Laurens Sweeck wins in MIddelkerke 2020
5 Things to Know
Photo credit: Photopress

5 Things to Know from Week 25 & 26

The end of the season has come. The final two weeks of the season saw four C1 races wind down what has been another incredible season. Middelkerke played host to the final round of the Superprestige, followed by Vestingcross in the Netherlands. The final weekend of the season saw the riders tackle the GP Leuven and the Internationale Sluitingsprijs in Oostmalle. In our final “5 Things to Know”, we dive into the thrilling end of the Superpestige series. Then, we head into our all too common narrative of the Dutch Women’s dominance followed by a look at Thibau Nys’ season. Finally, we give insight into what is next. Just because the season is over doesn’t mean where done!

Middelkerke provides the thrilling finale in the Superprestige series.

Elite Women

With a five-point lead heading into the final round of the Superprestige series, Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado basically had the series wrapped up. The Superprestige series offers points to the top-15 riders and each place is only separated by one point. Other series will see a gap of 10 to 20 points between the top few places. This meant that Alvarado would have had to finish five or six places behind Yara Kastelijn to lose the title.

In the end, Alvarado took care of business as she was part of a three rider leading group. Kastelijn was far back, in sixth place. However, Alvarado used her sprint (which has come on as of late) to beat fellow Dutch riders Denise Betsema and Anne Marieworst. Alvarado’s win was her third of the series and leaves the Dutch with a near sweep. Alice Arzuffi (Italy) took home the victory at round two of the series in Boom. Interestingly not a single Dutch rider reached the podium in that race.

Elite Women Overall Standings:

1Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (NED)96
2Yara Kastelijn (NED)86
3Annemarie Worst (NED)78

Elite Men

Coming into Middelkerke, Laurens Sweeck and Eli Iserbyt were separated by one point. Despite being teammates, the two have had a contentious relationship this season. All eyes were on the pair to battle it out for the win and for the overall. Behind those two, there were three riders who all had a chance for third overall (Lars van der Haar, Quinten Hermansn and Toon Aerts).

Like Alvarado, Sweeck left nothing to chance as he took a convincing win in Middelkerke. The Belgian National Champion followed a move from Tom PIdcock during the third lap of the race. As things continued to whittle down, Sweeck capitalized on a mistake by Pidcock and was never seen again. Toon Aerts finished second, a head of Iserbyt. Despite the strong showing by Aerts, Van der Haar did just enough to maintain his third overall, finishing fourth on the day.

Elite Men Overall Standings:

1Laurens Sweeck (BEL)84
2Eli Iserbyt (BEL)81
3Lars van der Haar (NED)76

Junior Men

Thibau Nys continued his domination of the Junior Men’s classification with a 46 second win over Tibor del Grosso. Lennert Belmans came across the line in third place, nearly one minute back. It marked Nys’ fifth win of the series. Nys did not race the round in Boom, which was won by Yorben Lauryssen, and finished third in Ruddervoorde. Much like the World Cup, it was another overall title he easily took, just missing out on perfection.

Unlike the World Cup, riders do not drop any races, therefore all seven rounds (Merksplas was canceled) count towards the overall. This is interesting because the top three overall all skipped round two in Boom.

Junior Men Overall Standings:

1Thibau Nys (BEL)88
2Lennert Belmans (BEL)83
3Ward Huybs (BEL)69

The U23 riders do not race separately. They are simply pulled out in the order they cross the line in the Elite races. The scoring is a lot less, with eight riders receiving points. Both categories had winners who swept the series.

U23 Men Overall Standings:

1Tom Pidcock (GBR)56
2Ryan Kamp (NED)28
3Ben Turner (GBR)24

U23 Women Overall Standings:

1Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (NED)56
2Inge van der Heijden (NED)40
3Shirin van Anrooji (NED)28

Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado ends her season on a high note.

Alvarado has had a season to remember. The term “breakout season,” just doesn’t do her justice. After an amazing victory at Worlds, the young Dutch rider did not take her foot off the gas and went out on a high note.

Alvarado skipped Parkcross Maldegem, held on the Wednesday after Worlds, but won all three races she started after Worlds. She headed into the penultimate weekend looking to wrap up the Superprestige title and take victory on the last race of her season (in her home nation) in Hulst. She did just that, unleashing a powerful sprint in Middelkerke and dominating the race in Hulst.

The final two victories bring her season total to 16 wins. Along the way she won the Dutch National Championship, the World Championship and led the UCI Rankings. Her win in Middelkerke gave her the Superprestige overall as she nearly completed the “Grand Slam”. Alvarado also took home the DVV Trofee overall and was second in the World Cup standings.

As a clear candidate for rider of the year, I’m sure we will have an even deeper breakdown of her season soon.

Sanne Cant “ruined” a four-for-four Dutch podium.

Sanne Cant had a season that we would, more or less, like to forget. The three-time World Champion never seemed to be on form, and if she was, she was still unable to break the Dutch stranglehold. She only one three races this season, but did continue her impressive streak of National Championships. 

Even in years where she’s not the top rider, she’s often a consistent podium finisher. This year however, she was just off. She only finished on the podium at one World Cup round (Hoogerheide) and was on the podium three times in both the Superprestige and DVV Trofee. To us, it feels like there were more lows than highs.

With that said, Cant was able to land on the podium at GP Leuven, breaking up the endless domination of the Dutch women. Her third place in Leuven made her the only non-Dutch woman to stand on the podium in the final four races of the season.

Thibau Nys finishes an incredible season with three straight wins.

When you’re the son of a legend, it can often be hard to find success and stand on your own. Thibau Nys doesn’t seem to have that problem. The son of the great Sven Nys had a near perfect season. 

He started 26 races this season and finished all of them. He won 22 of those races including the Belgian National and World title. One of those four non-wins came in Hoogerheide where he suffered a mid-race mechanical and almost came back to take the win. Even though he did not win the final round of the World Cup, he easily took the overall. As we briefly mentioned before, he won all but one round of the Superprestige en route to the overall title. His “worst” result of the season was a fourth place finish in Flandriencross.

As with Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado, Nys is an obvious candidate for rider of the year, so an even further breakdown of his season may be coming soon.

Where do we go from here?

We have periodically mentioned that we will be providing content throughout the spring and even into summer. There will be breaks without much content as the cyclocross contingent heads into the “off-season”. 

Here are some of the things we have coming your way (in no particular order):

  • Season long predictions wrapup
  • “Battle of the Brothers” final standings
  • An in depth look at the most challenging World Cup course
  • Awards including rider of the year, race of the year, moment of the year, etc.
  • Diving into the teams and sponsors that we see every weekend

And much, much, more!

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