Tough win for Van der Haar in Liévin

U23 world champ takes solo victory after crashing twice

World champion Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) lived up to the expectations and won the U23 men's race in Liévin, in the north of France. The Dutch rider overcame two crashes and distanced his last rival, Julian Alaphilippe (France), on the penultimate lap over the fast, frozen course in sunny Liévin.

"What a win," Van der Haar said after a race in which he crashed twice, failed in an attempt to ride away solo but eventually still won convincingly.

Van der Haar crashed a first time right after the first series of corners. There were a lot of tricky spots due to the frozen subsoil. "I was trying to move up to the first spot when I hit the deck," said Van der Haar. "I didn't panic as there were still about twenty guys together up front. No groups rode away. Nobody takes the initiative when I'm gone."

Only one lap later the eventual winner had made it back up to the front. A dozen riders were still in the mix for the win but none was able to create a gap. Halfway into the race, after four laps of racing, Van der Haar attacked and for a moment it seemed the race was over. However, it turned out the U23 world champion was vulnerable, too. A minor crash and some tough sections momentarily made Van der Haar bow and he was joined by Julian Alaphilippe (France).

"I had a gap but it's a very hard course to ride on your own, especially on the start-finish straight. I was glad that I could sit on Philippe's (Alaphilippe) wheel for a lap," Van der Haar said.

After enjoying that ride Van der Haar found his second breath and blasted away while Alaphilippe consolidated his second place. "Every lap I started slipping away a bit more. I'm glad with the outcome of the race and with the progression I made compared to the start of the season," Alaphilippe said.

Behind the two protagonists a large group fought to get the final podium spot. There were accelerations from Italian champion Elia Silvestri and Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) but none succeeded to get rid of the group. In the end it was Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) who sprinted faster than Clément Venturini (France) and Mike Teunissen (The Netherlands).

Recently crowned US U23 champion Zach McDonald expected a lot from this race but that hope was soon ended by a terrible start. "It was a bottleneck at the first corner and I was at the back. I didn't have good legs but it can't have those every weekend. Despite that I'm happy with the race I did with those legs," McDonald told Cyclingnews. McDonald rode outside the top-30 in the first lap but he fought his way back up to 16th, and eventually 18th at the finish line.

The protagonists from the Belgian championships didn't claim their usual top result in Liévin. Both riders crashed hard while riding in the lead group. Belgian champion Wietse Bosmans abandoned while Gianni Vermeersch dropped back to 27th and went on to finish 21st.

Full Results
1 Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) 0:50:30  
2 Julian Alaphilippe (France) 0:00:13  
3 Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) 0:00:29  
4 Clément Venturini (France) 0:00:30  
5 Mike Teunissen (Netherlands) 0:00:31  
6 Stan Godrie (Netherlands) 0:00:34  
7 Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) 0:00:35  
8 Vojtech Nipl (Czech Republic) 0:00:40  
9 Elia Silvestri (Italy) 0:00:45  
10 Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic) 0:00:53  
11 Jan Nesvadba (Czech Republic) 0:00:59  
12 Arnaud Grand (Switzerland) 0:01:01  
13 Tim Merlier (Belgium) 0:01:14  
14 Vinnie Braet (Belgium) 0:01:35  
15 Michiel Van Der Heijden (Netherlands) 0:01:52  
16 David Van Der Poel (Netherlands) 0:02:08  
17 Yannick Mayer (Germany) 0:02:10  
18 Zach McDonald (United States of America) 0:02:15  
19 Luca Braidot (Italy) 0:02:17  
20 Radek Polnicky (Czech Republic) 0:02:18  
21 Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium)    
22 Christophe Balannec (France-B) 0:02:21  
23 Arnaud Jouffroy (France) 0:02:28  
24 Max Walsleben (Germany)    
25 David Menut (France)    
26 Micki Van Empel (Netherlands) 0:02:41  
27 Kévin Bouvard (France) 0:02:46  
28 Tijmen Eising (Netherlands) 0:02:54  
29 Jakub Skala (Czech Republic) 0:03:37  
30 Igor Smarzaro (Italy) 0:03:47  
31 Camille Thominet (France) 0:03:57  
32 Michael Schweizer (Jr) (Germany) 0:04:33  
33 Pierre Garson (France-B) 0:04:34  
34 Maxime Huygens (France-B)   -1lap  
35 Luke Gray (Great Britain)    
36 Élie Regost (France-B)    
37 David Thely (France-B)    
38 Dimitri Corriette (France-B)   -2laps  
39 Michel Vuelta Izquierdo (Spain)    
40 Emil Arvid Olsen (Denmark)   -3laps  
41 David Hidalgo Garcia (Spain)    
42 Kiernan Orange (Canada)   -4laps  
43 Jaroslav Chalas (Slovakia)    
DNF Wietse Bosmans (Belgium)    
DNF Felix Coté Bouvette (Canada)    
DNF Bryan Falaschi (Italy)    
DNF Kenneth Hansen (Denmark)    
DNF Karel Hnik (Czech Republic)    
World Cup standings after 3 rounds
1 Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) 160 pts
2 Mike Teunissen (Netherlands) 115  
3 Stan Godrie (Netherlands) 95  
4 Gert-Jan Bosman (Netherlands) 84  
5 Julian Alaphilippe (France) 81  
6 Elia Silvestri (Italy) 78  
7 Arnaud Grand (Switzerland) 74  
8 Vinnie Braet (Belgium) 71  
9 Wietse Bosmans (Belgium) 70  
10 Micki Van Empel (Netherlands) 64  
11 Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) 55  
12 Vojtech Nipl (Czech Republic) 54  
13 Zach McDonald (United States of America) 49  
14 Jan Nesvadba (Czech Republic) 48  
15 David Van Der Poel (Netherlands) 47  
16 Tim Merlier (Belgium) 44  
17 Michiel Van Der Heijden (Netherlands) 42  
18 Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium) 41  
19 Clément Venturini (France) 40  
20 Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic) 40  
21 Karel Hnik (Czech Republic) 37  
22 Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) 34  
23 Arnaud Jouffroy (France) 30  
24 Yannick Mayer (Germany) 25  
25 Jens Adams (Belgium) 24  
26 Luca Braidot (Italy) 22  
27 Tijmen Eising (Netherlands) 20  
28 Marek Konwa (Poland) 19  
29 Radek Polnicky (Czech Republic) 18  
30 Diether Sweeck (Belgium) 16  
31 Kenneth Hansen (Denmark) 15  
32 Stef Boden (Belgium) 12  
33 Lubomir Petrus (Czech Republic) 12  
34 Igor Smarzaro (Italy) 10  
35 Christophe Balannec (France) 9  
36 Floris De Tier (Belgium) 9  
37 Max Walsleben (Germany) 7  
38 Lars Forster (Switzerland) 7  
39 David Menut (France) 6  
40 Sven Beelen (Belgium) 6  
41 Jakub Skala (Czech Republic) 6  
42 Michael Boros (Czech Republic) 5  
43 Kévin Bouvard (France) 4  
44 Bryan Falaschi (Italy) 3  
45 Michael Schweizer (Jr) (Germany) 2  
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