Van der Haar takes victory in U23 race in cyclocross World Championships
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Van der Haar takes victory in U23 race in cyclocross World Championships

by Bjorn Haake at 10:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results, World Championships
 
Dutchman beats compatriot Teunissen on track in St Wendel

Lars van der Haar became the U23 cyclocross World Champion by passing teammate Mike Teunissen shortly before entering the track in St Wendel, Germany, then defended his lead all the way to the line. Czech rider Karel Hnik was third. Teunissen had  looked like the winner with only the downhill remaining, but was brought back by teammate  Tijmen Eising.

A group of ten riders had stayed glued together for virtually the entire race. With half a lap to go, Belgian Wietse Bosmans attacked hard. He was brought back by the Dutch team and Van der Haar was the strongest on the 300 meters of track to race to the finish line. "I went full gas with 700 meters to go," van der Haar described his attack just before the pit area. There was still some doubt in his head. "I was really tired, but I knew I had to go on to the finish."

The Dutchman was quite wobbly in the final meters, the effort showing. But he held on to ride across the line with his arms raised. Teunissen and Hnik sprinted it out for third place. "I am a  little bit disappointed," Teunissen said. "But at the top of the hill I was totally exhausted. I fought hard for silver, luckily I was able to hold on."

Third-placed Hnik had no second thoughts if he was excited or disappointed. "I am very happy with bronze, he said. "I had a difficult start, where I was in 15th place and I had to give it all the whole way. In the last lap I had a good position." He was so well tucked into the front group that the race announcer missed him.

For Van der Haar, this is only the beginning. "I want to get better and better, make more progression. It won't be as much as I did this season compared to last, of course." Van der Haar had made quite a leap, winning the Dutch National Championships alongside  three Superprestige races and the European Championships.

He had a full season but was not getting tired at the end of it. "I tend to get better and better during the year. I showed I can keep the same level for a full season." There is another advantage to race in every event from September to January. "I know the riders very well and I know exactly who can do what and how that compares to my abilities."

This helped in a race where the front group stuck together. Van Der Haar,  Teunissen,  Hnik,  Eising, Matthieu Boulo, Wietse Bosmans, Valentin Scherz,  Joeri Adams,   Jimmy  Turgis and  Vincent Baestaens  marked each other quite well, something that Van der Haar had expected. "I knew the first climb was difficult but that it would come back together at the second climb." To the cheer of the home fans, German Marcel Meisen was never far off the front, but had to settle outside the top ten (11th) in the end.

The start is always crucial in a cyclocross race. Van der Haar had some difficulties but was ultimately in a good position. "I slipped out of my pedal on the first stroke, but when we made it into the field I was in fifth position. I was quite happy with that."

From there, Van der Haar was quickly seen at the front several times, together with the active Boulo. In lap three, a collective slowing let the front group swell up to over a dozen riders and after a truce of one lap, the strongest riders slipped off the front.

Some riders behind literally slipped, with     Gert-Jan Bosman one of the worst affected. A team member from the Dutch team told Velonation that Bosman was sent to hospital, with a fractured metacarpus (bone in the wrist).

The course was very muddy now, but the tracks still made the steering hard, especially on the steep descents. Several riders went down, including Danny Summerhill. The American was still happy with his 13th place, given his bad luck.


Results

1 VAN DER HAAR Lars NETHERLANDS 0:52:01
2 TEUNISSEN Mike NETHERLANDS +00:01
3 HNIK Karel CZECH REPUBLIC +00:01
4 BOULO Matthieu FRANCE +00:03
5 EISING Tijmen NETHERLANDS +00:04
6 BOSMANS Wietse BELGIUM +00:07
7 SCHERZ Valentin SWITZERLAND +00:13
8 ADAMS Joeri BELGIUM +00:24
9 TURGIS Jimmy FRANCE +00:24
10 BAESTAENS Vincent BELGIUM +00:30
11 MEISEN Marcel GERMANY +00:36
12 GRAS Irwin FRANCE +00:39
13 SUMMERHILL Daniel UNITED STATES OF AMERICA +00:42
14 BRAET Vinnie BELGIUM +00:58
15 KONWA Marek POLAND +01:0

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