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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.
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