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Up against the reigning cyclocross world champion Wout Van Aert, Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea) didn’t bat an eye Sunday and won his first World Cup in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Laurens Sweeck (PauwelsSauzen-VGS) was third on the dry course that snaked around the Trek Bicycles headquarters.
Van Aert took the holeshot off the line, but Sweeck quickly went to the front of the race — the Belgian typically likes to start aggressively.
Sweeck led a large group of favorites into the second of nine laps. Aerts and Van Aert were tucked in behind.
The early laps were characterized by a couple notable mishaps in the lead group. First, Sweeck had a bobble at the barriers. Then, Dan Soete crashed, taking out Ben Hermans. This left just Aerts and Van Aert in the lead.
With three to go, Sweeck had recovered and was chasing alone in third, about 11 seconds behind the duo.
On that same lap, Aerts made his move to drop Van Aert. The 24-year-old was particularly strong on the climbs and with two laps to go, he was 11 seconds up.
Hearing the bell for the final lap, Aerts had 15 seconds in hand, and it would be enough.
Van Aert rode in alone to second. Sweeck was third.
The American riders did not have a strong showing on home turf. Kerry Werner (Kona) was the top U.S. finisher in 22nd.
The cyclocross World Cup continues Saturday at Jingle Cross in Iowa City.