Posted by Editoress on 01/28/06
UCI CycloCross World Championships Zeddam, Netherlands
The Dutch hosts wasted no time getting on the podium, with a win in the opening Junior Men's race at the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Zeddam. The appropriately named Boy van Poppel dropped the rest of the leaders to solo across the finish line in front of a cheering crowd. Bjorn Selander was the top U.S. finisher in seventh place.
The 40 minute race began, as expected, very fast, with eight riders gapping the rest of the field by the halfway point in the opening lap. van Poppel was there, as was Selander. Others in the lead group included Robert Gavenda (Slo), the leading rider in the Junior World Cup; Tom Meeusen (Bel); Yannick Martinez (Fra); Sascha Weber (Ger); David Menger (Cze) and Mathias Fluckiger (Sui).
van Poppel, Gavenda and Meeusen were the dominant riders in the group, dropping the others on the climb and stairs. Gavenda seemed to be the strongest, taking the lead and setting the pace, but van Poppel had a plan:
"I noticed in the first few laps that I could get a distance on the others on the steps - I think it was my long legs. So I knew that I could attack there on the final lap."
This was what he did, and the plan worked to perfection, allowing the six time national champion (Cadet and Junior) to roll across the line, arms raised, while Gavenda outsprinted Meeusen for third.
Selander rode a strong and consistent race, sitting in fifth or sixth place for much of the race, until a last lap mishap. "I hit a tree on the descent and lost some time there. I just couldn't get back (to the leaders) after that. It's too bad, I was feeling strong all race."
Other North American results include U.S. champion Danny Summerhill 19th, Chance Noble 29th, Canadian champion Mike Bidniak 31st, Alex Howes (USA) 35th and Ethan Gilmour (USA) 57th.
- Mike Bidniak was satisfied with his 31st place. "I had a good start, on the second row. I tried to ride my own race, be consistent and not make any mistakes. Originally I had hoped to do better, but when I got over here and did a world Cup, and saw how fast those guys are I was a little discouraged. So, this is a good ride, better than I had hoped for."
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