"It was a battle for the corners, braking late to stay just ahead, and sometimes anchoring to create a gap. On Saturday in Kortrijk, Lars van der Haar engaged in an exciting duel with Michael Vanthourenhout and Eli Iserbyt, both teammates at Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal. Afterward IDLProCycling.com confronted winner Iserbyt and second-placed Van der Haar about exchanged elbow touches.
Van der Haar bore the brunt of it on Saturday. Representing Baloise Trek Lions, the Dutchman had no teammates at the start and had to compete against Iserbyt and Vanthourenhout. It was at times intense, with Van der Haar occasionally being blocked to allow the Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal riders to break away. "This also happens in our team, so I'm not going to make an issue of it. Naturally, I would have preferred a different outcome for myself because I wanted to win. But that's part of cyclocross; it comes with the territory," Van der Haar explained in the initial flash interview.
In a subsequent conversation with this website, he elaborated, "It is frustrating, especially when both of them are strong. It ultimately impacts the final lap, where you may not be able to showcase your abilities fully and achieve the desired result," said the Dutch champion. "But what can you say about it? Nothing major happened; I didn't collide with the barriers, and I simply didn't always find it easy to get through myself. At Baloise Trek Lions, we do the same thing in reverse. If I'm in a leading position, I would also appreciate it if a teammate of mine did something similar. It is what it is."
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Iserbyt glad that roles were reversed for once
That's when Iserbyt comes into play. The Belgian emerged as the ultimate winner, although it wasn't necessarily a result of tactical maneuvers, but simply due to a crash by Vanthourenhout. "We were in a numerical advantage at one point, as I've already been on the other side of it this season,' the Belgian chuckled. 'We handled it professionally. It was on the edge, but always with respect for each other. It's very satisfying when it plays out that way. Especially today, it was something that could happen."