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Aerts dominant at Cyclocross Leuven

Telenet-Fidea put on a show at Sunday’s Cyclocross Leuven, taking a clear win and runner-up honors on a mostly dry but tricky course and leaving the rest of the field vying for a distant third. Toon Aerts powered off the front in the second lap and held out all the way to the final crossing of the line to take the win—despite hitting the deck hard in his last lap. His teammate Tom Meeusen left a group of chasers behind midway through the race and rode on to second place, with Vincent Baestaens (BKCP-Corendon) only crossing the line for third over a minute behind.

Radomir Simunek (ERA Real Estate-Murprotec) led a select group through much of the first lap. Aerts, Julien Taramarcaz (ERA Real Estate-Murprotec), Eli Iserbyt (Telenet-Fidea), and Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) rode close behind, though Nys lost some ground after a collision with Iserbyt on the ascent out of a ditch left him with a damaged fork.

As Meeusen and a few other riders caught up with the lead group at the end of the first lap, Aerts took off and didn’t look back. He padded his advantage with each successive trip around the circuit, while a pack of chasers stayed mostly together until Nys tried to bridge the gap. He was reeled in before long by Meeusen, who then continued on solo as Nys faded quickly.

From there on out it was all Telenet-Fidea at the front of the race, with the rest of the field left vying for third—though for a brief moment Aerts did find himself in danger. While trying to navigate a steep descent in the final lap, the 22-year-old Belgian lost control and came off his bike in an awkward crash. But he was back in the saddle in just a few seconds, and apparently uninjured, as he was able to get back up to speed quickly.

Aerts reached the finish with plenty of time to spare over Meeusen, who was himself the only visible rider on a long finishing straight when he crossed the line. When the pursuers did finally come into view, Baestaens outsprinted Taramarcaz and Iserbyt to take third on the day. Nys crossed the line behind the trio for sixth place.