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