UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup: Van der Haar comes of age

UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup: Van der Haar comes of age

Lars VAN DER HAAR (Ned) / Philipp WALSLEBEN (Ger)Six days after the opening of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Valkenburg, the best riders in the world were lucky to enjoy mild and sunny conditions in Southern Bohemia on Saturday. Lars Van Der Haar was the only one to repeat his victory a week ago. In the other categories, Czech Toupalik (under 21), Dutchman Mathieu Van der Poel (under 23) and Katherine Compon (women) were the winners of the day.

Men: Van der Haar the strong man

If some doubted Lars Van der Haar’s ability to take the reins and keep them in top flight, they were proved wrong by the Rabobank Develoment hopeful. In the Czech leg of the World Cup in which he finished second a year ago, the former two times under-23 world champion was simply too strong for the rest of the field. In spite of a mechanical, he outsprinted Germany’s Philipp Walsleben (BKCP – Powerplus) while Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb – Napoleon Games), the winner last year in Tabor, finished third 11 seconds adrift.
«I’m lost for words. It’s unbelievable. I’m in the shape of my life and I really mean to make the best of it. Philipp was really strong and my only chance was to attack. I had never sprinted against him, now I know I can do it, » he said.

Overall: Van der Haar of course…

Two legs and two wins – Van der Haar is a clear overall leader. Before Koksijde a month away, he holds160 points while Philipp Walsleben and Kewin Pauwels are tied on 135 points. The season has only just started but the promising rider from the Netherlands already has a serous edge.

Women: Compton under pressure

She was the woman to beat. After the withdrawal of Marianne Vos, Katherine Compton was the clear favourite for the second leg of the UCIWorld Cup. But the American had never really been comfortable with the Tabor course. It is perhaps why the Trek Cyclocross Collective rider took the reins early to lead from start to finish. Behind her, Young Telenet Idea team-mates Nikki Harris of Britain and Pavla Havlikova, the local favourite, tried to react. In vain. A mechanical towards the end of the course nearly broke Compton’s hopes. Havlikova and Harris came very close to catching the runaway leader but were finally forced to concede defeat. It was Compton’s 15th World Cup win, at 34. On the line, Harris was second, 6 seconds behind with Havlikova third a further second adrift for the first podium in her career.

Overall: Compton’s clearly ambitious

« I want to win the World Cup again ». Katherine Compton made her ambitions clear. Winner of the international circuit a year ago, the rider from Colorado is eager to retain her crown. She claimed back her leader’s jersey on 110 points, ahead of Harris on 95 and Havlikova on 75.

Under 23: Van der Poel is ready

Third a week ago in Valkenburg for his debut in the category, Mathieu Van der Poel wasted no time in winning his first race in the under-23 category. The son of 1996 world champion Adrie beat the Belgian pair of Gianni Vermeersch and Wout Van Aert by three and 17 seconds respectively. At just 18, Van der poel, who is also the grandson of Raymond Poulidor, is already worthy of his elders.

Overall: Van der Poel in the lead

The Dutchman is the first rider since Niels Albert in 2004 to win an under-23 World Cup race in his first season. Van der Poel did even better than the Belgian legend by snatching the overall leader’s jersey. Winner in the junior ranks last season, he was quick to claim back a top spot. After two races he stands on 101 points, ahead of Van Aert on 95 and Vermeersch on 80.

Under 21: Home win for Toupalik

Only 20th a week ago in Valkenburg, Czech Adam Toupalik made the best of the home advantage to be crowned on the Tabor circuit. The Czech champion, third in the worlds in Louisville last season, won with a 10 seconds lead over Belgian Eli Iserbyt and 15 seconds over Dutchman Joris Nieuwenhuis. Winner in the Netherlands a week ago, France’s Lucas Dubau finished 8th, 32 seconds off the pace.

