Welcome back to cross Lars Boom (Rabobank) and please stick around. How’s that for results, his first World Cup of the season and a win. Boom went quickly to the front in the 70-minute race as the sun, well light, was fading and the conditions on course were even worse. What line? we don’t need no stinking lines. World Cup leader Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) was immediately in hot pursuit and was able to catch up and the two battled it out. Boom also had to deal with a few chain issues but was always able to stay with Albert as the two took turns at the front. Up and down, literally in some cases, the course the fight was on to the delight on the huge crowd.
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But them with a bit more than two laps to go, Book was able to get a gap, not a big one. With one lap to go, the gap was 10 seconds and Albert dug deep and took risks to bring it down to 4 seconds but Boom was able to hold on for the win. Albert remains the World Cup leader.
Behind them, a 4-man chase group with Sven Nys (Landboukrediet), Bart Wellens (Telenet-Fidea), Gerben de Knegt (Rabobank) and Radomir Simunek (BKCP-Powerplus). Wellens was able to ditch the others to take third. De Knegt was fourth and Nys fifth. Simunek crashed out with a broken collarbone.
Riding with his ankle frozen due to ruptured tendons, Jonathan Page (Planet Bike) finished 19th. “It’s frozen so great right now.” he laughed when asked about his ankle.”I have it very well taped. I didn’t feel anything no but I still can’t feel anything.” Another laugh.
After two laps, Page was behind and playing catchup. “The race was done in the first two rounds and then you ride the rest of the race trying to pick off people but the gaps were so huge.”
The cause was his third row start combined with the conditions. “Just the conditions were dangerous because of the ruts, people think they go straight but then all of a sudden, take a hard left or a hard right without knowing it. It’s just the way the conditions were.”
Even though he was pulled Sean Babcock (Kona) had a great ride, not bad for his second World Cup ever in epic conditions. “Started off somewhere in the back. I kind of knew with all the sharp turns, I knew that people would have to be running so I was able to weave through a few people, get off my bike and be aggressive with the running and kind of pushed and shoved my way passed guys. I was making the early decision to get off the bike and run around people rather than waiting in line. When we came around the pits for the second time, Proctor said ’30 seconds’ and I was like ‘what? 30 seconds? oh God okay things are going well’.” he laughed.
But then he also had trouble with his shoes icing up and clipping in. “And then I got a couple more spots forwards but then I was really struggling with clipping in my shoes in the snow and then if you slipped and something happened, you’d go into deep snow and it was tough. The part that was the most frustrating for me, over here you did the runup and then you had to clip back in, which I struggled with, and then you rode out and then had another short little runup and then had to clip back in. And I just couldn’t get clipped in and it was deep snow so you had to ride up hill and if you weren’t clipped in you couldn’t pull on your pedals and then you go really slow. And the guys you’re trying to ride with are riding away and the guys behind you are riding up to you. ‘oh Shoot’.”
An even better ride considering his pre-ride. “Actually doing the pre-ride it was a pretty intimidating course. You looked at the big descent and say ‘that could hurt’. During the pre-ride, I made it down once and I crashed into the mat, two more times so I was like ‘well it’s 50-50’ ” he added with a laugh.
While many were slip and sliding on the descent by the church, Babcock seemed to have that one down. “I was kind of able to figure that one out during the pre-ride pretty well. I just put on my brakes when I went down and just made sure I turned before the fence.” he laughed. “It was very much kind of a mountain bike course, some of the descents were, if you were to look at the descents from a mountain bike, ‘oh this is a good descent for mountain bike but we’re on cross bikes and snow so it’s even more treacherous.”
After pre-riding the course, Ryan Trebon (Kona) elected not to start.
Elite Men (Complete results)
1. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 1:08:29
2. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus +00:13
3. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team +01:16
4. Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team +01:45
5. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet +01:55
19. Jonathan Page (USA) Planet Bike +04:19
-2laps Sean Babcock (USA) Kona
-4laps Mark Lalonde (USA) Specialized
-4laps Ryan Iddings (USA) Redline
-5laps Ryan Knapp (USA) BikeReg.com
-5laps Mitchell Hoke (USA) Clif Bar Development Team
-5laps Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder
DNS Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona