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Van der Poel powers to junior Worlds victory in Louisville

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Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) wins the junior men's race

Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) wins the junior men's race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The announcers, Richard Fries (L) and Brad Sohner, call the Juniors to the line

The announcers, Richard Fries (L) and Brad Sohner, call the Juniors to the line (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Mathieu van der Poel (NED) leading on lap one

Mathieu van der Poel (NED) leading on lap one (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The start of the junior men's race

The start of the junior men's race (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Mathieu van der Poel (NED) takes the hole shot and never looks back

Mathieu van der Poel (NED) takes the hole shot and never looks back (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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USA Champion Logan Owen

USA Champion Logan Owen (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The fans dress up even in Louisville

The fans dress up even in Louisville (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Mathieu van der Poel (NED) on the Shimano stairs

Mathieu van der Poel (NED) on the Shimano stairs (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Mathieu van der Poel (NED) with a massive lead

Mathieu van der Poel (NED) with a massive lead (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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A Canadian rider making a dicey turn

A Canadian rider making a dicey turn (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Logan Owen (USA) crashed early but then moved up

Logan Owen (USA) crashed early but then moved up (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Mathieu van der Poel (NED) seemed to be alone on the course

Mathieu van der Poel (NED) seemed to be alone on the course (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Karel Pokorny (CZE) having trouble with a slippery turn

Karel Pokorny (CZE) having trouble with a slippery turn (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nicolas Cleppe (BEL) chasing van der Poel

Nicolas Cleppe (BEL) chasing van der Poel (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Mathieu van der Poel (NED) facing the limestone steps

Mathieu van der Poel (NED) facing the limestone steps (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Riders coming over the first run-up

Riders coming over the first run-up (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Logan Owen (USA) crashed in the first minute of racing and fell behind

Logan Owen (USA) crashed in the first minute of racing and fell behind (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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A sea of riders head into the sand pit

A sea of riders head into the sand pit (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Logan Owen (USA) sprinting for fourth place

Logan Owen (USA) sprinting for fourth place (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Adam Toupalik (CZE) was happy with his 3rd place finish

Adam Toupalik (CZE) was happy with his 3rd place finish (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Martijn Budding (NED) finishing 2nd

Martijn Budding (NED) finishing 2nd (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jake Womersley (GBR) riding the sand pit

Jake Womersley (GBR) riding the sand pit (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Martijn Budding (NED) riding the snow rather than the established line in the sand

Martijn Budding (NED) riding the snow rather than the established line in the sand (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Isaac Niles (CAN) having trouble with traction on the stairs

Isaac Niles (CAN) having trouble with traction on the stairs (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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A Belgian rider on the limestone steps

A Belgian rider on the limestone steps (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Mathieu van der Poel (NED) nearly made it up the limestone steps without getting off his bike

Mathieu van der Poel (NED) nearly made it up the limestone steps without getting off his bike (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Curtis White (USA) putting in a good ride

Curtis White (USA) putting in a good ride (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Riders on the frozen sand pit

Riders on the frozen sand pit (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Logan Owen moved up dramatically on lap three

Logan Owen moved up dramatically on lap three (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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A triumphant Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands)

A triumphant Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) wins the junior men's race at 'cross Worlds

Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) wins the junior men's race at 'cross Worlds (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) powers toward a solo victory

Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) powers toward a solo victory (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) put in a dominant performance to win the junior men's world cyclo-cross championships in Louisville, Kentucky. The Dutch rider led from start to finish and, despite a fall early on was never really challenged by the competition and retains his title from 12 months ago.

Martijn Budding (Netherlands) finished a distant but solid second with Adam Toupalik (Czech Republic) taking third.

"It's really fantastic," van der Poel said after he crossed the line for his second title. "From the beginning, I had a great feeling and the crowd was just screaming the whole time."

"The first world championship is always more special and last year in Koksijde there was a battle for it,” he said of his repeat win. In 2012 he beat silver medalist Wout Van Aert (Belgium) by just eight seconds.

“Now I had the time to celebrate it and I just knew when I entered the last lap that it was for me. Last year I had to give it may all on the last lap to win it, so that's different.”

Thousands of fans lined the snow-covered course to watch as the Dutch pair moved clear on the opening lap. The measure in class between them was clear as van der Poel eased ahead, pulling out almost a minute at the finish.

