Cyclo-cross World Championships: Ronhaar wins U23 men's title

Pim Ronhaar (Netherlands) put on a masterclass of riding through the sand to take the under-23 title at the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships.

The 19-year-old Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider powered into the lead in the Ostend sand on the second lap and edged it out to an unassailable margin to claim the rainbow jersey.

Reigning champion and favourite Ryan Kamp (Netherlands) crashed in the sand on the Belgium coastline before losing his footing on some slippery steps. However, Kamp fought his way back through the chasers for second while Timo Kielich (Belgium) finished third.

“This is an amazing feeling,” said Ronhaar. “At the beginning it was a bit hectic with six or seven riders in front for the first two laps, but I felt really strong and every time on the bridge, I was constantly in place one or two, so that was great.

“After three laps, I didn’t even attack but just rode my own tempo and got six seconds. On the grass section I was just riding easy, so I had enough power for the sand which paid off in the end.

“It’s so weird with the water coming so high, some places [in the sand] are super soft and some are hard so it’s like a muddy section full on the power and running to the next part.”

Pim Ronhaar showed his intentions from the outset by hitting the sand first on the opening lap, where he was joined by a host of riders including Belgium Niels Vandeputte at the head of proceedings.

British rider Thomas Mein was the first favourite to suffer in the wet conditions, losing his footing while climbing the wet steps, which saw the end of his challenge.

The front was swamped by Belgium and Dutch jerseys as they mastered the sand, with nine riders forcing a gap. Ben Turner (Great Britain) was the only rider from outside the dominant two nations to make the selection.

Ronhaar was the next rider in trouble on the wet coastal course, sliding out on the mud, which allowed Timo Kielich a small gap. The leading group was soon back together, however, after Kielich almost slid out himself, though the Belgian impressively regained his balance.

The fast descent off the bridge and into the sand started to take victims and defending champion Kamp was one of the fallers as the leading group approached the halfway point.

Kamp remounted and gave chase, but out in front, his fellow Dutchman Ronhaar was showing his technical ability in the sand. Ronhaar rode clear after putting four seconds into a chasing trio including Kielich, Toon Vandebosch (Belgium) and Tim Van Dijke (Netherlands).

Behind, Kamp rode back into medal contention and forced the Belgian duo Emiel Verstrynge and Kielich to do the chasing behind Ronhaar as Dijke fell away.

On the penultimate lap, the soaking wet steps took another victim as Kamp also lost his footing, but he re-joined the two Belgian riders and they took the bell 16 seconds behind Ronhaar.

In the fight for the medals Kielich and Kamp forced the pace on the last time through the sand, putting Verstrynge under pressure and forcing a slender gap.

Kamp was next to make his move for silver and reduced the gap to Ronhaar to eight seconds by the finish. Kielich was under pressure as he tried to follow, and he slid out on a slippery turn but he hung on to snatch bronze away from his fellow Belgian Verstrynge.

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Pim Ronhaar (Netherlands) 0:49:47
2Ryan Kamp (Netherlands) 0:00:08
3Timo Kielich (Belgium) 0:00:14
4Emiel Verstrynge (Belgium) 0:00:19
5Toon Vandebosch (Belgium) 0:00:31
6Mees Hendrikx (Netherlands) 0:00:33
7Anton Ferdinande (Belgium) 0:00:55
8Niels Vandeputte (Belgium) 0:01:01
9Ben Turner (Great Britain) 0:01:20
10Tim Van Dijke (Netherlands) 0:01:21
11Filippo Fontana (Italy) 0:01:50
12Joran Wyseure (Belgium) 0:01:55
13Thomas Mein (Great Britain) 0:01:58
14Loris Rouiller (Switzerland) 0:01:59
15Dario Lillo (Switzerland) 0:02:16
16Hugo Jot (France) 0:02:24
17Kyle Agterberg (Netherlands) 0:02:49
18Theo Thomas (France) 0:02:54
19Joris Delbove (France) 0:02:59
20Luke Verburg (Netherlands) 0:03:05
21Toby Barnes (Great Britain) 0:03:21
22Tom Mainguenaud (France)
23Jofre Cullell Estape (Spain) 0:03:49
24Lars Sommer (Switzerland) 0:03:58
25Remi Lelandais (France) 0:04:09
26Felix Stehli (Switzerland) 0:04:23
27Rory Mcguire (Great Britain) 0:04:42
28Ugo Ananie (France) 0:04:56
29Robert Hula (Czech Republic) 0:05:04
30Daniel Barnes (Great Britain) 0:05:15
31Oliver Solvhoj (Denmark) 0:05:18
32Oliver Stockwell (Great Britain) 0:05:32
33Gustav Dahl (Denmark) 0:05:44
34Antoine Huby (France) 0:06:16
35Loic Bettendorff (Luxembourg) 0:06:21
36Cedric Pries (Luxembourg) 0:06:24
37Jakub Riman (Czech Republic) 0:06:36
38Simon Bak (Denmark) 0:06:37
39Marco Pavan (Italy) 0:07:31
40Ian Millennium (Denmark) 0:08:13
41Samuele Leone (Italy)
42Jakub Musialik (Poland)
43Krzysztof Domin (Poland)
DNFSmon Vanicek (Czech Republic)
DNFIvan Feijoo Alberte (Spain)

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