Tom Pidcock’s electrifying campaign continued as he racked up his third UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup triumph in a row.
The 19-year-old heads into Christmas full of festive cheer after once again topping the podium in the men’s Under-23 race in Namur, Belgium.
The former junior World and European champion followed up his successes in Tabor and Koksijde by ruling the roost, Pidcock dominating proceedings to keep himself top of the standings.
The Yorkshireman conquered the undulating Belgian terrain and came home in 46:26, 42 seconds clear of Italian’s Jakob Dorigoni, with home rider Eli Iserbyt third.
He heads into round five in Heusden-Zolder 40 points clear at the top of the standings, with France’s Antoine Benoist, who was fourth in Namur, his nearest challenger.
Fellow Brit Ben Turner was ninth in 48:05 while Daniel Tulett (48:41) earned a 12th-place finish.
Nikki stands out from the crowd
Despite a bumper field of 84 cyclists – the largest-ever in a women’s World Cup race – the cream rose to the top, with Nikki Brammeier following up her podium finish last time out with fourth place.
The 31-year-old, who rode for Great Britain at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, returned to cyclo-cross full time this year and looks to be in fine fettle, having also finished second in Koksijde last month, Brammeier fired herself into the mix at the sharp end of proceedings, with strong descent work the backbone of her charge.
In the end, she came home in 46:15 and was only narrowly edged off the rostrum as Dutch riders pulled off a one-two-three finish, Lucinda Brand (45:50), Marianne Vos (46:07) and Annemarie Worst (46:12) filling the podium.
Anna Kay (49:04) and Harriet Harnden (49:14) were 25th and 26th respectively, with Bethany Crumpton also finishing inside the top 30.
It’s silver service for Tulett
Elsewhere, Ben Tulett earned his first points of the season with a superb second-placed finish in the morning’s junior men’s race.
The 17-year-old was unable to prevent Belgian Ryan Cortjens (40.55) from triumphing on home soil but he kept the pressure on throughout, finishing 36 seconds off the lead.
However, the impressive Tulett also crossed the line well clear of third-placed Witse Meeussen, enjoying a cushion of 32 seconds as he clinched a well-deserved spot on the podium.
Lewis Askey finished tenth on the leaderboard, clocking in at 43:20.