Van der Haar escapes to win tactical Hoogerheide World Cup

Telenet-Fidea sweep final World Cup podium

One week ahead of the Bieles 2017 UCI World championships, the win at the final Telenet UCI World Cup round of the season was for Lars van der Haar (Telenet Fidea Lions). The 25-year-old Dutch rider completed a long solo and won ahead of teammates Tom Meeusen and Corné van Kessel.

Last week, world champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) secured the overall win in the World Cup and he opted out of the World Cup final. His arch rival, Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon), had an off day in the race organised by his father Adrie.

For Van der Haar, the win in Hoogerheide came as quite a surprise, knowing he was sidelined by two injuries this season. "Very unexpected," Van der Haar said in the post-race flash interview with Sporza. "It was special. The last lap I couldn't stop smiling."

The fast, frozen course in chilly Hoogerheide provided for a very different race compared to last year's muddy edition that was won by Mathieu van der Poel. This time around, it was very hard to create gaps. In the absence of Wout Van Aert, Van der Poel took a good start and he seemed in total control of affairs during the opening lap.

In the long line behind Van der Poel, there was a problem for Spanish champion Ismail Esteban Aguando which caused a crash for Pan-American champion Stephen Hyde (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and blocked the path of Van der Haar. The latter ended up riding outside the top 20 and a good result seemed impossible.

The race dynamic turned around when Van der Poel sat up and allowed other riders to take the initiative. Van der Haar started to believe in his chances and rode the fastest second lap of the pace, moving back into the top 10. During the fourth of ten laps, there were still 26 riders riding within ten seconds of each other.

Suddenly, Van der Poel appeared back in front. He briefly got away with French champion Clément Venturini (Cofidis). Van der Haar reacted fiercely and quickly closed the gap on the two leaders at the beginning of the fifth lap. Tom Meeusen bridged up as well and ten other riders were marking his wheel.

Van der Haar took over the command from Van der Poel, who sat up and blocked the other riders on the singletrack path through the forest. Once out of the forest, Van der Haar had a nice gap. His Telenet Fidea Lion teammates were also present in front, causing the pace to drop completely.

Half a lap later, halfway through the race, Van der Haar had a lead of 20 seconds on the first chasers. "I was struggling in the beginning but then I came back in the race. Van der Poel just did a hard lap. I thought, I'll go in the front and help him, and go on. I think, at that Van der Poel thought, this is ok, let him go. Behind him, were some teammates of mine. It gave me a big gap in a short period of time. Then I was alone," Van der Haar said.

While Van der Haar started clocking steady lap times in front, there was no organised chase behind him. Van der Poel surely didn't mind having a compatriot in front and, intentional or not, he faded further back in the group of 23 riders that rode more or less together.

"It wasn't what I expected. I hoped to go better," Van der Poel said. "It's no drama as next week is what matters most. I'm a bit disappointed but prefer it today over next week. After my first acceleration I realised that there was no punch on my move. I started becoming worse and worse. My legs were really feeling the fatigue.

"I tried to finish the race as good as possible but after a while nothing was going right. Technically it wasn't good either. On a bad day, everything goes bad. The last two years I was always very good here and the week afterwards it was slightly less good. Hopefully it'll be the other way around this time."

During the closing laps, Clément Venturini, Corné van Kessel and Tim Merlier (Crelan-Charles) distanced the rest of the group. Meeusen brought everybody back during the eighth lap. When hitting the penultimate lap, 11 riders were left in contention for the final podium spots, trailing leader Van der Haar by nearly a minute.

The same riders hit the final lap with sprinter Merlier and Meeusen leading the way. Merlier slipped away in the forest, blocking the path of Gianni Meersman (Steylaerts-Verona), and both riders lost out on their podium chances. Meeusen, Van Kessel, Venturini and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) survived in front.

Van Kessel and Meeusen passed Venturini and left him behind before hitting the finishing straight. Meeusen then beat Van Kessel in the sprint for second place. Venturini concluded a strong race in fourth place, holding off Kevin Pauwels in the sprint for fourth place. Merlier was fifth ahead of Vermeersch and strong-finishing German champion Marcel Meisen (Steylaerts-Verona). Mathieu van der Poel finished on a distant 24th place at 2:14, just ahead of his brother David.

