After winning the European championships and the World Cup, Lars van der Haar of the Netherlands completed a perfect season by becoming the new Under 23 men’s world champion.
Van der Haar convincingly won with a long sprint to emerge from a 10-man lead group that was still together on the final lap of the race in Sankt-Wendel, Germany. Mike Teunissen (The Netherlands) held off Karel Hnik (Czech Republic) for second place on the athletics track sprint finish.
“I knew that the win was mine when I passed Mike. With him between me and the rest of the group I could pull it off because I knew that I'm a fast sprinter. The last 75 metres I was really tired because I started my attack at 700 metres from the finish. I told myself 'go go go' to reach the finish and I made it,” Van der Haar said.
In contrast to the Junior Men's race held on Saturday morning, the frozen course had become muddier and less slippery on Saturday afternoon. That meant the selection was made at the back of the lead group rather than by crashes. On the athletics track the speed dropped in front and about 15 to 20 riders often came back together.
“Every lap riders returned from behind on the track and it cost a lot of energy to keep my position in the top-three,” Van der Haar explained.
Summerhill finishes 13th after puncture
Early on Van der Haar and Arnaud Grand (Switzerland) took the initiative in the 50-minute long race. When the speed dropped back at the end of the first lap, riders like Danny Summerhill (USA) moved up in the group. Though the US champion looked comfortable in the lead group, he suddenly lost ground on the leaders and ended up riding in 27th place for a time. “I flatted right when I rode next to the pit. Before that I thought – just like in Hooglede – that my day had come,” Summerhill said. He moved up to finish 13th.
Arnaud Grand (Switzerland) crashed at the front on a fast right-hand corner that followed a steep drop. He wasn't the only rider that struggled with the technical course. But despite the multiple crashes on the muddy course with a frozen subsoil, 20 riders were more or less still together after three laps.
An acceleration from Matthieu Boulo (France) at the end of the fifth lap created damage at the back of the lead group. Joeri Adams (Belgium) got stuck in the wiring at a slippery off-camber rise and the Belgian pre-race co-favourite was suddenly out of the title race.
Twelve riders formed the selection until an acceleration from Teunissen. Surprisingly it was compatriot Van der Haar who didn't allow him any distance. Ten riders then kept their composure on the demanding course until the last lap, all knowing that one of them would become world champion.
Once again it was Teunissen who had fired off a good acceleration. At one moment Teunissen had seven seconds on the rest of the group but this time it was Tijmen Eising (The Netherlands) who neutralized his compatriot's run for glory. “I don't know why he did that and I don't care. We ride our own race,” Teunissen said.
Eising explained he felt he was the strongest man in the race and didn't want to lose the race like that. “I had to do it, though my legs hurt as hell at that moment,” Eising said.
When two dogs fight over a bone, a third one often carries it away. In this case it was Van der Haar who profited when Teunissen was caught. The little Dutchman started a long sprint and hit the athletics track with a gap of a few metres over Teunissen and Hnik.
The latter had been invisible in the group all race long but suddenly found himself in the run for the medals. “Before the last downhill I fought to get the best position. I was third but couldn't move further up while descending. After the downhill, I knew winning was no longer possible, so I sprinted for second place,” Hnik said.
While Van der Haar captured the title Teunissen managed to hold off his Czech rival to take the silver. Despite riding an aggressive race Boulo, runner-up in the World Cup behind Van der Haar, finished just off the podium in fourth place. Eising and Wietse Bosmans (Belgium) were the last riders of the lead group to cross the line in fifth and sixth place.
The world cyclo-cross championships races continue on Sunday morning with the Women's race in which US-champion Katie Compton is the top favorite. The Elite Men race on Sunday afternoon which concludes the cyclo-cross action in Sankt-Wendel.
|1||Lars Van Der Haar (Netherlands)||0:52:11|
|2||Mike Teunissen (Netherlands)||0:00:01|
|3||Karel Hnik (Czech Republic)|
|4||Matthieu Boulo (France)||0:00:03|
|5||Tijmen Eising (Netherlands)||0:00:04|
|6||Wietse Bosmans (Belgium)||0:00:07|
|7||Valentin Scherz (Switzerland)||0:00:13|
|8||Joeri Adams (Belgium)||0:00:24|
|9||Jimmy Turgis (France)|
|10||Vincent Baestaens (Belgium)||0:00:30|
|11||Marcel Meisen (Germany)||0:00:36|
|12||Irwin Gras (France)||0:00:39|
|13||Daniel Summerhill (USA)||0:00:42|
|14||Vinnie Braet (Belgium)||0:00:58|
|15||Marek Konwa (Poland)||0:01:01|
|16||Twan Van Den Brand (Netherlands)|
|17||Kenneth Hansen (Denmark)||0:01:24|
|18||Mirko Tabacchi (Italy)|
|19||Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic)||0:01:34|
|20||Jim Aernouts (Belgium)||0:01:54|
|21||Michael Boros (Czech Republic)||0:02:13|
|22||Jon Ander Insausti Irastorza (Spain)||0:02:16|
|23||Zach Mcdonald (USA)||0:02:21|
|24||Ole Quast (Germany)||0:02:35|
|25||Michael Winterberg (Switzerland)||0:02:37|
|26||Kenta Gallagher (Great Britain)||0:02:40|
|27||Arnaud Grand (Switzerland)||0:03:15|
|28||Max Walsleben (Germany)||0:03:28|
|29||Micki Van Empel (Netherlands)||0:03:35|
|30||Michael Schweizer (Germany)||0:04:14|
|31||Vincent Dias Dos Santos (Luxembourg)||0:04:17|
|32||Jan Nesvadba (Czech Republic)||0:04:18|
|33||Matteo Trentin (Italy)||0:04:20|
|34||Alexander Gehbauer (Australia)||0:05:03|
|35||Jesper Dahlström (Sweden)||0:05:05|
|36||Cody Kaiser (USA)|
|37||Lubomir Petrus (Czech Republic)||0:05:22|
|38||Daniel Ruiz Etxeandia (Spain)||0:05:36|
|39||Jerome Townsend (USA)||0:05:46|
|40||Lukas Müller (Switzerland)|
|41||Eduard Michael Grosu (Romania)|
|42||Pit Schlechter (Luxembourg)|
|43||Luke Gray (Great Britain)|
|44||Wojciech Herba (Poland)|
|45||Fabian Danner (Germany)|
|46||Elia Silvestri (Italy)|
|47||Bartosz Pilis (Poland)|