Sweeck on a roll with consecutive Cyclocross World Cup wins

The Crelan-Fristads rider wins a five man sprint after a breathless battle in Beekse Bergen

Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads) wins the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Cup race at Beekse Bergen
Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads) wins the 2022 UCI Cyclocross World Cup race at Beekse Bergen
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images )

Laurens Sweeck took a second consecutive World Cup win after an exciting Cyclocross World Cup in the Netherlands on Sunday.

After taking his first top level win just two weeks ago, the 28 year-old was an ever present in a front group which grew and shrunk on every one of the eight laps. With an equally aggressive Michael Vantourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) on the front for the whole final lap, Sweeck was able to sit on, only muscling his way to the front as they reached the tarmac final straight.

There, still on the tops, he opened a savage sprint powering to the line, Vantourenhout finishing a helpless third, and Lars van der Haar (Baloise-Trek Lions) in second.

After the earlier women’s race the new World Cup circuit at Beekse Bergen produced a second great, exciting race which waxed and waned throughout. The whole hour long competition saw the leading riders knocking chunks out of each other, creating a real spectacle in the Dutch sand.

After moving to the Crelan-Frsitads team from Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal for this season Sweeck appears reborn, transforming from almost ran to regular winner, Sunday being his third win in 11 starts during which his lowest placing is fourth.

Former team mate and World Cup leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) managed to finish fifth, enough to retain his overall lead though Sweeck is closing in, the next round at Overijse coming next week.

How it happened 

The fifth round of the UCI’s 14 round World Cup headed to a new race location, this week landing in Beekse Bergen, just south of the  Dutch city of Tilburg. There a large field of 50 men took on eight laps of a mostly flat, sandy and dry circuit, with a pair of barriers and a sand pit coming late in the lap. 

Despite having won three of the four World Cups so far this season, Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) had a terrible start, crossing the line 16th at the end of the first circuit, way behind Lars van der Haar (Baloise-Trek Lions) who led a small group of leaders.

A crash on the second lap handed Van der Haar and Laurens Sweeck (Crelan-Fristads) a decent gap, with recently crowned European champion Michael Vantourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) briefly in no-man’s land before catching them before the end of the lap.

The three leaders began the third loop with an advantage of nine seconds on Toon Vandenbosch (Alpecin-Deceuninck) who in turn led a large group of chasers. All three leaders have recent race wins this season, and Sweek, Van der Haar and Vantourenhout worked well, each taking their turn though with an aggressive Noris Nieuwenhuis closing in.

With Nieuwenhuis a team mate of Van der Haar, Vantourenhout was determined to prevent the Dutchman catching the leading trio, but half way through the fourth lap the leading group was four men.

After a brief lull at the start of the fifth a chasing group was closing in, passing the finish only 13 seconds down, and sensing the threat Nieuwenhuis attacked hard, the other leaders chasing, upping the pace. Nieuwenhuis stayed on the front, pushing the pace throughout the fifth lap, leading through the finish, but despite his efforts the leaders’ advantage was no bigger, Iserbyt stretching a small chasing group. 

With Iserbyt closing inexorably, his team mate Vantourenhout took over the lead, the pace easing slightly allowing the World Cup leader closer, and when Sweeck took a bike change he was able to follow, making a leading group of five. However, no sooner was he in the wheel than he crashed, leaving him dangling off the back.

Armed with a fresh bike Sweeck was in no mood to wait for his former team mate, and once he was on the front lifted the pace significantly, Vantourenhout desperately trying to close the gap, Van der Haar a second or so further back.

As the bell sounded for the final lap Sweeck, Vantourenhout and Van der Haar led Nieuwenhuis and Iserbyt by a paltry four seconds, setting up a stunning finish.

Despite team mate Iserbyt closing in, Vantourenhout kept the pace high, leading throughout the closing circuit but unable to gain any substantial advantage over Sweeck and Van der Haar. As they approached the barriers and sandpit at the back end of the circuit Iserbyt and Nieuwenhuis made contact with the leaders, but where unable to contest for the win.

Result Beekse Bergen UCI Cyclocross World Cup - Elite Men 

1. Larens Sweek (Bel) Crelan-Fristads in 57-36
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise-Trek Lions at same time
3. Michael Vantourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 02 sec
4. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Baloise-Trek Lions at 03 sec
5.  Ei Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 04 sec
6. Felipe Orts (Esp) at 17 sec
7. Niels Vadeputte (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck at 20 sec
8. Ryan Kamp (Ned) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal at 21 sec
9. Vincent Bastens (Bel) at 29 sec
10. Jens Adams (Bel) at 30 sec

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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.