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Young Dutchman escapes early with Walsleben and overcomes unfortunate crash to finally beat his companion in the sprint while world champion Nys once again suffers from bad luck

Photo: Feltet.dk

KEVIN PAUWELS

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LARS VAN DER HAAR

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WORLD CUP - CROSS

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26.10.2013 @ 16:33 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lars van der Haahr continued his fantastic start to the World Cup season when the winner of round 1 won today's second race in Tabor in Czech Republic. While world champion Sven Nys once again fell out of contention due to bad luck, the Dutchman rode most of the race in a front duo with Philip Walsleben before beating his companion in a close sprint.

 

Lars van der Haahr has long been knocking on the door to enter the absolute elite in the world of cyclo-cross and after the first two races of the UCI World Cup, it can be said that he is finally there. Having already won the first round on home soil in Valkenburg last Sunday, the Dutchman repeated the feat in today's second round in Tabor in Czech Republic.

 

From the gun, van der Haahr showed his intentions as he positioned himself near the front from the very beginning and when Philip Walsleben accelerated already on the second lap, he joined the German champion. The rest of the field never saw the leaders again and it was left to the two youngsters to battle for the win.

 

Van der Haahr appeared to have lost his chance when he slipped out in a corner midway through the race but he quickly remounted and did a fantastic chase to get back on. None of the two leaders were able to drop each other despite repeated accelerations and so all was set to be decided in a final sprint. Van der Haahr once again proved that he is a really fast finisher when he beat his German companion.

 

Behind, the established stars of cyclo-cross were battling hard to get back but neither Niels Albert or Kevin Pauwels had it in their legs today. World champion Sven Nys who had abandoned the first round due to bad luck, wasn't much luckier today and fell out of contention due to a crash.

 

The strongest rider among the chasers was clearly Francis Mourey and the French champion managed to whittle down the peloton until it just consisted of Pauwels and himself. The Belgian made a late acceleration to take 3rd while the French champion had to be content with 4th.

 

With two wins, van der Haahr now has a comfortable lead in the overall standings while Pauwels and Walsleben are tied in 2nd. The third race will be held in Koksijde on November 23.

 

Mourey sets the early pace

French champion Francis Mourey made a fast start and hit the front from the gun with Niels Albert, Lars Van Der Haahr, Philipp Walsleben and Martin Binaon his wheel. The Frenchman set a fierce pace that strung out the peloton all the way round the first lap while Kevin Pauwels, Klaas Vantornout and Sven Nys moved up towards the front positions.

 

As they passed the lap for the first time, Mourey slowed down and allowed Van Der Haahr to it the front. Clad in the World Cup leader's jersey, the round 1 winner upped the pace with Walsleben, Vantornourt, Bina, Albert and Julien Taramarcaz on his wheel. As they passed the pits, Walsleben hit the front and accelerated furiously and his fast pace started to put several riders under pressure.

 

The front duo goes clear

A gap opened up behind Walsleben and Van Der Haahr as Bina was unable to keep up with the front duo. The Czech led the peloton ahead of Vantornout, Albert and Nys and those 4 riders gradually distanced the rest of the peloton.

 

At the second passage of the line, the front duo was 6 seconds ahead of their chasers who had been joined by Taramarcaz, Aernouts and Mourey. More riders got across on the first part of the third lap as Taramarcaz was now leading the chase. Pauwels had bad luck as he hit the deck  but he was quickly back on his bike and remained in contact with the main group which was now being led by Bina.

 

Pauwels recovers

At the third passage of the line, van der Hahhr was now setting a fierce pace and the duo had extended their lead to 21 seconds over Bina who had slightly gapped his chasers . The Czech was quickly back in the fold as Pauwels had recovered from his fall and was now taking charge for the pace-setting.

 

The Belgian's pace was enough to split up the peloton with only Bina and Vantornout being able to match the Sunweb rider. In the front group, Walsleben and van der Haahr were working nicely together until disaster struck for van der Haaht. The Dutchman went down in a corner and while he quickly remounted, he faced a hard chase to get back on. Almost at the same time, Ny's bad luck in the World Cup when he slid out in another corner.

