Wout van Aert wins Belgian ’cross championship

Van Aert notches his fifth national title, and hangs up the ’cross bike for the season despite flying form.

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It wasn’t exactly a surprise victory.

Wout van Aert wrapped up his short but nearly undefeated cyclocross season Sunday by winning the Belgian national cyclocross championships.

Wearing bib number 1, van Aert stormed to victory on the sandy, beachside Middelkerke course, easily riding away from the field.

Starting on the front row, Van Aert got the holeshot into the first punchy climb, and was never overtaken. Once clear, he kept putting time on his compatriots.

Wout Van Aert races along the beach in Middelkerke en route to his fifth national title. (Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) was second, more than a minute back, and  Quinten Hermans (Tormans) was third.

This cyclocross season, van Aert started 10 races. He won nine of them.

Despite his obvious form, van Aert is going to skip the world championships later this month in Arkansas. Although he could very likely win what would be his fourth world ’cross title, van Aert has decided to instead focus on preparation for the upcoming road season in Europe.

Men’s Belgian cyclocross national championship

1. Wout van Aert, 58:11
2. Laurens Sweeck at 1:16
3. Quinten Hermans at 1:27
4. Jens Adams at 1:34
5. Gianni Vermeersch at 1:40

Despite being a clear favorite for the world championships, van Aert is now riding off into the sunset to prepare for the upcoming road season. (Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)