Mike Teunissen kept the Netherlands' gold medal streak alive at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships as the Dutchman delivered his nation their third straight championship of the day, started by Mathieu van der Poel in the junior ranks then Marianne Vos for the elite women.
Wietse Bosmans (Belgium) finished 14 seconds behind Teunissen to claim the 'cross power's first medal of the world championships, while compatriot Wout Van Aert added bronze to Belgium's medal tally eight seconds later. The U23 men's race was utterly dominated by both nations, as four Dutchman and six Belgians constituted the top-10. US U23 champion Zach McDonald was the first rider to break the Dutch/Belgian stranglehold with an 11th place result, 1:42 behind Teunissen.
Bosmans and Teunissen had separated themselves from the rest of the U23 men's field early in their seven-lap race, but a crash by Teunissen knocked the Dutchman back to sixth place at the end of the third lap, 19 seconds off solo race leader Bosmans. According to the Dutch coaching staff, the tumble by Teunissen served as a motivating wake-up call. "The crash shook him and gave him the spirit to fight."
And fight he did.
While Bosmans continued alone at the head of the race, Teunissen scorched the fourth lap in 6:44, the fastest lap time of the race, which moved him to second, just six seconds behind.
"After the crash, I didn't give myself too much of a chance then suddenly I saw him (Bosmans) right in front of me, and I thought maybe I could catch him," said Teunissen.
The 20-year-old Dutchman made contact with Bosmans at the end of the fifth lap and after a heated duel, Teunissen dropped the Belgian at the beginning of the final circuit. "I was just putting pressure on him and kept attacking. On the second lap before the end it didn't work out, but the last lap I just went full gas and managed to get several meters. Then it was just keep going to the end. It worked. I saw the gap was increasing so then I knew I was going to win.
"Two years ago I was very close [to being world champion], I almost had that jersey, and two years later finally I got it. I was working on it the whole year and when something like that pays off it feels very, very good."
Bosmans had been bunny-hopping the barriers each lap, gaining a few seconds on Teunissen every time, so the Dutchman pushed the pace to ensure he was well ahead on the final lap, not providing Bosmans an opportunity to gain back time. Teunissen still held a 10-seoond advantage over the Belgian the final time through.
"Then I knew I had enough and I would be world champion," said Teunissen.
Bosmans, the season's U23 World Cup champion, would grab the silver medal at 14 seconds, while his compatriot Wout Van Aert claimed bronze at 22 seconds.
"I came early to the front and I kept going but from the second lap I felt that my legs weren't very, very good," said Bosmans.
This year's silver medal was the second straight runner-up result for Bosmans in the U23 world championships.
"Last year I was more disappointed than this year because Mike was just a little bit better than me. It's good that the best in the race can win so I can live with it better than last year."
Wout Van Aert earned a silver medal in the 2012 junior men's cyclo-cross world championship, and one year later in his first year in the U23 ranks Van Aert delivered a bronze medal ride.
"In the beginning there were a few mistakes in front of me so I lost the wheel of the first two riders. Then Mike [Teunissen] made a mistake and Wietse was alone in the front. From the second lap I was giving it everything to be on the podium and in the end I was on the podium so I'm very happy.
Before the season I didn't expect it (podium finish), but this year was very good for me. I didn't expect to be in the front for all the races, but now before this race I had expectations to be in front. A podium is really good."
With the Netherlands riding high thus far, Teunissen commented about the prospect of compatriot Lars van der Haar providing the Dutch squad a four-for-four gold medal tally.
"That would be awesome," said Teunissen. "With the mud it's slightly harder [for him], but he's very motivated and has a great chance."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mike Teunissen (Netherlands)||0:48:40|
|2||Wietse Bosmans (Belgium)||0:00:14|
|3||Wout Van Aert (Belgium)||0:00:22|
|4||Tijmen Eising (Netherlands)||0:00:35|
|5||Jens Adams (Belgium)||0:00:38|
|6||Laurens Sweeck (Belgium)||0:00:54|
|7||Michiel Van Der Heijden (Netherlands)||0:01:05|
|8||Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium)||0:01:15|
|9||Corne Van Kessel (Netherlands)||0:01:29|
|10||Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium)||0:01:34|
|11||Zach Mcdonald (United States Of America)||0:01:42|
|12||Kenneth Hansen (Denmark)||0:01:50|
|13||Michael (Jr) Schweizer (Germany)||0:01:54|
|14||David Menut (France)||0:01:57|
|15||Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spain)||0:01:58|
|16||Yannick Eckmann (Germany)|
|17||Vojtech Nipl (Czech Republic)||0:02:16|
|18||Jakub Skala (Czech Republic)||0:02:37|
|19||Lars Forster (Switzerland)||0:02:48|
|20||David Van Der Poel (Netherlands)||0:03:00|
|21||Clément Venturini (France)||0:03:04|
|22||Julian Alaphilippe (France)||0:03:20|
|23||Lukas Müller (Switzerland)||0:03:29|
|24||Michael Boros (Czech Republic)||0:03:33|
|25||Andrew Dillman (United States Of America)||0:03:40|
|26||Fabian Lienhard (Switzerland)||0:03:56|
|27||Severin Sagesser (Switzerland)||0:04:03|
|28||Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic)||0:04:07|
|29||Josh Johnson (United States Of America)||0:04:19|
|30||Steven James (Great Britain)||0:05:06|
|31||Michael Van Den Ham (Canada)||0:05:17|
|32||Hugo Robinson (Great Britain)||0:05:19|
|33||Adam Martin (Great Britain)||0:05:47|
|34||Michimasa Nakai (Japan)||0:06:02|
|35||Andrew L'esperance (Canada)||0:06:16|
|-1lap||Kohei Maeda (Japan)|
|-1lap||Skyler Trujillo (United States Of America)|
|-2laps||Conor O'brien (Canada)|
|-3laps||Tobin Ortenblad (United States Of America)|
|DNF||Evan Mcneely (Canada)|
|DNF||Emiel Dolfsma (Netherlands)|
|DNF||Daniele Braidot (Italy)|
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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.
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