Dutch dominate the European cross championships
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dutch dominate the European cross championships

by Bjorn Haake at 11:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Take gold in all three events

lars van der haarThe Dutch nation took gold in all three events that are featured in the European cross Championships. Daphny van den Brand in the women's race, Lars van der Haar in the U23 race and Mathieu van der Poel in the juniors event took the first places in Lucca, Italy.

Van den Brand took out her fourth European title by winning against Lucie Chainel (the wife of Steve Chainel) and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. She had won in 2006 and 2007 as well as last year.

Van den Brand was surprised with defending her title. "I did not do well in the beginning of the competition. I missed the right feeling in my legs, but in the last two laps I came through," she said to De Telegraaf. Sanne van Paassen had put in an early attack, but Van den Brand was able to get back to the Belgian. A flat tire almost ruined her chances, but after a bike change she was back with the front group.

Van den Brand wanted the decision. "I attacked another time. Only Chainel was able to follow, but I had the feeling that was the best she could do. In a technical section I was able to shed her." She has some experience as a European Champion, but it never gets old. "It is awesome to be European Champion once again. I have learned by now that you have to take any prize you can get. Of course I hope this is the beginning of a nice sequence," she said smiling.

World Champion Van der Haar (in picture on the right, with number three) was the big favorite in the U23 race. Like at the Worlds in St. Wendel in January, Van der Haar beat his compatriot Mike Teunissen. Third was Stan Godrie, another Dutchman. The race started with a rare false start, according to hln.be. The Italian rider Silvestri was the one who went to early, but the second attempt was good. Belgian Wietse Bosmans, who had won the Superprestige in Zonhoven last week, the race was over early. After a crash he abandoned due to knee pain. The pack stayed together for a long time, with the sprint fought out by seven riders.

Van der Poel, son of Adri van der Poel, took an early lead that he never relinquished. He is in his first year in the junior category. "I did start as one of the favorites, but I am really happy that I could do something in my first year," he said after the race, according to wielerupdate.nl. "This win is accomplished. I further hope that in the other big cross races of the season I can fight it out for the podium spots." Van der Poel also leads the World Cup standings for the juniors.


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