until the fifth lap that things began to change. Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) accelerated, with Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) on his wheel. Del Grosso and Vandeputte also joined the group. However, they didn't manage to break away, and as they entered the penultimate lap, there was still a lead group of seven riders around the Circuit of Zolder.

Iserbyt set the pace in the sixth lap but didn't accelerate to break away. That was what Van Aert did at the end of the penultimate lap. A slight hesitation from Van Aert allowed Iserbyt to stick with him. The two of them entered the penultimate lap together.

Just before the start of the final lap, Van Aert put Iserbyt under pressure again, just as he had done a lap earlier, but Iserbyt didn't crack. He fought back to Van Aert's wheel, and they began the final lap together. Iserbyt was the first to try an acceleration over the barriers.

Then, Van Aert saw his moment. Heading into the technical zone at the end of the course, he went past Iserbyt. Van Aert quickly gained a few meters and put his competitor under heavy pressure. Iserbyt couldn't keep up and had to settle for second place. Van Aert sprinted to victory, his third consecutive win in Heusden-Zolder.