Sensation on and around the Tenotsberg in Overijse
Eli Iserbyt gave himself a beautiful birthday present during the opening round of the Telenet Superprestige 2023-2024. In a spectacular race, he finally managed to secure the victory. Team mate Michael Vanthourenhout finished in second place, Lars van der Haar was third.
On a heavy and slippery circuit, the riders watched each other expectantly on the opening lap. No one dared to show their cards so early in the race. Eli Iserbyt was the first to test out the competition. A fall by Nys gave him the chance to grab a thirty second lead.
Kevin Kuhn was the first to chase, but he could not close the gap. On round three, he was joined by teammate Kuypers, Nieuwenhuis, Vanthourenhout, Van der Haar and Witse Meeussen. Iserbyt had found a course to suit him and he continued to push on the short climbs.
Nys, who dropped to 24th spot after his fall, in the meanwhile was charging from behind and, as by the beginning of the fourth lap, he had rolled up the entire chasing group. Second by second, he started to reduce the gap to Eli Iserbyt. Kuypers, Vanthourenhout and Lars van der Haar followed in his wheel. The rain made the course somewhat slippery again, causing many riders to enter the material station for other footwear.
At the halfway point in the race, the gap to Iserbyt had halved to 12 seconds. Kuypers was now struggling, and Nys, Vanthourenhout and Van der Haar were able to play the team game. When Iserbyt was eventually caught, Van der Haar saw his chance to put on the pressure. Without success however. Attack after attack was countered.
The four riders from Baloise Trek Lions and Pauwels Sauzen – Bingoal entered the penultimate lap together. Gerben Kuypers and Cameron Mason followed about 17 seconds behind. The young Mason had made a strong comeback.
After a little over 45 minutes of racing, things began to get a little more difficult for the young Nys. Michael Vanthourenhout seized this moment to show himself for the first time. Could he win in Overijse for the second year in a row? Towards the end of the penultimate lap, Nys seemed to have found his second wind and rejoined Vanthourenhout. Van der Haar and Iserbyt followed, at that moment 7 seconds behind.
The last lap and everything to play for. The fighting contenders continued to bombard each other with acceleration after acceleration. Nys and Iserbyt seemed to have the best chance as they raced into the final downhill. At the very last chance to pass Iserbyt, Nys chose a different line. The extra speed and line selection resulted in a costly fall. Iserbyt just about managed to hold himself straight, sprang past Nys and rode solo to victory. Behind him, Vanthourenhout and Van der Haar passed the unfortunate Nys. First: Eli Iserbyt, second: Michael Vanthourenhout and third: Lars van der Haar.