Just six days after taking the biggest win of his career at the opening World Cup round in Valkenburg, Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) repeated the performance in round two in Tabor, Czech Republic. The 22-year-old Dutchman outsprinted German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) for the win after the pair had been off the front since the second lap. Eleven seconds later Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team) prevailed in his two-up sprint against French champion Francis Mourey (FDJ) to claim third place and his second straight World Cup podium of the season.
"I thought [last] Sunday was the best day of my life but today I again felt really good and we could stay away," said Van der Haar. "I've never sprinted against Philipp and he has won sprints on the road but I knew if I could come out of the corner correctly I had a really good shot at winning. But you never know against such a strong rider like Philipp, but now I know."
Having won each of the two World Cup rounds contested thus far Van der Haar leads the overall series with the maximum of 160 points. And as Walsleben and Pauwels have both been on the podium at each World Cup as well, each with a second and third place result, they hold second and third with an equal tally of 135 points.
Van der Haar and Walsleben proved to be the class of the field in Tabor as they rode away from their rivals on the second of nine laps on the fast circuit and at one point enjoyed a lead of 34 seconds over their pursuers. Van der Haar's victory was not without its difficult moments, however, as he made a mental error and crashed on a downhill right turn on the fourth lap. He kept his cool, though, as he extracted his bicycle from the mesh course fencing and began his pursuit of Walsleben.
"I had a problem with my derailleur," said Van der Haar. "The cable was loose, I looked at it but I forgot to turn so I crashed."
Such was their lead that Van der Haar had not been caught by the chasers and at lap's end he trailed the German champion by 13 seconds. Pauwels, who himself had crashed on the previous lap, now chased alone in third at 21 seconds while an eight-man group containing virtually all of the pre-race favourites trailed at 28 seconds.
Not in that chase group, however, was world champion Sven Nys (Crelan KDL) who once again suffered bad luck in his World Cup campaign having crashed on the lap at virtually the same time as Van der Haar. Nys didn't finish last weekend after a broken chain ended his race, which had already been marred by a crash as well. Today the 'cross superstar never bounced back from his crash and ultimately finished a lowly 22nd place at 2:28 off the pace.
Meanwhile, Van der Haar made a remarkable chase to once again join Walsleben at the head of the race at the end of the fifth lap. They led a four-man chase group by 24 seconds containing Pauwels, Mourey, Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus), and Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team) while a second chase group comprised of the Czech Republic's Martin Bina (Kwadro-Stannah), Bart Aernouts (AA Drink) and Corne Van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea) followed eight seconds later.
"It was crazy hard [to catch back] - I knew Philipp was really, really good," said Van der Haar of his pursuit of Walsleben. "I knew if I kept the gas full-open I'd have a chance of coming back because he was tired as well. I had no other option - I had to try."
Mourey attacked his three Belgian companions and at the end of the sixth lap he was alone in third, 14 seconds down on Van der Haar and Walsleben and 14 seconds ahead of the Belgian triumvirate of Vantornout, Albert and Pauwels.
Nys wasn't the only 'cross star who had a disastrous outing the previous weekend as Mourey withdrew after a crash mangled his rear derailleur. Mourey once again had issues this week as his attempt to bridge to Van der Haar and Walsleben came to an ignominious end due to a mechanical early on the seventh lap. The French champion had to get off his bike to fix a dropped chain and then fell while remounting as the three Belgians stormed past.
Mourey caught back on, though, and as the Belgians looked around at each other regarding who was responsible for setting the pace they were joined by Bina, Aernouts and Van Kessel to form a seven-man chase group in arrears of Van der Haar and Walsleben. Such was the degree of their stalemate that at the end of the lap they trailed the two leaders by 34 seconds.
Mourey would surge again on the penultimate lap which shattered the seven-man chase group. Vantornout was able to keep pace with the Frenchman while Pauwels and Bina chased just seconds back. Pauwels would rid himself of the Czech rider and bridge across to Mourey and Vantornout.
Near the end of the lap at the head of the race Van der Haar put in a strong attack as Walsleben went into the second pit for a new bike but by the time the Dutchman reached the finish line to hear the bell for the concluding lap the German champion had regained contact.
The Mourey group followed at 26 seconds while Albert, Bina and Aernouts crossed the finish line five seconds later.
For the bulk of the final lap Van der Haar remained glued to the wheel of Walsleben and for a moment, as their pace slackened, it appeared that the Mourey-led chase may make contact on the quick, grassy parcours. They stepped on the gas enough, however, to ensure their escape would continue through to the finish line. Walsleben led Van der Haar onto the asphalt for the finishing sprint but the punchy Dutchman proved too fast and came around the German for his second World Cup victory in as many outings this season.
