Peeters happy with second place at ‘Cross Worlds
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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Peeters happy with second place at ‘Cross Worlds

by Kyle Moore at 9:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Cyclocross
 
Belgian had insisted that the podium wasn’t a goal

 Rob PeetersRob Peeters (Belgium) came into great shape at just the right time heading into the World Cyclo-cross Championships, and he was able to keep his promise to work for his Belgian captains while also taking a result of his own.

The 26-year-old crossed the line second on Sunday in Koksijde after attacking his six-man chase group on the final lap. Peeters’ blistering acceleration, which cemented his second place position in a matter of seconds, was reported by the Telenet-Fidea website to be the fastest lap turned by any rider throughout the weekend.

Peeters could hardly contain his joy as he finished, 24 seconds after new world champion Niels Albert (Belgium) and 6 seconds clear of Kevin Pauwels (Belgium).

“After Hoogeheide (the final World Cup race where he was fifth – ed.), I knew my condition was good,” he said. “The World Cup race in Koksijde made it clear that the riders who are in the best shape automatically come to the fore. That made me stay very calm. At no time was I nervous.”

Peeters, who has often liked to set the early pace during big races this season, got off to an uncharacteristically slow start. It would likely factor in to his own race strategy that eventual champion Albert was the one who set the tone early, but Peeters would come through on his promise to race in service of his team-mates.

As pre-race favourite Zdenek Stybar struggled and dropped back, Peeters got on the front of an all-Belgian group containing Tom Meeusen, Klaas Vantornout, and Bart Aernouts and hauled them closer to Albert, consolidating the race lead of the seven-man Belgian squad.

“Lap by lap I started to believe more and more because at times I felt a lot of leg strength,” he added. “With every mistake I made [on the difficult course], I could make up for it immediately afterwards with a little explosiveness, hence my attack.”

When race coverage momentarily cut away from Albert on his victory lap, it showed Peeters with a sizeable gap over Pauwels and Meeusen. “I wanted to go for it,” he explained regarding his blazing final lap.

Peeters currently stands as the third man on a powerful Telenet-Fidea team that also includes Meeusen and Bart Wellens. When asked if his breakout finish at the worlds would affect his standing in the world cyclo-cross conversation, Peeters said that he wondered the same thing.

“The first thing I thought when I crossed the line was, ‘what will this bring for me?’” he admitted. “I have no idea what happens next.”

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