U23 World Champion Van der Haar shows his stripes in Vegas

In spite of a stacked field of top senior talent, reigning under-23 world cyclo-cross champion Lars van der Haar gave Rabobank-Giant the victory in CrossVegas, taking a photo-finish sprint from Christian Heule (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) and Rob Peeters (Telenet-Fidea).

"It was amazing, I could not see the line so I wasn't sure I won." said van der Haar, who was happy the race came back together in the final lap for a 9-rider sprint. "I have a strong explosive sprint, and it's hard to get away here because the grass is so heavy and in the wind, it's amazing - last year I was 8th place and this year first, it's a big win."

Van der Haar underscored the importance of the race for his bike sponsor Giant, which had a large presence at the course, and for getting UCI points ahead of his European competitors who won't race until the end of this month.

The 20-year-old Dutch talent bided his time as the top names like two-time world champion Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea), Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) and Ryan Trebon (LTS-Felt) whittled down the race to 10 riders in the closing laps of the hour-long race. While most of the other riders put in attacks, Van der Haar was content to sit back and hope the race stayed together so he could unleash his powerful sprint.

"I don't think I'm the strongest guy here, I'm young and I don't have the power these guys have, so I really have to follow them," Van der Haar told Cyclingnews. "I was dying ten times a lap out there, I had a really rough race. But at the end, on the last lap it came together again, and I started my sprint and in the last 50m they died and I could get past them."

After an action-packed first half of the race, where the composition at the front of the race changed constantly, an elite group of 10 formed at the head of the race to battle out the remaining laps.

Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) put in the night's first serious attack, gaining a 10 second lead with three laps to go.

The group containing Bart Aernouts (Rabobank-Giant), Van der Haar, Heule, Powers, Johnson, Trebon, Wells, Wellens and Peeters kept Driscoll at a steady gap until Wellens hit out on the next lap and made his way across to Driscoll.

The American quickly faded while Wellens pushed on, holding off the chase for nearly two full laps before surrendering to the last lap surges of first Powers then Trebon and fading back.

Wellens showed that the spark which netted him two world titles during his career is back after a difficult few years, plagued with injury and lacking in top victories. His attack was only nullified by the concerted efforts of Powers and Trebon in the final lap.

"It was a little bit of a gamble," Wellens said of his move. "It was waiting, waiting or going for the attack, and I choose the attack. I came with Driscoll and I thought with two we are stronger than alone, but he was not good enough so I go alone with still three laps. It was long - half a lap too long."

"We played the team play," said Peeters. "It looked good for Bart, but in the last lap we took him back, and then it was my turn to jump. It all went good, but I missed it in the sprint. I am going to think about this moment for a long time."

Peeters launched his counter-attack heading into the final 500m, but had used too much and gained too little ground at final turn, and it was Van der Haar who had enough left to dash up the hill and steal the win in the sprint, leaving Heule and Peeters to learn who was runner-up after a photo finish decision.

Peeters collapsed onto the grass after the finish and stayed down, trying to catch his breath and overcome his disappointment for the loss for a good few minutes.

"I was totally a bloc and couldn't turn my gear, so at the finish they jumped over me. I am disappointed I lost the victory, but I'm glad I have the good form. It's a mixed feeling," Peeters said. "I know my sprint is not so good and I'm going to work on it. It cost me the victory."


