Lars van der Haar wins in Tabor for first World Cup victory in four years

Newly-crowned European cyclo-cross champion Lars Van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) showed his current form and speed on the fast Tabor course to take the elite men’s victory on Sunday in round six of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup

In his first World Cup victory since 2017, the Dutch rider kept a fast pace over the final two laps of the Czech Republic course in Tabor after riding clear of all his rivals. 

World Cup leader Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) could not handle the pace and had to settle for second, while Quinten Hermans (Tormans - Circus Cyclo Cross Team) finished third. 

However Iserbyt’s second place saw him increase his overall world cup lead to 51 points with Van der Haar moving up to second with six rounds of the 16-race series completed. 

How it unfolded

Iserbyt lead the charge away from the wide asphalt start into the tight grass corners as the unsaturated track in the Czech Republic made for fast racing, with a long line of riders gathered behind the early race leader.

With a large group of over 20 riders at the front on the opening lap, the race became a battle for position ahead of the tighter sections of course which strung out the field and then gradually created gaps. The Tormans Cyclo Cross Team pair of Quinten Hermans and Corné Van Kessel were monitoring the front during a tight and cagey opening to the event. 

Van der Haar was full of confidence after taking the European title the previous weekend and was the next rider to try and split the large leading group by taking the tight corners at speed. 

Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) won the world cup round at Tabor last season and was in close attendance as Van der Haar whittled down the leading group to six riders after 20 minutes of fast racing. 

Van der Haar was joined at the front by Vanthourenhout, Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions), Hermans, Iserbyt and Van Kessel. 

Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Vincent Baestaens (CX Team Deschacht - Group Hens-Maes Containers) raced the previous day’s GP Leuven in Belgium before making the long trip to the Czech Republic and the pair paid for it and were gapped despite an initial fight back.

Hermans suffered misfortune at the midway point of the race when a puncture meant he lost six seconds on the leading group but an easing in pace allowed him back to the front group of eight riders. 

Vanthourenhout was the first rider to attack alone on the fifth of eight laps but he was quickly chased down by Aerts, while fellow Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider Iserbyt monitored the moves. 

With all three of those riders attacking and jumping the uphill planks a gap was created and Van der Haar, who dismounted for the planks, was forced to close the gap. 

As Aerts changed bikes leaving him further down the group, Iserbyt made his attack on the planks section but Van der Haar once again responded, while Hermans brought across Aerts and Vanthourenhout. 

Van der Haar sensed that he was fastest through the downhill corners and continued to force the pace but the remains of the now five-rider leading group were equal to his effort with two laps remaining. Van der Haar continued the pressure and first distanced teammate Aerts and then Vanthourenhout, while Iserbyt and Hermans scrambled for the leader’s wheel. 

Leading into the finish straight to take the bell, Van der Haar led by a second from Iserbyt while Hermans was losing ground three seconds back. Behind Aerts and Vanthourenhout had quickly lost 20 seconds as the relentless pace of the Tabor course took its toll. 

Van der Haar was looking for his first world cup victory since 2017 and kept the pressure on Iserbyt, forcing open a slender gap. Despite having to dismount and run over the planks, which allowed Iserbyt to close the gap slightly, Van der Haar appeared stronger and sensed victory on the fast descent down to the finish. 

He held the gap over Iserbyt and so celebrated a solo victory, 11 seconds ahead of Iserbyt. Hermans finished a further four seconds back in third as Iserbyt eased up in defeat. 

Aerts lost vital world cup points with a fourth placed finish while Vanthourenhout completed the top five. 

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Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lars van der Haar (Ned) Baloise Trek Lions 1:02:27
2Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:00:11
3Quinten Hermans (Bel) Tormans - Circus Cyclo Cross Team 0:00:15
4Toon Aerts (Bel) Baloise Trek Lions 0:00:29
5Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:00:41
6Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:01:02
7Corne van Kessel (Ned) Tormans - Circus Cyclo Cross Team 0:01:05
8Vincent Baestaens (Bel) CX Team Deschacht - Group Hens - Maes Containers
9Gioele Bertolini (Ita) Selle Italia - Guerciotti - Elite 0:01:28
10Jakob Dorigoni (Ita) Selle Italia - Guerciotti - Elite 0:01:33
11David van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin - Fenix
12Daan Soete (Bel) CX Team Deschacht - Group Hens - Maes Containers 0:01:34
13Tom Meeusen (Bel) CX Team Deschacht - Group Hens - Maes Containers 0:01:36
14Marcel Meisen (Ger) Alpecin - Fenix 0:01:43
15Jens Adams (Bel) 0:01:46
16Kevin Kuhn (Swi) Tormans - Circus Cyclo Cross Team 0:02:11
17Toon Vandebosch (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Bingoal 0:02:15
18Michael Boroš (Cze)
19David Menut (Fra) Cross Team Legendre 0:02:51
20Marek Konwa (Pol) 0:02:54
21Tomáš Paprstka (Cze) 0:03:25
22Šimon Vaníček (Cze) 0:03:42
23Kevin Suarez Fernandez (Spa) Nesta - MMR CX Team 0:04:05
24Diether Sweeck (Bel) Iko - Crelan 0:04:18
25Hannes Jeker (Swi) 0:04:19
26Nicolas Samparisi (Ita) KTM Alchemist powered by Brenta Brakes 0:04:22
27Heinrich Haussler (Aus) 0:04:26
28Frederik Hähnel (Ger) 0:04:37
29Lorenzo Samparisi (Ita) KTM Alchemist powered by Brenta Brakes 0:05:07
30Eric Lüthi (Swi) 0:05:46
31Florian Hamm (Ger) Team Schamel p/b Kloster Kitchen 0:06:05
32Timofei Ivanov (Rus) 0:06:52
33Philipp Heigl (Aut) 0:08:04
34Patryk Kostecki (Pol)
35Albert Poblet Dot (Spa)
36Arnau Pericas Figueras (Spa)
DNFLubomír Petruš (Cze)

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