Van Der Poel still perfect after 2nd Junior World Cyclocross Championship
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Van Der Poel still perfect after 2nd Junior World Cyclocross Championship

by Kyle Moore at 11:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results, World Championships
Budding takes second, Toupalik wins battle for third

Mathieu Van Der PoelMathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands) has raced 26 times in the 2012-2013 cyclocross season and has now won all 26 races, after the young Dutchman took a repeat victory in the Junior Men World Cyclocross Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

Van Der Poel rode away from countryman Martijn Budding from the gun and gradually but dominantly distanced the rest of the field to take the win by 57 seconds. Budding rode by himself as well for the six-lap race to take the silver medal. Van Der Poel has a second gold medal to go along with his UCI World Cup overall victory, and Budding has a World Championships silver to match his runner-up spot in the World Cup as well.

Adam Toupalik (Czech Republic) won a ding-dong battle for third, which was contested by Belgians Yannick Peeters [son of Omega Pharma-Quick Step boss Wilfred] and Nicolas Cleppe, along with American Logan Owen. On the final lap, Toupalik hit a left turn into the stone steps run-up at the same time as Peeters, with the Belgian slipping and getting squeezed a bit on the barriers. Peeters went down and struggled to get up, and Toupalik held off Owen and Cleppe to the line.

With Van Der Poel the repeat winner, and Budding moving up from 18th a year ago to second place this year, Dutch cyclocross is well primed for a fantastic future.

“It’s really fantastic; from the beginning I had a great feeling,” Van Der Poel said in impressive English afterward. “The crowd was screaming the whole time, and it was amazing to ride in these circumstances in the world championships.”

No wins are automatic until the race is completed, but from lap one, Van Der Poel’s result was never in doubt. He sprinted to an immediate gap over Budding and the field, and both Dutchmen had clear advantages heading into the first left-hand bend. Cleppe, Peeters, and Ben Boets (Belgium) formed a chasing group with Belgian Kobe Goossens just behind.

The snowy Louisville course featured several slippery off-camber sections, and the increasingly famous stone step run-up was largely hidden by snow. Van Der Poel handled these sections well, and he hopped the set of dual hurdles on each lap as well. Owen was well back after one lap of racing, with Budding at eight seconds behind the leader and the group of Belgians at 25 seconds. Owen finished the first lap in 9th position, 35 seconds after Van Der Poel.

Van Der Poel had a big enough lead already on lap two to try and ride the stone steps, and he got halfway up before having to climb off. It was one of a couple bobbles by the invincible Dutchman, as he also put it down on a snowy gradual curve. Though no mistakes he made would bother his lead. With two laps down, Budding’s deficit was 14 seconds, with Cleppe and Peters together at 34 seconds back. Owen had moved up, and formed a trio with Toupalik and Dominic Grab (Switzerland).

The laps ticked off quickly in the six-lap race, with most rounds being completed in around seven minutes. Halfway through, the Belgian duo was still slipping back, and Owen had achieved a gap over Grab and Toupalik. Grab went down on a slippery section, ending his threat, and Owen had soon caught Peeters and Cleppe.

With two laps to race, Van Der Poel had 45 seconds on Budding, and there was now a chasing group of two Belgians, an American, and the Czech rider Toupalik a further 15 seconds back. Owen briefly took third place for his own before bobbling on the main off-camber section, and Peeters came back around.

Full attention turned to the battle for the final podium position. Owen overtook Peeters again leading into the stone step run-up, but in his haste, the American seemed to drop his chain and was forced to stop for several seconds before remounting. By this time, Peeters had pulled Toupalik to a distinct advantage, which Owen would spend much of the next lap trying to close.

With Van Der Poel and Budding increasing their gaps into the final lap, Peeters and Toupalik rode on in their battle for third. Cleppe was fading and Owen was still scrambling to catch up, heading into the final run up the stone steps. Toupalik took a hard inside line on the left-hander, in tight with Peeters on the barrier. The Belgian slipped and seemed to bang his knee hard on the frozen ground, gesturing at the Czech rider in frustration. Peeters was slow to get up and out of contention, and Owen became the only rider capable of chasing down Toupalik for third.

The American couldn’t quite complete the task. Van Der Poel flashed his number one bib over the line, making a statement of fact that has lasted all season. Budding was satisfied with second, and Toupalik held off Owen by six ticks for third.

World Cyclocross Championships – Junior Men Brief Results:

1, Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands)
2, Martijn Budding (Netherlands) at 57 secs
3, Adam Toupalik (Czech Republic) at 1’19”
4, Logan Owen (United States) at 1’25”
5, Nicolas Cleppe (Belgium) at 1’25”
6, Dominic Grab (Switzerland) at 1’33”
7, Yannick Peeters (Belgium) at 1’38”
8, Quinten Hermans (Belgium) at 1’47”
9, Ben Boets (Belgium) at 2’02”
10, Leo Vincent (France) at 2’33”


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