On a heavy course that demanded a lot of running and several bike changes, Pim Ronhaar, third in the Waterloo opener of the 2023-2024 UCI Cyclocross World Cup, won his first elite World Cup race in Sunday’s round at Dendermonde, Belgium. After two rounds, Lars van der Haar led Eli Iserbyt at the top of the table by a single point, and van der Haar’s runner-up spot meant that he kept the series lead by nine points. A different rider has won each of the three first World Cup rounds.
It was chaos at the beginning of Lap 1, as a few riders came together after the gun and Britisher Cameron Mason broke spokes in his front wheel. Ryan Kamp was an early leader. The string was still long midway through the circuit. Toon Vandebosch was the sole rider who didn’t pit and this gave him the lead. He had six seconds over Kamp, Iserbyt and Ronhaar at the end of the lap.
On Lap 2, Ronhaar led the chase, with Vandebosch’s teammate Laurens Sweeck on his six. Iserbyt shuffled back a bit. Sweeck made it up to his teammate and the duo finished the circuit six seconds clear of Ronhaar.
Lap 3 of 7 saw Ronhaar, Vandebosch and Sweeck begin to distance the others. Then Vandebosch took his leave again, six seconds clear at the line.
Once more, Vandebosch, Sweeck and Ronhaar came together on Lap 4. Isberty and van der Haar continued their dogged chase behind. Ronhaar bounced away, and the end of the circuit found Vandebosch, Sweeck and van der Haar eight seconds in arrears.
By the penultimate lap, Vandebosch had fallen back. Sweeck and van der Haar trailed Ronhaar by half a minute and the duo had to be wary of Kamp and Iserbyt snatching their podium positions.
Van der Haar having surged clear of Sweeck, Isberyt had designs on Sweeck’s third spot on the bell lap. But Sweeck hung on tenaciously.
The next round is next Sunday in Troyes, France.
2023-2024 UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Round 3, Dendermonde
1) Pim Ronhaar (The Netherlands/Baloise Trek Lions) 56:04
2) Lars van der Haar (The Netherlands/Baloise Trek Lions) +0:16
3) Laurens Sweeck (Belgium/Crelan-Corendon) +0:27