Toon Aerts third in Koksijde, maintains World Cup lead

Richards and Nagengast also podium in another successful World Cup for Trek athletes

Toon Aerts battled the sand to finish third in the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Koksijde, Belgium and maintained his leader’s jersey after five races.

Aerts won the opening World Cup races in Wisconsin and Iowa, USA, before returning to Europe and adding a third and fourth place in the following rounds.  Sunday’s podium – his fourth – was enough to keep him first overall with four rounds remaining.

I'm improving in every aspect of cyclocross. The feeling in the sand was the best in my career so far! Another World Cup podium and [keeping] the leader's jersey give me extra motivation for the training camp in the next two weeks.

- Toon Aerts

Arriving behind Aerts, Telenet Fidea teammate Lars van der Haar had another strong outing. He held tight to European Champion and winner of the past three World Cups, Mathieu van der Poel, for most of the first lap before backing off to his own pace and eventually finishing in fourth place.

The sand was difficult to ride through which made the course brutally hard! I really liked it and tried to follow van der Poel. However, I couldn’t follow him, and I had to race my own pace which resulted in a 4th place, although I’m very satisfied with this result! I am going with a good feeling to Spain to get ready for the second half of the season! Keep on pushing!

- Lars van der Haar

Also finishing in the top five was Corne van Kessel, giving the Telenet Fidea Lions 3rd, 4th and 5th places for the second straight World Cup.

In the Elite women/U23 combined race, Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing) and Fleur Nagengast (Telenet Fidea Lions) finished 9th and 10th respectively – 2nd and 3rd in the U23 – which also kept Richards in the U23 leader’s jersey.

For my first time on sand, I really wasn’t expecting anything special, just to enjoy racing at another World Cup and being amongst the atmosphere with Trek. My main aim was to try not to panic if I crashed and to keep calm and collected, which is something I’m not too good at. I was super pleased to retain the jersey, and I’m excited for the upcoming World Cups!

- Evie Richards

It was the first top-10 finish in a World Cup for Fleur Nagengast, who pumped her fist as she crossed the line.

Koksijde is one of my favorite courses. The conditions were very hard, so to have my first overall 10th in a World Cup here makes me extremely happy!!

Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions) also had a notable result, arriving at the finish with Richards to finish in the same time for 8th place.