Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) recovered from a crash and a shoe change to overhaul Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) and mark the new year with another victory at GP Sven Nys in Belgium.
The Belgian was forced to play catch-up after slipping on a muddy descent, dropping him to third as Pidcock and Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal) raced clear.
After being forced into an unscheduled change of footwear, the 27-year-old set about catching first Iserbyt and then Pidcock.
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Pidcock stayed within touching distance on the final circuit, waiting to pounce on another mistake from his rival, but he ultimately had to settle for second.
It was Van Aert’s seventh straight win of a flawless cyclo-cross campaign.
"Maybe I got into unnecessary trouble," Van Aert said.
"In retrospect it's nice that it was so exciting, but I didn't see it that way during the race. That problem with my shoe made it extra difficult for me."
Toon Aerts (Trek-Baloise Lions) finished fifth to keep his overall lead in the X2O Trofee series.

Brand helmet painted with 'Amy' as she wins GP Sven Nys

Lucinda Brand (Baloise Trek Lions) held off Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Alpecin-Fenix) to win the women’s race by four seconds.
The Dutchwoman raced with ‘Amy’ painted on her helmet in support of compatriot Amy Pieters, who was put in an induced coma after a fall in training last week.
Brand dedicated her victory to Pieters in an emotional interview.
The season continues on Sunday with the latest World Cup round in Hulst, Netherlands.
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