 

Nys decides to save energy

At the next passage of the line, van der Haahr was 13 second behind Walaleben while Pauwels was now alone in 3rd at 24 seconds. Albert led the peloton across the line while Nys was chasing a little further back. That was the last we saw from the world champion who clearly decided to save his energy for tomorrow's first round of the Superprestige series.

 

Albert was now riding hard in the peloton as riders continued to drop off. Halfway through the lap, only Vantornout and Mourey were able to hang on and they quickly caught Pauwels who moved into second position behind the fast-riding Albert. Mourey was clearly struggling and hung on for dear life.

 

Van der Haahr rejoins Walsleben

Van der Haahr had recovered from his crash and was gradually getting closer to Walsleben. As they passed the line, to start the sixth lap, he sprinted across to the leader and so the front duo was back together. In the chase group, Albert was asking for some help and finally Pauwels hit the front. At this point, they were 31 seconds behind while Bina, Aernouts and Corne Van Kessel made up the next group.

 

Mourey had now recovered from his apparent struggles and was leading the chase during the first part of the next lap. The Frenchman even gapped his companion while Walsleben was doing all the work in the front duo.

 

Van der Haahr has recovered

Midway through the lap, van der Haahr had recovered from his long chase and was now back on the front, putting Walsleben under pressure. At the passage of the finish line, the duo was 14 seconds ahead of Mourey while there was no cooperation in the Albert-Vantornout-Pauwels trio which was 28 seconds behind the leaders and almost caught by Bina, Van Kessel and Aernouts.

 

The next rider to suffer from bad luck was Mourey who crashed and was overtaken by the chase trio in which Pauwels was now applying the pressure. Mourey managed to remount just in time to hang on to the group while Pauwels was slightly gapping his companions. However, Albert dug deep and managed to reel in the lone Belgian.

 

The chase group grows in size

Bina, Van Kessel and Aernouts finally managed to join the chase group which was now led by Vantornout. Van der Haahr led the front duo across the line to start the penultimate lap while Mourey led the chasers past the finish, 34 seconds behind. At this point, it was clear that the winner would be one of the two youngsters in the front group.

 

Mourey was still doing all the work in the chase group and only Vantornout was able to keep up with the French champion. Pauwels and Bina were chasing a little further behind while Albert, Van Kessel and Aernouts had lost contact, apparently for good.

 

Van der Haahr tries to go clear on his own

Walsleben decided to change bikes just before the penultimate passage of the line and van der Haahr exploited the situation to briefly open up a gap. The German champion had to dig deep but managed to get back. Mourey, Vantonout and Pauwels were now 26 seconds behind while Albert led the next group 4 seconds further adrift.

 

Walsleben led the front duo early on the final while Mourey's fierce tempo was enough to gradually get the chasing trio close to the leaders. Vantornout was clearly in difficulty and the Belgian champion eventually lost contact with his companions.

 

Walsleben was unable to get rid of van der Haahr before the finish and so all was set to be decided in a sprint. The Dutchman proved his fast finish to take his second win in the series while Pauwels made a late attack to take third ahead of Mourey. Vantornout was 5th while Albert got rid of his companions to take 6th.

 

Result:

1. Lars van der Haahr 1.09.07

2. Philipp Walsleben

3. Kevin Pauwels +0.11

4. Franis Mourey +0.12

5. Klaas Vantornout +0.24

6. Niels Albert +0.27

7. Bart Aernouts +0.31

8. Martin Bina +0.35

9. Corne Van Kessel +0.51

10. Enrico Franzoi +0.55

 

Overall World Cup standings:

1. Lars van der Haahr 160

2. Philipp Walsleben 135

3. Kevin Pauwels 135

4. Klaas Vantornout 115

5. Bart Aernouts 103

6. Niels Albert 90

7. Thijs Van Amerongen 88

8. Enrico Franzoi 88

9. Corne Van Kessel 86

10. Egoitz Murgoitio 76

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