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Full Results
1Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant0:59:04
2Christian Heule (Swi) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld
3Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
4Jeremy Powers (USA) Team Rapha-Focus
5Ryan Trebon (USA) LTS-Felt
6Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank-Giant
7Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld
8Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea0:00:19
9James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld0:00:21
10Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing0:01:34
11Zach McDonald (USA) Team Rapha-Focus0:01:39
12Ben Berden (Bel) Stoemper
13Geoff Kabush (Can) Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:01:52
14Jonathan Page (USA) Planetbike-Blue0:02:03
15Aaron Schooler (Can) Team H&R Block0:02:07
16Yannick Eckmann (Ger) Pearlizumi-Shimano-Focus0:02:17
17Alex Howes (USA) Chipotle Development Team0:02:41
18Allen Krughoff (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport
19Fabio Ursi (Ita) C.S.Esercito0:02:50
20Justin Lindine (USA) Bikereg.com-Joe's Garage0:02:52
21Tim Van Nuffel (Bel) DCM-GB Vorselaar0:03:02
22Travis Livermon (USA) SmartStop-Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley0:03:42
23Ryan Knapp (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross0:03:46
24Mitchell Hoke (USA) Team Clif Bar0:03:47
25Craig Richey (Can) Renner Custom - Raleigh0:03:54
26Russell Stevenson (USA) Raleigh0:03:58
27Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda0:04:10
28Sean Babcock (USA) Kona0:04:27
29Cody Kaiser (USA) California Giant-Specialized0:04:43
30Adam Myerson (USA) SmartStop-Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley0:04:44
31Ken Benesh (USA) Feedback Sports0:04:46
32Brandon Dwight (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport0:04:50
33Daniel Summerhill (USA) Garmin-Cervelo0:04:51
34Bryan Fawley (USA) Orbea Factory-Dallas Bike Works0:04:54
35Joseph Schmalz (USA) KCCX-Fuji p/b Challenge Tires0:05:00
36Jake Wells (USA) Notubes Elite Cyclocross Team0:05:01
37Tim Allen (USA) Feedback Sports
38Andrew Reardon (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross
39Barry Wicks (USA) Kona0:05:16
40Kevin Fish (USA) KCCX-Fuji p/b Challenge Tires0:05:23
41Spencer Powlison (USA) Plains To Peaks Racing0:05:42
42Russell Harding (USA) Natural Grocers Cycling Team
43Nicholas Weighall (USA) California Giant-Specialized0:05:55
44John Behrens (USA) Bailey Bikes
45Brennan Wodtli (USA) Hutch's Bicycles0:06:04
46Robin Eckmann (USA) Pearl Izumi-Shimano Team0:06:29
47John Bailey (USA) Bailey Bikes0:06:35
48Mathew Ankney (USA) KCCX-Fuji p/b Challenge Tires0:06:40
49Mitchell Kersting (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross0:06:42
50Jerome Townsend (USA) SmartStop-Mock Orange Bikes p/b Ridley0:09:11
51Molly Cameron (USA) Metafilter0:10:06
52Aaron Bradford (USA) Rocklobster0:11:04
53Ryan Dewald (USA) XO - Battley Harley-Davidson
54Blake Anton (USA) Team Clif Bar Cycling
55Joachim Parbo (Den) Challenge Tires
56Chris Mackay (USA) Realcyclist.com
57Luke Keough (USA) Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross
58Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar
59Braden Kappius (USA) Clif Bar
60Justin Robinson (USA) California Giant-Specialized
61Grant Holicky (USA)
62William Iaia (USA) Groove Subaru
63Stephen Cummings (USA) C3 Athletes Serving Athletes
64Scott Chapin (USA) Bay101-HRS-Rocklobster
65Shadd Smith (USA) KCCX-Fuji p/b Challenge Tires
66Johannes Huseby (USA)
67Ken Hanson (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
68Brad Cole (USA) KCCX-Fuji p/b Challenge Tires
69David Sheek (USA) SDG-Felt p/b IRT
70Kenny Wehn (USA) Notubes Race Team
71Eric Colton (USA) The Team-Socalcross
72Ryan Padilla (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport
73Collin Samaan (USA) The Bicycle Business TBB
74Bryan Mickiewicz (USA) Hammer Nutrition
75Jesse Keough (USA) Champion System p/b Keough Cyclocross
76Aaron Bouplon (USA) Rocky Mounts-Izze
77Patrick Bradley (USA) Philadelphia Cyclocross School
78Jason Siegle (USA) SDG-Felt p/b IRT
79David McNeal (USA) Birmingham Bicycle Company
80Bjorn Fox (USA) Clif Bar Development Cross Team
81Phil Grove (USA) Hammer Nutrition
82Joshua Whitmore (USA) Globalbike Elite Team
83Mitchell Trux (USA) Team Off The Couch
84Jay Kwan (USA) The Team-Socalcross
85Chris Johnson (USA) Continuum Cycles
86Spencer Haugh (USA) Behind Bars-LGR
87Bill Marshall (USA) KCCX-Fuji p/b Challenge Tires
88JP Partland (USA) Kissena Cycling Club
89Rocco Calgiano (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport


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