Overall: Consistency rewards Iserbyt

Fourth in Valkenburg and second in Tabor, Eli Iserbyt will hold the World Cup leader’s jersey in the next leg in November in the sandy dunes of Koksijde. On 90 points, he leads Lucas Dubau by four points while Adam Toupalik is now third on 71.
Next leg of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup on November 23 in Koksijde (Belgium). The races are broadcast live on  youtube.com/ucichannel

2013 World Cup concludes with exciting final DHI

2013 World Cup concludes with exciting final DHI

getENewsPicture.aspThe 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano concluded on Sunday with the sixth and final round of the Downhill, in Leogang, Austria.  Rachel Atherton (GT Factory), despite finishing second in Leogang to Emmeline Ragot (Lapierre Gravity Republic), easily took the overall title in the women’s competition.  In the men’s competition there was an upset, with Canada’s Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) scoring his third straight World Cup victory to wrest the title away from Gee Atherton (GT Factory), who has worn the leader’s jersey since the first round.After raining in the days preceding the World Cup, it cleared for the Final, however, the course was now very different from both training and qualifying, which threw many of the riders off balance.

The women’s race saw a steady turnover in riders on the Hot Seat, as the leading time was chipped away.  Manon Carpenter (Saracen Madison), fourth from last to start was the first to go under four minutes.  However, her time in the lead was short lived, as Ragot came through two riders later, knocking nearly five seconds off the top time.  The only rider left was Atherton, who has been dominant on the circuit this season, with four World Cup wins and the world title.  The British rider was four-tenths of a second ahead at the first split, but lost it all by the second section and fell behind by half a second at the finish.

“It is good to finish the season with another win,” agreed Ragot. “I can’t expect more. I was gunning to win, I know I made a couple mistakes at the end and messed up the last part. I took a couple risks, (today) but not too much, I didn’t want to crash and lose my second overall. I was mellow but still pushing it a bit. But it was okay finally. I am really happy. We won the team overall. All good.”

Atherton wasn’t sure where she lost the time, “I don’t know … a win, a World Cup win is a World Cup win, and I wanted to win this for sure. I knew that Ragot wanted to win so bad. A little bit of me knows its good to go outta the season with someone else winning. It’s good for the sponsors. Dare I say if the same person wins all the time it gets kinda boring. It is definitely going to motivate me this winter. If you win everything its hard to train in the winter. Now I have half a second to find this winter.”

Atherton took the women’s overall title with 1295 points to Ragot’s 1165, followed by Carpenter at 1045.  Tahnee Seagrave (FMD Racing/Intense Cycles) won the Junior title, in ninth place overall.

The men’s title race was down to the wire.  After Smith won last week at round five in Hafjell, Norway, he closed the gap to Gee Atherton to a mere 17 points going into Leogang.  In Qualifying, Smith was first and Atherton third, giving Smith the virtual lead by three points.  The overall title would come down to whichever rider finished in front of the other in the Final.

George Brannigan (Trek World Racing) was the early leader, until round three winner Remi Thirion (Commencal/Riding Addiction) bumped him, and then it was a steady progression of faster times.  Loic Bruni (Lapierre Gravity Republic), fourth from last, took the lead with the first sub 3:26 time, and neither Atherton nor the second fastest qualifier, Mic Hannah (Hutchinson UR) could match him, leaving only Smith. The Canadian only needed to beat Atherton to take the title, and he did it decisively, knocking 1.311 seconds off Bruni’s time for his third win of the season, and the overall title.

“It is indescribable, a dream come true,” stated Smith. “This has been the most pressure I have ever had in my entire life. I knew the World Cup overall was in contention and I am just so pumped to come away with a win. I knew was having a good run, so I just went for it. Before and my run I was really quite, relaxed and my run went great.”

“The run was good, but it was hard to know how good. The course was so dry and so fast compared to practice and qualifier. I knew I was going faster, but it is always hard to know about the other guys. You never know until you cross the line. At World Cups things are so tight, you never think you are going to win until you cross. So when I crossed and saw the reactions it was good.”

Smith won the title with 1199 points to Atherton’s 1121.  World champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), who did not race after injuring his knee in training, managed to hang onto third overall with 673 points, just two ahead of Loic.

Loris Vergier (Lapierre Gravity Republic) took the Junior men’s overall title after finishing second in the final round to Noel Niederberger (Gstaad-Scott), and one spot ahead of the World Cup leader coming into the race, Michael Jones (FMD Racing/Intense Cycles).  He retook the lead with 210 points, four ahead of Jones, with Niederberger third at 185 points.