13.007 – KING.OF.THE.WØRLD
Can you imagine being in the lead going into the last lap of the World Championship Cyclocross race…It’s snowing, the ground is part frozen grass, part sandy mud, part wet mud and constantly changing under tyre. One tiny mistake could mean the difference between a gold medal and no place on the podium. Oh and you have forty of the fastest riders on the planet chasing you down…
After so much fuss had been made about racing in the US and how ‘cross is a European sport I have to say that it was incredibly well run and the racing was both interesting and exciting. Having all of the racing on the Saturday I think only added to the atmosphere and the live steaming by the UCI seemed to work very well,…but anyway, back to the racing,…
The pressure is immense no matter which race you’re in. The juniors kick the day off with a blast. Hungry to make a big impression upon team bosses and potential sponsors the Junior race is almost as fast as the senior’s. The battle for the lower positions is hard fought, but really there was only ever going to be one winner – Mathieu Van Der Poel attacked early and rode a dominate race to win by almost a minute. Adam Toupalik, Logan Owen and Nicolas Cleppe had a great battle for third with the Cezch finally coming away with the bronze medal.
1 VAN DER POEL Mathieu NED 12:40:47 (24.72 km / h) 2 BUDDING Martijn NED + 00:57 3 TOUPALIK Adam CZE + 1:19 4 OWEN Logan USA + 1:23 5 Cleppé Nicolas BEL + 1:25
Next up were the women with our very own Helen Wyman on the front row – unfortunately Helen as well as many other big names got caught up in a big first corner crash – she recovered to finish 13th although I’m sure she was hoping for better, not least for the fine 12th place that Annie Last took!
The real star of the day however was, as many had predicted, Marianne Vos. The unstoppable six time world champion was never troubled, even by Katy Compton in second place who worked her way through the field, but never came close to Vos. Katerina Nash deserved third but a bike problem with less than half a kilometre to go saw her running home only to be pipped to the post by Lucie Chainel Lefevre.
1 VOSS Marianne NED 12:43:00 2 COMPTON Katy USA + 1:34 3 CHAINEL-LEFEVRE Lucie FRA + 2:10 4 NASH Katerina CZE + 2:12 5 VAN PAASEN Sanne NED + 2:15
12 LAST Annie GBR + 3:36 13 WYMAN Helen GBR + 4:02
The Under-23’s race was fascinating to watch and in similar style to the Junior race, a whole clutch of Belgians just couldn’t control Mike Tuenissen (NED) and so were left to fill the lower ranks. Wieste Bosmans was the only rider who could run the same pace as Tuenissen, but eventually had to give best to the Dutch rider – Three out of three for The Netherlands!
1 TEUNISSEN Mike NED 0:48:40 2 BOSMANS Wietse BEL + 0:14 3 VAN AERT Wout BEL + 0:22 4 EISING Tijmen NED + 0:35 5 ADAMS Jens BEL + 0:38
Could Lars Van Der Haar make it four out of four? – The grand finale was of course the elite mens race. France’s Francis Mourey made a fantastic effort in the first half of the race and looked for a moment like he may spoil the Dutch party, but he faded before an onslaught of light blue Belgian jerseys, punctuated by Van Der Haar’s bright orange lycra.
Kevin Pauwels looked strong but had bike issues in the same place as Nash, whilst Klaas Vantornout took over the pace setting at the front. Bart Wellens looked set to make it three Belgians on the podium for a long time but Van Der Haar never gave up and finished in a fine third position in his first Senior Wold Championships.
That just left the two at the top. Sven Nys shadowed the lanky Klaas Vantornout through the penultimate lap and kept a cool head in the near blizzard conditions that had struck Kentuky. As the bell began to ring Nys moved forward and applied yet more pressure to his compatriot. With half a lap to go Vantornout caught his pedal briefly in the course netting, Nys bunnyhopped the sleepers that followed to pull out just a small gap. Vantornout looked like he may pull the gap back at one point, but with a second World title on the line Nys was never going to give up and powered his way to a popular and well fought victory.
1 NYS Sven BEL 1:05:35 2 VANTORNOUT Klaas BEL + 0:02 3 VAN DER HAAR Lars NED + 0:25 4 WELLENS Bart BEL + 0:41 5 WALSLEBEN Philipp GER + 0:44
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