Except for a race or two, for all intents and purposes the 2022-2023 cyclocross season drew to a close on Sunday with Fem van Empel claiming a treble. The young Dutch star’s victory in the final round of the X2O Trofee, the Brussels Universities race, wrapped up her series victory and gave her the X2O, World Cup and Worlds titles. Eli Iserbyt earned the X2O Trofee for the third time in four seasons.
Only Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado’s Superprestige series triumph prevented van Empel from sweeping the season’s laurels, something Lucinda Brand did in 2020-2021. Last year Brand earned the X2O, Superprestige and World Cup treble.
After four wins in seven rounds, van Empel came to the final race with a 1:49 lead over Brand. She extended her winning gap in Sunday’s Brussels victory by 48 seconds. It was the Jumbo-Visma rider’s fifth triumph in a row and 16th of the season. Brand was runner-up on Sunday and Annemarie Worst stood on the podium for the second straight round.
Congrats Fem! 😃 https://t.co/sqlxQDsfgz
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) February 19, 2023
Canada’s Isabella Holmgren, the Junior women’s world champion, also took the Junior women’s X2O Trofee category, with twin sister Ava second.
On the men’s side, Eli Iserbyt, with the New Year’s Day GP Sven Nys round in his pocket, led Lars van der Haar by 1:59 before Sunday. Like van Empel, the table-topping Belgian added to his lead in Brussels, beating Michael Vanthourenhout, with van der Haar third. Iserbyt ends the season with eight wins.
🏆 X2O Trofee Brussels (C1) 🇧🇪
1 🇧🇪 Eli Iserbyt
2 🇧🇪 Michael Vanthourenhout
3 🇳🇱 Lars van der Haar
4 🇧🇪 Adams
5 🇳🇱 Nieuwenhuis
6 🇨🇭 Kuhn
7 🇳🇱 Kamp
8 🇧🇪 Vandebosch
9 🇧🇪 Vandeputte
10 🇧🇪 Loockx
➡️ Results: https://t.co/enwEGAvEVt pic.twitter.com/UzRn87PToB
— Cyclocross24.com (@cyclocross24) February 19, 2023
Iserbyt started the season with three consecutive World Cup victories and was third overall in the series. He also bookended the Superprestige series with wins, making him the runner-up in that competition.
Iserbyt’s title meant that all four major elite men’s 2022-2023 ‘cross honours went to different riders. Laurens Sweeck hoisted the World Cup, Lar van der Haar bore away the Superprestige laurels, and Mathieu van der Poel was crowned world champion.
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