FAYETTEVILLE — It was business as usual for UCI World Cup leaders Eli Iserbyt and Fem van Empel as they both took home thrilling sprint victories in the second race of the series Sunday in Fayetteville’s Centennial Park.
Iserbyt came around Laurens Sweeck on the finish straight to come away with the sprint victory in the elite men’s race.
"I had to really dig really deep," the Belgian Iserbyt said. "I knew that the sprint was a headwind, so I had to be in second position. And I think that was my only chance to win. So for me, it was the perfect sprint."
Van Empel, of the Netherlands, held off former world champion and last year’s UCI World Cup Fayetteville winner Lucinda Brand on the last lap to take the victory in the women’s race.
Iserbyt and Van Empel each won their respective races in the opening round of the World Cup last weekend in Waterloo, Wis.
A large group at the front was splintered when Iserbyt made a move. Teammate Michael Vanthourenhout knew Sweeck was having a strong ride and tried to bridge to Iserbyt to get away. Vanthourenhout couldn’t change Sweeck and the three eventually came together and held on to the front of the race to the finish.
"It was really important to be on the front," Iserbyt said. "We’re always very attentive racing at the front end. We knew it was us against the rest. So we really had to, I think, make the difference in the race. And only […]