Lars van der Haar recaptured an evasive title at the Dutch Cyclo-cross National Championships on Sunday, taking a solo victory with an uncontested ride in Rucphen.
The battle for silver was a duel between 21-year-old Mees Hendrikx and veteran Corné van Kessel. The 30-year-old broke free of the current U23 World Cup leader on the final lap to finish second, leaving the bronze to Hendrikx.
Under bright sunshine the reigning European Champion broke a string of three consecutive runner-up finishes to Mathieu van der Poel, who pulled out of the Heusden-Zolder Superprestige, his second cyclo-cross race of the winter, due to a recurring back injury and discontinued his off-road season.
Van der Haar last won the Dutch title in back-to-back years, 2013 and 2014, then Van der Poel proved best for the next six editions. He broke free from all competitors after the first lap for solo laps on the course, unlike his World Cup win in Tabor earlier this season where he managed to distance World Cup leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Quinten Hermans (Tormans - Circus Cyclo Cross Team) by 11 and 15 seconds, respectively.
"I felt that I could really only lose here," Van der Haar reflected at the finish in his comments to Sporza.
"I was going to divide my race into sections. The last two rounds I was able to slow down a bit, just drive at my own pace. It was clear, I could see exactly where my competitors were driving."
Only the newly-crowned Dutch champion and Van Kessel will represent the Netherlands for the elite men at the World Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the end of the month.
"I think I was actually better around the European Championship than today. I'm mainly training very hard now and focusing on the World [Championship]. Getting another jersey would be really special."
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lars van der Haar||1:02:05|
|2||Corne van Kessel||0:00:51|
|6||David van der Poel|
|8||Danny van Lierop||0:03:22|
|9||Tibor del Grosso|
|12||Gosse van der Meer||0:05:16|
|14||Koen van Dijke|
|22||Jardi Christiaan van der Lee|
|25||Koen van Helvoirt|
|29||Bart de Veer|
|31||Chris van Dijk|
|32||Robin van Poppel|
|35||Lars van Ark|
|41||Menno van Capel|
|45||Lars de Weerd|
|46||Bas van der Burg|
|47||Beau van Izerloo|
|53||Yoep van der Peet|
|DNF||Twan van der Drift|
|DNF||Stef Ter Laak|
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