UCI Cyclocross Worldcup Valkenburg

Lars van der Haar is the undisputed king of Cauberg. For the third time in a row the guy from Amerfort who is racing in the jersey of Team Giant-Alpecin managed to take the victory of  this worldcup race home.

Limburg is the mekka of cycling in the Netherlands and the Cauberg is some kind of holy ground for all dutch cyclists. Quite a few  world championships found their decision on the famous climb where the Amstel Gold race finishes too. Since 2011 the flanks of this imporant dutch hill host a cyclocross race which became consistent part of the worldcup calendar in 2013.

The track which has been laid out on this limburgian slope is for sure one of the most demanding tracks of the whole cyclocross calendar. Of course the short and steep climbs give some advantage to lightweighted riders like van der Haar, but the tricky descends, ant the muddy and deep ground as well  provide some demanding and strength-sapping challenges for all riders.

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Teammates get opponents

The first few races of this young season showed a duell between the teammates Jappe Jaspers and Jens Dekker. For worldcup races, the up and coming riders assembly under their nations jerseys instead of those of their teams. Therefore the two teammates of the Enertherm-BKCP cycling team turned into opponents wearing the belgian and dutch national jerseys.

Since it was a race in front of his own people, and since Dekker managed to win the last races ahead of Jaspers, he seemed to be the favorite for this weekend. Was it this role, or did the parcours suite Jappe Jaspers more than Dekker? This question may remain unanswered forever. Nevertheless Jaspers showed that he was ready for success right from the start. And therefore Jens Dekker hat to be satisfied finishing second ahead of belgian rider Seppe Rombouts.

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Out of the sudden it was Fratelli d’Italia

In the category of the U23 riders, the belgians had to be considered to be the favorites. Quinten Hermans and Yannick Peeters both were quite experienced in international competitions and had shown some good performances earlier. But sometimes things turn out different than expected. Even though his name was not noticed very often before, the italian Gioele Bertolini beeing ranked no 42 in the UCI cyclocross ranking of U23 riders mad his entrance in the starting grid as the first one. During the second half of the race Bertolini managed to disengage from his opponents and cross the finish line as a soloist.

Gioele Bertolini - in Sagan Style

Gioele Bertolini – in Sagan Style

Last year Eli Iserbyt dominated the U19 category, but this season he had to ascend into the U23 category. Having no UCI ranking up to now, Iserbyt hat to settle in the third row of the starting grid. And so it took quite an effort for the boy from Bavikhoven to make his way to the front of the race. Even though he manged quite an exciting pursuit he had to settle on second place  18 seconds behind the winner. Clement Russo gathered the last spot on the podium for France.

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On with the italian anthem for the second time

After the glamorous World Cup in Las Vegas, the first World Cup on traditional European soil was eagerly awaited. Would last year’s winner Katy Compton be able to take revenge for the defeat at their home race? How would Sanne Cant, winner of the Worldcup GC last year compete on the Cauberg? Katherina Nash, who was victorious in Vegas, did not start and so a change of leadership in the overall standings was to be expected.

Eva Lechner

Eva Lechner – eine starke Performance der Mountainbikerin

It were Nikki Harris from Great Britain and the italian mountainbike rider Eva Lechner who took responsibility for the race. For a long time the both of them were in control and lead the race, and so it looked like the specators were going to see close head to head race. But then destiny caught Nikki Harris who touched ground after a small fault. Now Lechner, who seemed to feel quite well on the up and downs of this hilly track managed to continue her race as a soloist taking a clear win.

When it starts to go wrong, things can turn really bad some times and this was what happened to Nikki Harris. Soon she had to give way to czech rider Pavla Havlikova and the young discovery of this race Kaitlin Antonneau from the USA. Right before the end the young american managed to pass Havlikova and finished 10 seconds ahead of the czech. Nikki Harris ended up on a sixth rank, which seemes to be a bit disappointing for the british rider after having performed so well in the beginning.

Eva Lechner, beeing second in Las Vegas as well, could take the white jersey of the GC leader.

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Van der Haar stays King of Cauberg

It seems to be his race. For the third time Caubergcyclocross is part of the UCI Cyclocross Worldcup and for the third time the winner is named Lars van der Haar.


Lars van der Haar – King of Cauberg

Right form the start Michael Vanthourenhout, former worldchampion of the U23 category and Sven Nys opened the race. But before the end of the first lap Wout van Aert who finished every single race he started in during this season as the winer, tried to take controle of the race. The vice worldchampion managed to establish a small gap of quite some meters between himself and the bunch of opponents. It looked as if he was going for another solo win. But there was Lars van der Haar who wanted to win this race for a third time. The dutch rider went into a counter attack and manged to close the gap to van Aert easily.

But he did not stay aside van Aert for long. As he recognized that he was the stronges on the short climbs, he parted from the rest and took a solo ride just like he did last year. He stayed concentrated and kept the lead right to the finishing line where he took the win one more time in front of hiw own people.

Right behind the leader, a thrilling fight for the remaining spots on the podium unfolded between Sven Nys, Wout van Aert and Kevin Pauwels. Shortly before the race came to an end Pauwels had to let his opponents go and went for fourth place. So it seemed to come to a showdown between the old and the young, but when van Aert attacked on one of the last climbs he manged to force Nys into a short fault and get away from the old fox.

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