Technically, it is not the end of September. There are still four UCI races this weekend before we officially mark the end of the month. However, none of our candidates for rider of the month are racing this weekend, so we will hand out the awards now. It will come as no shock to anyone that we chose Eli Iserbyt and Maghalie Rochette as our riders of the month.
Iserbyt has won two out of the three races he started this season. Those two wins just happen to be the first two rounds of the World Cup. Iserbyt was on his way to winning his first race of the season (Cross Eklo), but was passed by teammate Laurens Sweeck in the last technical section. Whether it was an error in judgement or a lack of attention doesn’t really matter as he came across the line in second place, a mere four seconds behind Sweeck.
His two World Cup wins are what sets Iserbyt out a head of the rest. Not only did he win on drastically different courses, in drastically different conditions, he simply crushed the competition. He took the win in Iowa City by 54 seconds and 1:08 in Waterloo. Iserbyt animated and dominated the first half of the race in Eklo and picked up right where he left off in Iowa City. As of right now, he’s the man to beat.
Berencross Meulebeke on October 5th will mark Iserbyt’s return to racing. He will then do the first round of the Superprestige in Gieten before competing in Ardooie kermisscross and then the third round of the World Cup in Bern, Switzerland. Iserbyt will now undoubtedly be the favorite, and a win in Bern should set him up for the World Cup overall.
Rochette couldn’t have had a better start to the season. She simply rode away from the competition in Rochester. Winning the C1 by 32 seconds and the C2 by 1:05. The Pan-American Champion then stormed into Iowa City winning the first round of the World Cup and the following days C1 race. She entered the following weekends World Cup race as the favorite, but was just off the pace, in ridiculously muddy conditions. She would end up fifth.
With fifth place being her “worst” result of the season, Rochette looks like a force to be reckoned with. She currently trails Katerina Nash by 15 points in the World Cup standings. If conditions are dry in Bern, she will undoubtedly be the favorite to win round three of the World Cup.
As we discussed in our conclusions from Week 4, the lack of C1 races in the United States leaves the door open for North American riders to race internationally. Rochette appears committed to a European/North American mix for the month of October.
She’s scheduled to go to FatyetteCross the first weekend in October before heading to Bern for round three of the World Cup. She then will head back to the US for the final C1 of the season in Cincinnati (where she will go for the C1 sweep). Rochette will stay in North America for Canadian Nationals and the Pan-American Championships. She will then head back to Europe for the remainder of November.