“I just felt good from the beginning and the snow was definitely good for me because it's more technical, that's good for me,” van der Poel said.

Budding also put in a strong performance to claim the silver medal at 57 seconds – a solid 24 seconds ahead of the next chasers.

“I had a very good start, I was in second at the first turn,” he said. “I didn't follow him (van der Poel) because he's too strong, but I saw the gap behind me got bigger, so I kept going and defended my second place.

“The gold medalist was the strongest all season, so I'm very happy [with second]. My goal for this championship was a podium, so I made it and I'm very happy.”

After dominating the junior class in his undefeated season, van der Poel is ready to test himself further in the espoir class. “I'm still young and next year when I ride with the under 23s I think it will become more clear where I really stand. I think next year I can expect a lot. I've been comparing some lap times and I see I'm should be able to follow them, I guess, but the circumstances are always different. “

Heartbreak in the battle for bronze

The battle for the bronze was far more intense with four riders in the mix at different stages. Yannick Peeters (Belgium) looked to be in the driving seat but on the final lap, Toupalik (Czech Republic) took advantage of a mistake from the Belgian. Logan Owen (United States of America) overcame his own heart-wrenching mechanical issues to fourth.

It was always going to be a tall order for any of the junior men to beat van der Poel at the world championships: the Dutch rider has been undefeated all season, and in World Cups, he was turning lap times on par with the elite men.

Owen was seen as his closest challenger after he came second to the world champion in five races in Europe this season. But the American jumped the gun on the start line, and stopped just as the rest of the field came rocketing off the line. The mistake cost him, and he had to chase back from 19th place at the start through a squadron of Belgian, Dutch, Czech and Swiss riders.

Van der Poel got the hole shot, with Budding close behind. Nicolas Cleppe, Italian Gioele Bertolini, Czech Karel Pokorno and two more Belgians, Quinten Hermans and Ben Boets were the next quickest off the line.

Peeters also had issues at the start, but steadily picked his way through the traffic to move up from 16th to fourth by the end of lap one, chasing together with Cleppe behind the two Dutch riders.

Toupalik, Swiss rider Dominic Grab, Owen and Boets fought to get on terms with the leading group over the next several laps.

By the mid point of the race, van der Poel had 45 seconds on Budding, Peeters was another 20 seconds back with Cleppe and Owen had just tacked on when he began having problems with his drive train, and lost two spots ahead of the final lap.
While Owen fought his way into fourth, Toupalik surged past Peeters in the final lap to claim the final medal, just two seconds ahead of the dejected American. Cleppe trailed in for fifth.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands)0:40:47
2Martijn Budding (Netherlands)0:00:57
3Adam Toupalik (Czech Republic)0:01:19
4Logan Owen (United States Of America)0:01:23
5Nicolas Cleppe (Belgium)0:01:25
6Dominic Grab (Switzerland)0:01:33
7Yannick Peeters (Belgium)0:01:38
8Quinten Hermans (Belgium)0:01:47
9Ben Boets (Belgium)0:02:02
10Leo Vincent (France)0:02:33
11Curtis White (United States Of America)0:02:43
12Richard Jansen (Netherlands)0:02:53
13Kobe Goossens (Belgium)
14Clement Russo (France)0:03:20
15Karel Pokorny (Czech Republic)
16Manuel Todaro (Italy)0:03:31
17Jake Womersley (Great Britain)0:03:36
18Jack Ravenscroft (Great Britain)0:03:46
19Peter Disera (Canada)0:03:52
20Nadir Colledani (Italy)0:04:03
21Marco König (Germany)0:04:14
22Gioele Bertolini (Italy)0:04:21
23Billy Harding (Great Britain)0:04:24
24Jan Vastl (Czech Republic)0:04:38
25Maxx Chance (United States Of America)0:04:58
26Adam King (Great Britain)0:05:03
27David Lombardo (United States Of America)0:05:04
28Trevor Pearson (Canada)0:05:12
29Elie Gesbert (France)0:05:13
30Isaac Niles (Canada)0:05:36
-1lapStephen Bassett (United States Of America)
-2lapsNeil Symington (Canada)
-3lapsYoshiki Yamada (Japan)

 

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