Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) won the fourth round of the UCI World Cup in Namur, Belgium. At the medieval citadel, the Belgian rider fought out a duel with Dutch champion Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano Development Team) on the climber’s course.
Pauwels distanced his rival on the final lap on a tricky off-camber section and finished solo, ten seconds ahead of Van der Haar. German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) rode a strong race and cracked the podium, while Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) faded after a good first half of the race and placed fourth. In the World Cup standings, Pauwels extends his lead over Tom Meeusen up to 77 points.
“Before the off-camber section I looked back and noticed I had a small gap on Lars. I rode it well and I was gone,” Pauwels said. “It’s looking good for the World Cup with two races left that suit me well.”
In absence of last year’s top-5 finishers Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink), Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and Niels Albert, who stayed away due to lack of form, illness and retirement, respectively, the race was wide open – even more so, as young wolves Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) and Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) rode in preceding men’s Under-23 race.
Swiss rider Marcel Wildhaber (Scott-Odlo MTB Racing Team) took the initiative during the first two laps and he created a lead group of eleven riders. Last year’s winner Francis Mourey (FDJ.fr) got dropped after the first serious attack from Meeusen on the third of nine demanding laps, though Meeusen was later caught by Pauwels, Van der Haar and teammate Corné van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea).
On the sixth lap, Van der Haar accelerated away on the first climb of the course. Meeusen completely faded while Van Kessel and Pauwels were unable to close the gap straight away. Van Kessel then crashed hard on a fast descent and dropped back to fifth place behind Walsleben and Meeusen. With two laps to go Pauwels bridged back up with Van der Haar who decided to focus on the sprint.
“I felt really good on this course but I was unable to run as fast as I would like due to my ankle injury. That’s why Kevin returned and then tactics came into play,” Van der Haar said. The final passage though the off-camber section was crucial. “I wanted to hit the off-camber section in first position but I didn’t see anything due to the mud splashes and stayed behind him. Then it was over,” Van der Haar said.
Pauwels rode away and cruised to a great victory, his fifth of the season. A mistake from Van der Haar nearly cost him second place but he was able to hold off Walsleben. Meeusen and Van Kessel were fourth and fifth, respectively, at more than a minute from winner Pauwels.
Wildhaber completed a great ride in sixth place, finishing ahead of the Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace duo Rob Peeters and Jens Adams. Fast starter Sascha Weber (Veranclassic-Doltcini) and Julien Taramarcaz (Corendon-Kwadro) completed the top 10 in Namur. Taramarcaz outsprinted Mourey. US champion Jeremy Powers was never in contention for a top 10 result and finished 16th, two spots ahead of compatriot Jonathan Page (XcelLED).
In the World Cup standings Pauwels now has 300 points. Meeusen moves up from fourth to second place trailing Pauwels by 77 points, with 80 points at stake for the winner of a World Cup round. Van Kessel is third. Walsleben and Van der Haar are a little further back in fourth and fifth. Vantornout drops from second to sixth place.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||1:07:43|
|2||Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Development Team Giant-Shimano||0:00:10|
|3||Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Bkcp - Powerplus||0:00:19|
|4||Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||0:01:24|
|5||Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet - Fidea||0:01:38|
|6||Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team||0:01:46|
|7||Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team||0:02:05|
|8||Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Continental Team||0:02:10|
|9||Sascha Weber (Ger) Veranclassic - Doltcini||0:02:24|
|10||Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Corendon - Kwadro||0:02:30|
|11||Francis Mourey (Fra) Fdj.Fr||0:02:31|
|12||David Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp - Powerplus||0:02:37|
|13||Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon - Kwadro||0:03:21|
|14||Bart Aernouts (Bel) Corendon - Kwadro||0:03:28|
|15||Fabien Canal (Fra) Look - Beaumes De Venise||0:03:33|
|16||Jeremy Powers (USA)||0:03:34|
|17||Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:03:41|
|18||Jonathan Page (USA)||0:03:56|
|19||Gert-Jan Bosman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Cycling Team||0:04:00|
|20||Simon Zahner (Swi)||0:04:01|
|21||Lubomir Petrus (Cze) Bkcp - Powerplus||0:04:04|
|22||Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:04:07|
|23||Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)||0:04:08|
|24||Michael Boros (Cze)||0:04:22|
|25||Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||0:04:29|
|26||Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team||0:04:42|
|27||Tomas Paprstka (Cze) Remerx-Merida Team Kolin||0:04:58|
|28||Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet - Fidea||0:05:08|
|29||Andreas Moser (Swi)||0:05:09|
|30||Aitor Hernandez Gutierrez (Spa)|
|31||Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet - Fidea||0:05:36|
|32||Ian Field (GBr)||0:05:59|
|33||Mariusz Gil (Pol) Corendon - Kwadro||0:06:09|
|34||Severin Saegesser (Swi)||0:06:13|
|35||Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)||0:06:31|
|36||Lukas Winterberg (Swi)||0:06:44|
|37||Ole Quast (Ger)||-1Lap|
|38||Martin Haring (Svk) Ck Banska Bystrica|
|39||Clément Lhotellerie (Fra)|
|40||Kenneth Hansen (Den)|
|41||Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels|
|42||Josep Betalu (Spa)||-2Laps|
|43||Radomir Simunek (Cze) Corendon - Kwadro|
|44||Michael Schweizer (Ger)|
|45||Marco Bianco (Ita)|
|46||Michael Wildhaber (Swi)||-3Laps|
|47||Joachim Parbo (Den)|
|48||Aaron Schooler (Can)|
|49||Yu Takenouchi (Jpn) Veranclassic - Doltcini||-4Laps|
|50||Agustin Navarro Vidal (Spa)|
|51||Matej Lasak (Cze)||-5Laps|
|52||Mark Mcconnell (Can)|
|53||Ramon Sagues Portabella (Spa)|
|54||Angus Edmond (NZl)|
|55||Garry Millburn (Aus)|
|56||Jeremy Durrin (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|57||Robert Marion (USA)|