Mourey jumped yet again on the final lap with only Pauwels able to respond to his attack. The two remained together until the approach to the second pit where Pauwels surged and got a gap. The Sunweb-Napoleon Games Belgian then kept Mourey at bay onto the asphalt finishing straight to earn the final podium position 11 seconds behind Van der Haar and Walsleben. Mourey followed in fourth at 12 seconds while Vantornout held on for fifth at 24 seconds.
|1||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||1:09:06|
|2||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:00:11|
|4||Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ.fr||0:00:12|
|5||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:00:24|
|6||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||0:00:27|
|7||Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||0:00:31|
|8||Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:00:36|
|9||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:51|
|10||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia-Guerciotti||0:00:55|
|11||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team|
|12||Egoitz Murgoitio (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea||0:01:06|
|13||Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica||0:01:15|
|14||Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:19|
|15||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||0:01:20|
|16||Simon Zahner (Swi) EKZ Racing Team|
|17||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|18||Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles||0:01:37|
|19||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team||0:01:52|
|20||Micki Van Empel (Ned) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||0:01:59|
|21||Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||0:02:06|
|22||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||0:02:28|
|23||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:02:29|
|24||Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team|
|25||Marco Ponta (Ita) Centro Sportivo Esercito||0:02:41|
|26||Michael Wildhaber (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team||0:03:17|
|27||Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:03:26|
|28||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Dukla Trencin Trek||0:03:33|
|29||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:03:46|
|30||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||0:03:58|
|31||Jonathan Page (USA) Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist||0:04:06|
|32||Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze) Johnsons Controls AS Mlada Boleslav||0:04:25|
|33||Jordy Luisman (Ned) Team Lemelerveld||0:04:39|
|34||Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:04:43|
|35||Magnus Darvell (Swe) Team Kalas Merida||0:04:45|
|36||Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange-Losch||0:04:47|
|37||Ondrej Bambula (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor||0:05:04|
|38||Ole Quast (Ger) Stevens Racing Team||0:05:09|
|39||Yannick Mayer (Ger) Team Baier Landshut||0:05:41|
|40||Milan Barenyi (Svk) Trek KCK Oslany||0:06:03|
|41||Kenneth Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Haderslev||0:06:14|
|42||Michal Malik (Cze) KC Kooperativa SG Jablonec||0:06:57|
|43||Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) Johnsons Controls AS Mlada Boleslav||-1lap|
|44||Jan Nesvadba (Cze) Madeta Fitness-Specialized|
|45||Filip Adel (Cze) KC Hlinsko|
|46||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||-2laps|
|47||Marco Bianco (Ita) Carraro Team Trentino|
|48||Joachim Parbo (Den) Hammel CK|
|49||Lukas Batora (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica||-3laps|
|50||Christoph Ambroziak (Ger) Gunsha Racing Team|
|DNF||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|DNF||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|1||Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||160||pts|
|2||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus||135|
|3||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||135|
|4||Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team||115|
|5||Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink Cycling Team||103|
|6||Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||90|
|7||Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink Cycling Team||88|
|8||Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia-Guerciotti||88|
|9||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||86|
|10||Egoitz Murgoitio (Spa) Grupo Hirumet Taldea||76|
|11||Thijs Al (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||75|
|12||Niels Wubben (Ned) Rabobank Development Team||70|
|13||Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||70|
|14||Simon Zahner (Swi) EKZ Racing Team||68|
|15||Martin Haring (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica||67|
|16||Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles||65|
|17||Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ.fr||60|
|18||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC Mountainbike Racing Team||60|
|19||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||58|
|20||Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||57|
|21||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||56|
|22||Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||55|
|23||Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP-Powerplus Cycling Team||53|
|24||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||50|
|25||Marco Ponta (Ita) Centro Sportivo Esercito||50|
|26||Michael Wildhaber (Swi) Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team||48|
|27||Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||46|
|28||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||44|
|29||Patrick van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||42|
|30||Jonathan Page (USA) Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist||41|
|31||Fabien Canal (Fra) ASPTT Definitive Tec||39|
|32||Ondrej Bambula (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor||39|
|33||Arnaud Jouffroy (Fra) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||35|
|34||Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange-Losch||34|
|35||Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze) Johnsons Controls AS Mlada Boleslav||33|
|36||Micki Van Empel (Ned) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||31|
|37||Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan KDL Cycling Team||29|
|38||Magnus Darvell (Swe) Team Kalas Merida||29|
|39||Kenneth Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Haderslev||26|
|40||Robert Gavenda (Svk) Dukla Trencin Trek||23|
|41||Andreas Moser (Swi) Zaunteam Mittelland||22|
|42||Vaclav Metlicka (Svk) Johnsons Controls AS Mlada Boleslav||20|
|43||Jordy Luisman (Ned) Team Lemelerveld||18|
|44||Yannick Mayer (Ger) Team Baier Landshut||18|
|45||Lukas Winterberg (Swi) MG Cycling Team||17|
|46||Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa) MMR Spiuk||15|
|47||Joachim Parbo (Den) Hammel CK||14|
|48||Marco Bianco (Ita) Carraro Team Trentino||14|
|49||Ole Quast (Ger) Stevens Racing Team||13|
|50||Milan Barenyi (Svk) Trek KCK Oslany||11|
|51||Michal Malik (Cze) KC Kooperativa SG Jablonec||9|
|52||Inigo Gomez Elorriaga (Spa) Bioracer-Caravanos Erandio||9|
|53||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn) Colba-Superano Ham||8|
|54||Jan Nesvadba (Cze) Madeta Fitness-Specialized||7|
|55||Jon Gomez Elorriaga (Spa) Bioracer-Caravanos Erandio||7|
|56||Filip Adel (Cze) KC Hlinsko||6|
|57||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah Cycling Team||5|
|58||Angus Edmond (NZl)||5|
|59||Christoph Ambroziak (Ger) Gunsha Racing Team||5|
|60||Lukas Batora (Svk) CK Banska Bystrica||2|