By Brecht Decaluwé in Hoogerheide, Netherlands
Philipp Walsleben and Christoph Pfingsten made history in Hoogerheide by taking first and second places for Germany in the Under 23 category of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands. With an aggressive race, Walsleben became the first Under 23 cyclo-cross World Championship gold medal winner from Germany, which placed three riders in the top five.
Cyclo-cross specialist Walsleben rode aggressively and escaped for the duration of the event. Twenty seconds behind him compatriot Christoph Pfingsten joined the party by sprinting past Poland's Pawel Szczepaniak for the silver medal. Another German, Sascha Weber, surely would have preferred to join his mates on the podium, but he still finished an impressive fifth place.
Pre-race favorite Walsleben was pleased with his win even though it didn't come as a huge surprise. He has won everything there is to win in his category and will turn professional as a member of the same team as Niels Albert. "I missed on winning only three races in the U23 category," Walsleben said, reflecting on his results.
Walsleben had attacked with the intention of shrinking the lead group. "I only realized that my gap was big enough for the win during the last two laps because my attack originally was meant to make the [lead] group smaller. It was hard to get away with the wind, but once I had the gap, the wind was probably my advantage. Probably nobody wanted to ride into the wind so that they would maintain their own chances."