Belgium’s Laurens Sweeck, competing on his fi’zi:k saddle and racing for Era Real Estate – Circus, continued his rich vein of form with a third-place finish at Sunday’s third round of the DVV Trophy in Hamme, Belgium. The result followed a fine sixth on Saturday at the fifth round of the Telenet UCI World Cup in Zeven, northern Germany.

Starting with that performance in Zeven, the 22-year-old cyclocross star coped admirably with conditions that hovered around the freezing mark to finish sixth behind winner Mathieu Van der Poel. He also coped with a back issue that left his participation in Hamme in doubt.

‘The winding course wasn’t ideal for my back,’ Sweeck said after the race. ‘I’m hoping that after a little stretching, it’ll be okay for Sunday’s race.’

The fi’zi:k rider proved to more than ‘okay’ in Hamme, unleashing the strongest start of a competitive field. Sweeck told the press that this tactic was an attempt to unsettle Van der Poel. Van der Poel, however, is near unbeatable at the moment and soon snuffed out Sweeck’s brave bid for victory.

Sweeck continued to chase the soloing Van der Poel, working in sync with former world champion Wout Van Aert. The two pursued Van de Poel, though also had half an eye on Kevin Pauwels in fourth. They fended off Pauwels’ advances but the effort took its toll on Sweeck who lost out to Van Aert in the sprint for second.

‘At the end I was no match for Wout, but I am quite happy with third place,’ Sweeck commented post-race.

Fellow fi’zi:k-riding racer Ellen Noble also racked up a duo of strong results, finishing 10th and 15th in Zeven and Hamme, respectively.