By Brecht Decaluwé in Hoogerheide
Dutch ace Lars Boom won the final rehearsal for next week's world championships and turned himself into a big favourite for the title in Treviso, Italy. On the swampy course which will be used for the 2009 World Championships, he overpowered the opposition and won with more than thirty seconds advantage over Bart Wellens.
"I always tried to stay within the top three so I could keep an overview," Boom said of his tactics in Hoogerheide. "With this win my pre-season goals are already accomplished and at the worlds I will be satisfied with a top five result," the Dutch World Championship hopeful said.
During the first half of the race the formation of the leading group changed routinely, but the one constant member was Boom who was marking every attack. Halfway through the race Boom also featured in a three-man lead group, together with world champion Erwin Vervecken and Bart Wellens.
With three laps to go Boom got rid of his two companions and powered to his third World Cup victory of the season. When asked about the moment where world champion Vervecken bowed his head and got blown off Boom's wheel, the youngster smiled, "I didn't attack today, I just accelerated a little when Vervecken told me he couldn't take a pull." It was the moment Boom his last rival in the race behind.
Kupfernagel claims convincing win
Last week's World Cup race in Liévin already showed that Hanka Kupfernagel will be a favourite for a fourth cyclo-cross world title next weekend, and today she stepped more fully into that role of major favourite by claiming her second consecutive World Cup victory.
"This morning I was still feeling nervous, but I was looking forward to the competition," Kupfernagel said that she wasn't too convinced that she could do well in The Netherlands. "Today I feel that everything we worked for in the past few weeks is starting to deliver."
Delivering is the right word, but it doesn't describe how much the German woman has been dominating the last couple of races. In Hoogerheide she overpowered the other women and put a minute on runner-up Maryline Salvetat. "I'm very strong right now," Kupfernagel said. "I could win, even though I don't like this course and I'm not looking forward to seeing the World Championships on this course next year," said Kupfernagel, not hiding her distaste.