The 2021-22 cyclocross season got off to a fast and furious start in Waterloo, Wisconsin on Sunday.
Earlier in the week, rain had softened things up, but sunny skies on Friday and late in the day Saturday made for fast racing on Sunday. And the Dutch women took advantage of the fast conditions and dominated the podium.
While the women were on the podium, clouds thickened overhead as the men lined up. And as soon as the men’s race started, so did the rain.
Slippery conditions made for a few crashes on the pavement in the opening two laps. By the end of the second lap, most of the field was strung out and chasing Eli Iserbyt, who went on to win by a healthy margin.
There were several jumbotrons on the course where fans could watch the action from nearly every vantage point.
The “Secret Bar” on the back side of the course, serving local Third Space brew, was a terribly kept secret.
Belgian cycling fans in Wisconsin.
U.S. national champion Clara Honsinger preparing for her race.
Annemarie Worst cresting a rise on the back half of the course.
Marianne Vos leading Lucinda Brand early in the race.
Denise Betsema keeping contact with the front of the race.
Vos on the move.
Honsinger representing the United Stages in her national champion’s kit.
Lucinda Brand was easy to spot in the rainbow stripes of the world champion.
Canadian Maghalie Rochette wearing the colors of the Pan American champion.
Honsinger shouldered her bike for a run-up.
Vos won the first World Cup of the season. She was just eight days out of her final road race of the year — the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes — where she took second.
The women’s podium was an all-Dutch affair of (left to right): Lucinda Brand, Marianne Vos, and Denise Betsema.
The men’s race got underway, under cloudy skies which quickly opened up to a steady, light rain.
Once the course was soft, the mud made for slippery conditions.
Belgian Toon Aerts opened his 2021 season in the United States.
Eli Iserbyt demonstrating how to bunny hop the barriers.
Iserbyt had gained a sizeable lead with two laps to go. All he had to do was ride smooth and smart to defend a nearly 30-second advantage on his closest rival – his teammate Michael Vanthourenhout.
U.S. national champ Gage Hecht showing the signs of slipping on the muddy course.
Iserbyt rode off the front of the race and into the World Cup lead.
The 2021 UCI Cyclocross World Cup Waterloo men’s podium of (left to right):, Michael Vanthourenhout, Eli Iserbyt, and Quinten Hermans.
Iserbyt was presented with a Wisconsin hockey jersey.