Posted by Editoress on 02/2/14
Belgium took its second victory at the 2014 Cyclo-cross World Championships with a win in the Under-23 men on Sunday morning in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, by Wout van Aert. Belgium almost made it a clean sweep, with Michael Vanthourenhout taking silver also, but Dutch favourite Mathieu van der Poel made a late charge to hold off two Belgian riders and capture the bronze medal. Michael van den Hamm was the top Canadian in 40th place, finishing on the same lap as the leaders. Connor Wilson finished 54th, two laps down.
Mathieu van der Poel came into the race as the overwhelming favourite after dominating the World Cup series in his first year in Under-23. However, he was clearly struggling in the early laps, and unable to match the pace of the Belgians. van Aert made his move on the first lap, when he shouldered his bike on a short climb and ran past the other leaders who were struggling to ride the slope. This gained him a small gap, and he steadily built on that for the rest of the race, to win by 50 seconds.
Conditions were much drier than the day before, but this also made some significant ruts and rough sections that riders struggled with. Behind van Aert, van der Poel moved from seventh to second by the second lap, leading a string of Dutch and Belgian riders, but the gap was already 20 seconds, and van der Poel soon started to fade.
Vanthournethout attacked out of the chase group part way through the lap and no one responded as he rode away from the four remaining chasers - van der Poel, his team mate Stan Godrie, and the two Belgians Laurens Sweeck and Toon Aerts. With the Dutch is disarray, the two Belgians took the opportunity to ride clear into third and fourth, and it looked like the rout of the Netherlands was complete.
However, Mathieu van der Poel was joined by team mate and older brother David van der Poel, and the pair began to recover lost ground on Sweeck and Aerts. With a lap and a half to go, van Aert and Vanthourenhout were safe in first and second, but the van der Poel brothers were riding back into bronze medal contention. Older brother David caught a pedal in the fencing and crashed (eventually recovering to finish sixth), but Mathieu made his way across to Sweeck and Aerts just before the start of the final lap.
The two Belgians soft pedalled until Mathieu van der Poel took the lead, but that turned out to be a mistake, as the Dutch rider attacked strongly, dropping first Sweeck and then Aerts to prevent a Belgian sweep of the medals.
For winner Wout van Aert, it was a vindication, after finishing second to van der Poel in the World Cup standings, and being disqualified from the Belgian championships for a false start.
"I went on the first lap, and every lap my gap grew," commented van Aert. "It's unbelievable. Three weeks ago I lost the national title in Belgium due to a false start, but now I've shown with the pedals what I can do. I'm so happy."
"This was the ground of Mathieu van der Poel, he was the big favourite and I beat him. That makes it even more beautiful. It is so crazy that I can do it here. Finally I have proved that I can also win a championship. Yesterday the Juniors were three on the podium [for Belgium] and now we are two. Belgium is the best country at these world championships and I am extremely proud of the team today."
Michael van den Hamm - "I got caught in a bit of a crash on the first corner. came through the pits last on the first lap and from there just worked on moving up. I couldn't have asked for better support from the mechanics, my family and fellow team mates. Tough race but another great experience."
Results from today's Cyclocross World Championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands
|U23 Men, 20.268 km (6 laps)|
|1 Wout Van Aert (Belgium)||0:49:35|
|2 Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium)||at 0:50|
|3 Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands)||1:17|
|4 Laurens Sweeck (Belgium)||1:19|
|5 Toon Aerts (Belgium)||1:26|
|6 David van der Poel (Netherlands)||2:09|
|7 David Menut (France)||2:24|
|8 Tomas Paprstka (Czech Republic)||2:37|
|9 Gert-Jan Bosman (Netherlands)||2:37|
|10 Gianni Vermeersch (Belgium)||2:44|
|11 Mike Teunissen (Netherlands)||2:55|
|12 Anthony Turgis (France)||2:59|
|13 Michael Boros (Czech Republic)||3:07|
|14 Logan Owen (United States of America)||3:14|
|15 Martijn Budding (Netherlands)||3:24|
|16 Stan Godrie (Netherlands)||3:32|
|17 Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spain)||4:03|
|18 Jonas Pedersen (Denmark)||4:06|
|19 Clement Russo (France)||4:12|
|20 Fabien Doubey (France)||4:12|
|21 Gioele Bertolini (Italy)||4:13|
|22 Clément Venturini (France)||4:16|
|23 Jakub Skala (Czech Republic)||4:18|
|24 Curtis White (United States of America)||4:20|
|25 Fabian Lienhard (Switzerland)||4:22|
|26 Jens Adams (Belgium)||4:39|
|27 Matej Lasak (Czech Republic)||5:06|
|28 Yannick Eckmann (United States of America)||5:14|
|29 Severin Saegesser (Switzerland)||5:20|
|30 Cody Kaiser (United States of America)||5:38|
|31 Steven James (Great Britain)||5:54|
|32 Nicolas Samparisi (Italy)||5:57|
|33 Lukas Müller (Switzerland)||6:26|
|34 Tobin Ortenblad (United States of America)||6:30|
|35 Vojtech Nipl (Czech Republic)||6:34|
|36 Ondrej Glajza (Slovakia)||6:40|
|37 Dylan Page (Switzerland)||6:46|
|38 Lars Forster (Switzerland)||6:54|
|39 Felix Drumm (Germany)||7:16|
|40 Michael Van Den Ham (Canada)||7:28|
|41 Ben Sumner (Great Britain)||-1 Lap|
|42 Yannick Gruner (Germany)||-1 Lap|
|43 Luc Turchi (Luxembourg)||-1 Lap|
|44 Lukas Meiler (Germany)||-1 Lap|
|45 Adam Martin (Great Britain)||-1 Lap|
|46 Toki Sawada (Japan)||-1 Lap|
|47 Max Lindenau (Germany)||-1 Lap|
|48 Martin Eriksson (Sweden)||-1 Lap|
|49 Kota Yokoyama (Japan)||-1 Lap|
|50 Bartosz Mikler (Poland)||-2 Laps|
|51 Felipe Orts Lloret (Spain)||-2 Laps|
|52 Jack Clarkson (Great Britain)||-2 Laps|
|53 Massimo Morabito (Luxembourg)||-2 Laps|
|54 Connor Wilson (Canada)||-2 Laps|
|55 Simon Vozar (Slovakia)||-2 Laps|
|56 Tom Chapman (Australia)||-2 Laps|
|57 Alexander Meyland (Australia)||-3 Laps|
|DNF Scott Thiltges (Luxembourg)|
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