World Cyclocross Championships: Teunissen outduels Bosmans for U-23 title
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

World Cyclocross Championships: Teunissen outduels Bosmans for U-23 title

by Kyle Moore at 2:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results, World Championships
Netherlands and Belgium occupy top ten, McDonald 11th

Mike TeunissenEuropean under-23 cyclocross champion Mike Teunissen (Netherlands) became the under-23 world champion in Louisville, after distancing World Cup winner Wietse Bosmans (Belgium) on the final lap. Teunissen’s victory combines with the earlier wins by Mathieu Van Der Poel and Marianne Vos to make The Netherlands a perfect three out of three in the World Cyclocross Championships so far.

Though the Belgian men are heavily favoured in the elite men’s race, it will be up to Lars Van Der Haar, Thijs Van Amerongen, or Twan Van Den Brand to complete the perfect day for the Dutch.

After taking an early lead, Teunissen withstood a mid-race crash and made up a sizeable deficit to Bosmans throughout the middle of the race, finally catching him toward the end of the fifth of seven laps. Crossing the line to begin the final round, Teunissen sprinted around Bosmans and never looked back, and the Dutchman used another surge midway through the lap to put Bosmans to bed for good. Last year’s U-23 runner-up behind Van Der Haar, Bosmans looked exhausted after the second consecutive silver medal.

Wout Van Aert (Belgium) rode strongly for third, and Tijmen Eising (Netherlands) was fourth.

Teunissen was especially pleased with his ability to come back on Bosmans after his early adversity.

“After that first half of the race, I didn’t give myself much of a chance,” he told reporters afterward. “Wietse was very strong in the beginning, and when I finally saw him again in front of me, I thought maybe I could catch him. I tried to ride away and on the final lap it finally worked out. I had enough advantage at one point, and I knew I would become world champion,” Teunissen smiled.

The thought of Van Der Haar providing an improbable Dutch sweep made Teunissen smile again.

“That would be awesome! I give him a good chance, although with the mud it is becoming slightly harder. He is very motivated, and he’s a very talented guy, so he’s got a great chance.”

The top ten in the final result would be decided between the Belgians and the Dutch, and the orange and powder blue jerseys dotted the front of the field from the beginning. Only Czech Republic rider Vojtech Nipl could infiltrate the early pack, but a slide-out crash put him behind later. The pack was clustered tightly through the first lap, with Teunissen and Bosmans leading the bunch over, followed by David Van Der Poel (Netherlands) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium). Bosmans came around at the line and began to pull himself and Teunissen clear, as Van Aert moved up to third.

Much of the snow on the course earlier in the day had now turned to mud, sending Nipl down and giving various riders trouble. With two laps down, Bosmans was now by himself in the lead and opening a gap. American hope Zach McDonald came through in 16th, over a half-minute back.

Bosmans further consolidated his lead throughout lap number three, with Dutchmen Teunissen and Eising chasing, along with Belgians Van Aert and Vanthourenhout. Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) rode just behind in sixth on course.

It was around the end of the third lap that Teunissen had his problem, at one point dropping all the way back to sixth, and looking at a 20-second deficit to Bosmans. With Dutch and Belgians sprinkled throughout the top of the race, McDonald had moved his stars and stripes jersey all the way up to tenth, to the delight of the ample American contingent.

Teunissen went to work as the chasers spread out, quickly catching back up and teaming with Van Aert, and the two began to separate themselves as the lone chasers of Bosmans. With three laps to race, Teunissen ran second, just six seconds behind Bosmans, with Van Aert third, Eising fourth, and Corne Van Kessel up to fifth.

Teunissen had almost caught Bosmans by the time that both were due to change bikes, which they did with two laps to go, while Van Aert kept his and continued to build on his lead over fourth place. Van Aert began an agonizing two-lap chase of the leading duo, crossing to start the penultimate lap with just a four-second deficit. He had caught Teunissen and Bosmans several times before falling behind again on each occasion. Halfway through the penultimate lap, Bosmans tried a surge, which Teunissen was able to withstand, though Van Aert was dispatched for good with one to go.

As he had the previous lap, Teunissen sprinted past Bosmans over the finish line, but this time he maintained the surge and opened a gap. First it was a few seconds, and then ten, as Bosmans continued to wear down. In the final half-lap, Teunissen had time to ride conservatively and celebrate victory. He bettered his seventh place finish in the same race last year, while Bosmans had to be content with silver again.

McDonald held on for 11th, the first rider to finish from outside The Netherlands or Belgium, the latter of which will hope for an elite male to salvage the Louisville trip and finally grab a gold.

World Cyclocross Championships – Under-23 Men Brief Results:

1, Mike Teunissen (Netherlands) in 48’40”
2, Wietse Bosmans (Belgium) at 14 secs
3, Wout Van Aert (Belgium) at 22 secs
4, Tijmen Eising (Netherlands) at 35 secs
5, Jens Adams (Belgium) at 38 secs
6, Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) at 54 secs
7, Michiel Van Der Heijden at 1’05”
8, Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) at 1’15”
9, Corne Van Kessel (Netherlands) at 1’29”
10, Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium) at 1’34”
11, Zach McDonald (United States) at 1’42”


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