Jan Christen won a three-up sprint for the first men’s junior title for Switzerland since 1998 on Saturday at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. He hit the line in Fayetteville just ahead of Aaron Dockx (Belgium), who was second, and Nathan Smith (Great Britain) in third.
"It was amazing. It wasn't 100 per cent that I can with the sprint. I tried it before too, and it didn't work. So I decided to go all in for the sprint and I was thinking I can beat them. And I did it," Christen said.
"In the begin I wasn't sure I was strongest but half the race I was sure I could beat them, it's my day and I did it.
"It's a really nice course, I enjoyed every lap. I was think I had so much fun it helped me win the race.At first I didn't think I could win the sprint and everyone was shouting to me to attack after the steps and I tried it but it didn't work. Aaron was coming behind me and then I was thinking I need to go for the sprint."
The junior men set off under sunny skies and a tricky course that had frozen overnight in the cold temperatures and offered slippery sections in the hairpin turns.
Smith took the hole shot just half a wheel in front of race favourite David Haverdings (Netherlands). Smith took the lead followed with a string of riders on his wheel - Dockx , Frank O’Reilly (United States), Corentin Lequet (France) and Haverdings settling into fifth.
In the early twists of the first lap Christen, the reigning Swiss champion, moved to the front, and Magnus White (United States) joined the front pack as well. After the first lap, Christen continued to set the pace with Smith, Dockx, Haverdings, Lequet and American Jack Spranger. The field began to line out behind, but no major gaps had formed.
On the second lap, race favourite Haverdings unexpectedly hit a rut in a sweeping turn and hit the ground. While he took time to regroup, it caused a delay of Spranger and Christen who were close behind, but did not fall. It created an opportunity for the challengers, with Andrew August (United States) taking to the front with Smith, Dockx and Lequet in tow.
The quartet of riders set the high pace on the third lap - Smith, August, Dockx and Lequet. Only a few seconds in a chase group was Christen, and a trio of Belgian riders Vaktor Vandenberghe, Wies Nuyens and Yordi Corsus. Soon more chasers were allowed to touch the back of the group for a larger group to form halfway through the race. After the third pass of the 39 Climb, Dockx began to open a small advantage at the front, making Smith and Lequet work hard to keep in touch.
On the start of the fourth of six laps, Dockx had a few seconds over Smith, with Christen, Lequet, Vandenberghe, Nuyens, Corsus, August and Daniel Nielsen (Norway) just nine seconds off the pace. Just a few turns later heading to the long straightaways in the woods, the line of riders regrouped for another round of technical pack racing.
The chase clearly began to fracture on the penultimate lap, as the trio of Christen, Dockx and Smith joined forces at the front, and rode away for the final sprint. It was a photo finish for the silver, but Smith was content with bronze.
"In the World Cup series it's been quite competitive, especially between me and Aaron at Zolder. It's very different to York it was quite a challenge but it was easy to learn the course, it was not too technical. I think the speed made it more technical. It was a good fun course," he said after the finish.
It was a huge disappointment for Haverdings, who had won 17 races this season and was the top junior from the World Cup season. He managed to finish ninth.
"I didn't come for this result. I made a stupid fault, crashed, and my chain came off. I had to switch bikes," Haverdings said at the finish. "My legs were pretty shit after the crash and I had to find my rhythm. It is what it is. It's unfortunate, life goes on."
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jan Christen (Switzerland)||0:43:11|
|2||Aaron Dockx (Belgium)||0:00:01|
|3||Nathan Smith (Great Britain)|
|4||Corentin Lequet (France)||0:00:20|
|5||Andrew August (United States Of America)|
|6||Viktor Vandenberghe (Belgium)||0:00:33|
|7||Wies Nuyens (Belgium)||0:00:35|
|8||Ian Ackert (Canada)||0:00:39|
|9||David Haverdings (Netherlands)||0:00:41|
|10||Daniel Nielsen (Denmark)||0:00:49|
|11||Yordi Corsus (Belgium)|
|12||Luke Valenti (Canada)||0:00:53|
|13||Jack Spranger (United States Of America)|
|14||Kenay De Moyer (Belgium)||0:00:55|
|15||Luca Paletti (Italy)||0:01:04|
|16||Marcis Shelton (United States Of America)||0:01:09|
|17||Daniel English (United States Of America)||0:01:10|
|18||Václav Ježek (Czech Republic)||0:01:11|
|19||Louka Lesueur (France)||0:01:15|
|20||František Hojka (Czech Republic)||0:01:33|
|21||Gustav Pedersen (Denmark)||0:01:49|
|22||Silas Kuschla (Germany)||0:01:57|
|23||Paul Greijus (Sweden)||0:02:05|
|24||Frank O'Reilly (United States Of America)|
|25||Magnus White (United States Of America)||0:02:06|
|26||Matthias Schwarzbacher (Slovakia)||0:02:19|
|27||Alexander Woodford (Canada)|
|28||Liam O Brien (Ireland)||0:02:53|
|29||Theodore De Groote (Canada)||0:03:23|
|30||Ondřej Novotný (Czech Republic)||0:03:24|
|31||Raul Mira Bonastre (Spain)||0:03:39|
|32||Travis Harkness (Ireland)||0:03:48|
|33||Sasha Renaud Tremblay (Canada)||0:04:32|
|DNS||Ivan Gomar Millet (Spain)|
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