History was made at the first World Cup of the cyclocross season, the Cauberg Cross, when Lars van der Haar (Rabobank) soloed to the victory in Valkenburg -not only was the first major win for the 22-year old since he petitioned to move up to the elite men’s field but the young Dutch rider did it on a bike equipped with disc brakes.
“This is one of the most special wins in my life. It’s my first big pro win with all the elite, it’s a World Cup win and (it’s) in Holland, it’s amazing.” van der Haar said after the race. “Of course, I hoped (to be) on the podium but winning, that’s not something that you know in advance. I knew top 5 would be possible, you know it’s cyclocross anything can happen.”
World Champion Marianne Vos (Rabo Women Team) dominated the elite women’s field, going solo from start to finish to take the victory before she takes a well-earned rest after an amazing season.
The only time in the elite women’s race where Vos was not at the front was when European champion Helen Wyman (Kona) took the holeshot. After that, it was all Vos at the front, and was simply a level above. The chase organized behind her with US Champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective), Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Faren Kuota), British Champion Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) and Wyman who trailed Vos by 18 seconds after one lap. While Vos kept extending her lead it was Compton who proved to be best of the rest as she separated from the group to take second. Harris made her move on the penultimate lap to take third. The attack cracked Ferrier-Bruneau first and then also Wyman.
“You have to push every meter to get to the top of the Cauberg.” Vos told TV announcer. “If something happens, you have to have an advantage to stay in the lead and I know the rest will keep on pushing so I’ll do the same.”
She added, “One more cyclocross race and a little rest. I still feel good so it’s hard to get my rest period now but I think I need for the second half of the season.”
Three other American racers finished within the top-20 of the elite women’s race. Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) finished 13th in the race, Arley Kemmerer (C3-Twenty20 Cycling) finished her race only six seconds behind Antonneau in 15th place. Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) completed her race only two spots and 30 seconds behind Kemmerer. Christine Vardaros (Stevens) was 39th.
Well, not my best day. I can only hope to have better legs next weekend in Tabor. A solid week of sleep + spinning will be a good thing!
— Meredith Miller (@mmcyclist) October 20, 2013
Only Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) was able to match van der Haar’s speed as the two moved away from the shattered field. Halfway through the nine lap race, the duo had a sizeable gap on the first chase group until Pauwels dropped his chain and quickly fell back to the chase group with Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and World Champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) while Philip Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) surged up to second place. Then Pauwels got going again and caught and passed Walsleben to take second. Walsleben hung on for third.
Van der Haar explained, “Sven Nys fell and I went on the front. Me and Pauwels got a gap, he went through and I was on his wheel, (I was thinking) ‘okay this is good. We had 20 seconds on Walsleben but then Kevin had troubles with his chain and I was all alone. If he would have been maybe 10 seconds behind I would have waited but he was straightaways 25 seconds behind Walsleben then I knew that I had to do it all by myself.”
After two flats, Nys had chased back up to eighth place until a broken chain took him out of the race. Enough was enough for Nys who slowly walked back to his bus carrying his bike on his shoulders. USA Champion Jonathan Page (Fuji-Spy-Competitive Cyclist) finished in 30th place.
Seemingly unbeatable Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) missed his start in the Under23 race on home soil. The Junior Men World champion on the road and cyclo-cross had to line up on the last row in Valkenburg at his first World Cup as an espoir rider. Shortly after the start, Van der Poel crashed while in front Belgian riders Michael Vanthourenhout and Wout Van Aert sped away. Halfway through the race, Vanthourenhout dropped Van Aert while Van der Poel had moved up to third place. By the final lap, Van der Poel had caught Van Aert and the pair was trailing the leader by only 12 seconds. Vanthourenhout continued solo to take the win and Van Aert beat Van der Poel in this sprint for second place.
In his first world cup race as an U23 racer, Logan Owen (California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) led team USA with a 21st place. Curtis White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) finished 34th and Tobin Ortenblad (California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) was 36th.
Ended up 21st in my first U23 World Cup. Not what I wanted starting from fifth row but not terrible. Hoping for top 10 in tabor next week!
— Logan Owen (@logansowen) October 20, 2013
A bit disappointed today. Set back by a mechanical, spent the rest of the race chasing full gas. Made it back into the 30's.
— Curtis White (@curtisjwhite) October 20, 2013
French rider Lucas Dubau attacked solo in the first lap of the Junior men’s race and was joined by Yannick Peeters (Belgium) during the second lap. Halfway through the race, Peeters attacked but could not hold on to his lead. A little later, Dubau accelerated and Peeters went down. Lucas Dubau steamed on towards the win while his twin brother Joshua Dubau also profited from Peeters’ crash and made it a Dubau 1-2 in Valkenburg. The Dubau brothers are the sons of the 1997 French Mountain Bike National Champion Ludovic Dubau and the cousins of Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. Dad Ludovic is also a three-time Masters Cyclocross World Champion
Maxx Chance (Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team) topped the Americans’ effort by placing 27th. Josey Weik (Red Zone Cycling) and David Lombardo (WCJ Racing) finished 32nd and 35th, respectively.
Had a bit of a rough day at Valkenburg, Some one ran into my spokes at the start and was dead last into the first corner. Ended up 32nd.
— Josey Weik (@bikerboy_weiker) October 20, 2013
The only Canadian at the World Cup, Willem Boersma (Cycle-Smart) finished 46th in the Junior field.
After flatting just after the pit and getting lapped then pulled. That was a good first euro experience. Time to step up the game
— Willem Boersma (@willmablubber15) October 20, 2013
Next Saturday the cyclo-cross peloton lines up in Tabor, Czech Republic for the second round of the World Cup.