Training fields

Wout van Aert and Zoe Bäckstedt crush small fields at Ethias Cross Essen


“],” filter “: {” nextExceptions “:” img, blockquote, div “,” nextContainsExceptions “:” img, blockquote “}}”>

Access everything we post when you> “,” name “:” in-content-cta “,” type “:” link “}}”> join VeloNews or Outside +.

Wout van Aert and Zoe Bäckstedt lived up to their expectations as pre-race favorites to dominate a swampy task at the Ethias Cross Essen on Saturday.

17-year-old sensation Bäckstedt (Tormans CX) rode solo from the opening laps to win his race of more than a minute. Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) moved away from lone challenger Thijs Aerts (Baloise-Trek) to carry the double on his return to the pitch after winning his debut last weekend.

“It was a tough race on such a flooded circuit,” said van Aert. “Of course, I’m very happy with two out of two. I was of course the big favorite, but it’s a challenge to get there.

Men’s and women’s races saw a low-key start sheet after most of the world’s top crossers chose to focus their efforts on the Val di Sole World Cup on Sunday rather than facing Belgium’s long overnight journey in Trentino.

Tom Pidcock, Toon Aerts and Eli Iserbyt all skipped the men’s race, while Marianne Vos, Denise Betsema and Puck Pieterse were among the leading women heading straight to the snow-capped Italian resort of Val di Sole.

Lucinda Brand is missing this race weekend to attend a team training camp, while American champion Clara Honsinger returns to the United States to try to defend her title at the national championships in Ilinois on Sunday.

Van Aert was the only big name willing to take charge of the transfer and is planning a 7:30 am flight on Saturday night before a long drive to the mountains on Sunday morning.

“He hasn’t run on snow since he was a kid,” van Aert said of Sunday’s race. “It certainly wasn’t my thing at the time. But who knows, maybe that has changed in the meantime.

The largely flat grassy track was heavy with mud after a week of heavy rain, and the barrier-laden back-and-forth track of long straights became a test of both running speed and power. diesel.

Bäckstedt started early in the women’s race and quickly built a more than comfortable lead to step onto a new podium completed by Laura Verdonschot, 25 (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingaol), and Anna Kay, 22 (Starcasino CX).

The result continues the 17-year-old’s phenomenal season after also scoring the junior rainbow road racing jersey, three European track titles and six CX wins this year.

“It was tough, though – very heavy,” she said. “Every time I had to run in the mud it hurt my back a lot. But it was a great course and I could take a lot of my own lines. Once I almost put my handlebars, but otherwise it went well. Because the mud was so deep, the race was really tough.

Van Aert overcame an incident in the opening laps which saw him find himself trapped in the monster’s barriers for a 1:47 victory over lone pursuer Aerts, who was just as impressive as “the best of the rest”. Aerts’ teammate Pim Ronhaar took third place after challenging van Aert for the first time before disappearing.

Will Van Aert succeed on Sunday three out of three times in the snow and ice of Val di Sole?

He will certainly not be offered a ride as easy as he did in Essen on Saturday.

Source link