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Shirin van Anrooij and Tom Pidcock win 2022 Hexia Cross Gullegem

Top racers keep skills and fitness sharp in muddy Belgian 'cross race.

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Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Baloise Lions) soloed to victory at the 2022 Hexia Cross Gullegem, in rainy and muddy conditions, and without fans lining the course.

While not part of a cup or series race, the Belgian cyclocross race was another opportunity for riders to sharpen skills, and test fitness with just a few days more than three weeks remaining until the world championships.

The European U23 champion who is ranked seventh in UCI points fended off teenager Zoe Bäckstedt (Tormans-ACROG) early on and escaped the fields with Maghalie Rochette (Specialized-Feedback Sports).

Into lap 2, van Anrooij had established a gap of nearly 20 seconds to Rochette, and 30 seconds to Bäckstedt.

Van Anrooij padded her lead into the third of five laps and maintained a margin of 45 seconds while behind her, Bäckstedt had closed the gap to Rochette.

Through the sandpit for the third time, Bäckstedt stayed on her bike while Rochette again dismounted in the technical section.

The young British rider, daughter of 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus, tried to gap Rochette out of the pits and got nearly a minute advantage in the fourth lap.

But with just more than a lap remaining, Rochette took advantage of a technical error made by Bäckstedt and closed the gap, while van Anrooij remained off the front of the race.

As Bäckstedt struggled and appeared gassed, Rochette distanced herself by just five seconds into the final lap.

Van Anrooij stayed away and took her third elite ‘cross win of the season.

Tom Pidcock takes second win in three days

Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) rode to a second win in three days at the 2022 Hexia Cross Gullegem.

The 22-year-old British talent held Joran Wyseure (Tormans-Circus Cyclocross Team) and Quinten Hermans (Tormans-Circus Cyclocross Team) in slippery conditions.

Into the second lap Pidcock assumed the lead from Felipe Orts (Teika-BH-GSport) who overtook Anton Ferdinande (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) out of the pits.

Hermans — who won the Fayetteville World Cup — would not relent and re-established contact with Pidcock on the second lap, and then moved into the leading position into the third lap.

Orts trailed by 10 seconds when Pidcock flatted.

The British rider pitted and fumbled a bike exchange, but remained calm, and reconnected with Hermans later in the third lap.

Hermans and Pidcock stayed at the front of the race through the fourth lap.

Pidcock pressured Hermans and regained the race lead when it was Hermans’ turn for a flat as they rode into the fifth of six laps.

The Ineos rider rode strong and steady through sand and mud, under gradually clearing skies to take another win, while behind him Joran Wyseure passed the fading Hermans.

2022 Hexia Cyclocross Gullegem elite men’s results

  1. Tom Pidcock (Ineos-Grenadiers), 58:29
  2. Joran Wyseure (Tormans-Circus Cyclocross Team), at :16
  3. Quinten Hermans (Tormans-Circus Cyclocross Team), at :20
  4. Felipe Lloret (Spain), at :30
  5. Tom Meeusen (Team Deschacht – Group Hens – Maes Containers) at :47