Van der Haar acknowledged both his trade teammates and his national team in his post-race interview. "The support of my teammates was really nice and it offered me a big gap. Still, it was difficult to hold onto my lead as it was such a fast course. It was cool to see that my teammates also got onto the podium.

"Worlds? I'm good but it'll be a completely different race. Mathieu? Don't worry. He trained hard. I believe in Mathieu. We all can," Van der Haar said.

Van Aert had already clinched the UCI World Cup series with 530 points. Pauwels held onto second at 474 ahead of Tom Meeusen (447). Laurens Sweeck (ERA Real Estate-Circus) was absent due to illness and dropped a spot to fifth place in favour of Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games), who finished 23rd in Hoogerheide. Van Kessel is the first non-Belgian rider in sixth place with 345 points. Van der Poel missed the two first rounds of the World Cup and finishes in eighth place. European champion Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) is out injured after last week's hard crash in Fiuggi. He drops from sixth to ninth place. 

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions1:03:32 
2Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions0:00:44 
3Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions0:00:45 
4Clement Venturini (Fra) Cofidis0:00:47 
5Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games  
6Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Charlesteam0:00:51 
7Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Team Steylaerts0:00:53 
8Marcel Meisen (Ger) Steylaerts-Verona0:00:54 
9Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions  
10Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Beobank-Corendon  
11Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team0:00:55 
12Michael Boros (Cze) ERA-Circus0:00:56 
13Stan Godrie (Ned) Crelan-Charlesteam0:00:57 
14Steve Chainel (Fra)0:00:58 
15Simon Zahner (Swi)0:00:59 
16Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Beobank-Corendon0:01:01 
17Marek Konwa (Pol)0:01:02 
18Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions0:01:09 
19Diether Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus0:01:21 
20Jan Nesvadba (Cze)0:01:31 
21Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games0:01:43 
22Tomas Paprstka (Cze)0:01:51 
23Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games0:02:12 
24Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon0:02:14 
25David Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon0:02:19 
26Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Destil - Jo Piels Cycling Team  
27Stephen Hyde (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com  
28Matthieu Boulo (Fra)0:02:20 
29Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games0:02:22 
30Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa)0:02:24 
31Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned)0:02:25 
32Kerry Werner (USA) Kona Endurance Team0:02:28 
33Anthonin Didier (Fra)  
34Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles0:02:29 
35Nicolas Samparisi (Ita)  
36Ismael Esteban Aguando (Spa)0:02:31 
37Lorenzo Samparisi (Ita)0:02:35 
38Alois Falenta (Fra)  
39Michael Van Den Ham (Can) Garneau - Easton Cycling  
40Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)0:02:37 
41Emil Hekele (Cze)0:02:38 
42Francis Mourey (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:02:47 
43Jeremy Martin (Can) Focus CX Team Canada0:03:03 
44Tobin Ortenblad (USA) Santa Cruz Factory Racing0:03:17 
45Rob Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Charlesteam0:03:31 
46Severin Sagesser (Swi)0:03:35 
47Jeremy Powers (USA) Aspire Racing0:03:36 
48Travis Livermon (USA) Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross0:03:45 
49Jeremy Durrin (USA) Neon Velo Cycling Team0:04:05 
50Michal Malik (Cze)0:04:17 
51Toki Sawada (Jpn)  
52Marvin Schmidt (Ger)0:04:18 
53Christian Helmig (Lux)0:04:19 
54Jack Kisseberth (USA)0:04:35 
55Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa)0:04:38 
56Kohei Maeda (Jpn)0:05:11 
57Hikaru Kosaka (Jpn)  
58Zsolt Bur (Hun)0:05:14 
59Lex Reichling (Lux)0:05:18 
60Scott Thiltges (Lux)0:05:46 
61Mark Mcconnell (Can) Hot Sauce Cycling X Garneau0:05:58 
62Ulrich Theobald (Ger)  
63Daniel Ania Gonzalez (Spa)  
64Antonin Marecaille (Fra) AVC Aix En Provence  
65Philipp Heigl (Aut)  
DNFMartin Haring (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica  
DNFThijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions  
DNSLaurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus  
DNSJens Adams (Bel) Crelan-Charlesteam  
DNSJoachim Parbo (Den)  
Final World Cup standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Charlesteam530 pts
2Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games474 
3Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions447 
4Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games384 
5Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus373 
6Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions345 
7Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Charlesteam344 
8Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon304 
9Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions301 
10Marcel Meisen (Ger) Steylaerts-Verona297 
11Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions294 
12Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Team Steylaerts285 
13Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Beobank-Corendon261 
14Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions230 
15Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games226 
16David Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon225 
17Michael Boros (Cze) ERA-Circus220 
18Clement Venturini (Fra) Cofidis205 
19Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team204 
20Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Beobank-Corendon204 
21Simon Zahner (Swi)200 
22Jens Adams (Bel) Crelan-Charlesteam195 
23Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions194 
24Steve Chainel (Fra)192 
25Diether Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus188 
26Rob Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Charlesteam179 
27Stephen Hyde (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com172 
28Stan Godrie (Ned) Crelan-Charlesteam170 
29Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions163 
30Matthieu Boulo (Fra)158 
31Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games151 
32Daan Hoeyberghs (Bel) Beobank-Corendon136 
33Ismael Esteban Aguando (Spa)115 
34Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned)115 
35Sascha Weber (Ger)112 
36Martin Haring (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica111 
37Severin Sagesser (Swi)109 
38Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)108 
39Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions98 
40Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles89 
41Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) ERA-Circus87 
42Jan Nesvadba (Cze)82 
43Alois Falenta (Fra)79 
44Tomas Paprstka (Cze)78 
45Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa)75 
46Michael Van Den Ham (Can) Garneau - Easton Cycling64 
47Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing63 
48Jeremy Martin (Can) Focus CX Team Canada63 
49Tobin Ortenblad (USA) Santa Cruz Factory Racing60 
50Lukas Winterberg (Swi)59 
51Luca Braidot (Ita)58 
52Francis Mourey (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept57 
53Kerry Werner (USA) Kona Endurance Team56 
54Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Destil - Jo Piels Cycling Team55 
55Jeremy Powers (USA) Aspire Racing54 
56Lorenzo Samparisi (Ita)51 
57Travis Livermon (USA) Maxxis-Shimano Pro Cyclocross43 
58Nicolas Samparisi (Ita)43 
59Lars Boom (Ned) Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo40 
60James Driscoll (USA) Raleigh Clement39 
61Anthony Clark (USA) Squid38 
62Dan Timmerman (USA) Stan'S Notubes Elite CX37 
63Marek Konwa (Pol)34 
64Jeremy Durrin (USA) Neon Velo Cycling Team34 
65Jonathan Page (USA) Fuji34 
66Allen Krughoff (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport/Yogaglo32 
67Nicola Rohrbach (Swi)29 
68Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa)29 
69Melvin Rulliere (Fra)28 
70Craig Richey (Can) Garneau - Easton Cycling28 
71Anthonin Didier (Fra)27 
72Daniele Braidot (Ita)26 
73Justin Lindine (USA) Apex / NBX / Trek26 
74Daniel Summerhill (USA) Maxxis-Shimano25 
75Niels Wubben (Ned)22 
76Enrico Franzoi (Ita)20 
77Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing18 
78Cristian Cominelli (Ita)16 
79Andrew Dillman (USA) Cyclocross Alliance16 
80Hector Fernando Riveros Paez (Col)16 
81Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar16 
82Mark Mcconnell (Can) Hot Sauce Cycling X Garneau16 
83Andreas Moser (Swi)16 
84Curtis White (USA)14 
85Radomír Šimunek (Cze)13 
86Benjamin Sonntag (Ger) Team Clif Bar11 
87Emil Hekele (Cze)10 
88Michal Malik (Cze)10 
89Stefano Capponi (Ita)9 
90Ivan Gicquiau (Fra)9 
91Kenneth Hansen (Den)9 
92Yannick Gruner (Ger)8 
93Yoann Corbihan (Fra)7 
94Matej Lasak (Cze)6 
95Antonin Marecaille (Fra) AVC Aix En Provence6 
96Jens Vandekinderen (Bel) Kalas-NNOF6 
97Aaron Schooler (Can) Focus CX Team Canada6 
98Felix Drumm (Ger)4 
99Michael Wildhaber (Swi)3 
100Vincent Dias Dos Santos (Lux)3 
101Christian Helmig (Lux)3 
102Andrew Juiliano (USA)2 
103Max Lindenau (Ger)2 
104Marvin Schmidt (Ger)1 
105Gusty Bausch (Lux)1 
106Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)1 
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