Last updated on December 12th, 2022 at 08:07 AM
Belgian Wout Van Aert claimed his first UCI Cyclocross World Cup victory of the 2022-23 season on Sunday, taking victory in Dublin, Ireland by 14 seconds as Britain’s defending world champion Tom Pidcock returned to the podium in third place.
Mud and freezing conditions made for a difficult race in the Irish capital city and Van Aert was made to fight hard for his victory after suffering a bad start and several mechanicals during the race, including a mechanic’s towel jamming in his gears at one point.
The Jumbo-Visma rider showed his strength to ride back to the leading group each time he had an issue, however, before powering away to open a gap on his rivals with just over a lap left to race.
Laurens Sweeck finished second and extended his lead in the World Cup overall standings, while Pidcock of Ineos Grenadiers looked likely to win the race with two laps to go, but fell back to take third, 17 seconds behind Van Aert.
Van Aert, 28, said, “This is pure cyclocross. It’s been a pleasure to meet the Irish fans and it was a really exciting course that changed throughout the day. It was a really hard race for me, especially mentally.
I had to fight my way into the race because I was missing a little bit at the start and too far off in my positioning. When I felt better I had a mechanical and so it was a long race. In the end it was so tough that I could still make the difference.”
In the women’s elite race, 2022 four-time world bike champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot of France finished seventh, her best cyclocross result since 2018.
The UCI Cyclocross World Cup circuit moves to Val di Sole in Italy next week, December 18.
UCI Cyclocross World Cup Dublin Men’s results
- Wout Van Aert (BEL) Jumbo-Visma 59m36s
- Laurens Sweek (BEL) Crelan-Fristads +14s
- Tom Pidcock (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers +17s