5 January 2014

Lars van den Haar stays the course to extend his lead in World Cup

Unlike the earlier women's race in Rome of the Cyclo-Cross UCI World Cup the men's standings were a lot closer heading into the penultimate race and first of the new year. Going into race 6 the standings were

  • 1 Lars van den Haar NED 337
  • 2 Philipp Walsleben GER 304
  • 3 Klaas Vantornout BEL 279
  • 4 Kevin Pauwels BEL 275
  • 5 Niels Albert BEL 273
  • 6 Bart Aernouts BEL 227
The switch backs on lap 2 showing the leading groups
The 80 points on offer for winning would be a great prize for any of the top 5 and give any of them a great chance of winning. Walsleben of course would be looking to finish ahead of van den Haar because if the Dutchman having won rounds 1,2 and 5 could be almost unsurpassable were he to get his fourth win of the season on the Race course outside Rome today.

Walsleben it was who went straight to the front to avoid carnage at the first sharp bend and he was joined by the Czech rider Martin Bina. At the first hurdles van den Haar was some distance back from the leaders. Crossing the line at the end of the first lap Bina had just taken up the pace from Walsleben, closley followed by Niels Albert BEL and Francis Mourey FRA. A further nine seconds back there was a group of three W Bosmans and Bart Wellens of Belgium and Corne van Kessel from the Netherlands. In a large group about 16 seconds back was the World Cup leader van den Haar in 13th place.

Mourey started to struggle on lap two and get distanced from the other three leaders., he found himself 10 seconds down. Up to 9th now was van den Haar but some 29 seconds behind the group containing Walsleben. On the third lap Albert put in a bit of a kick and Bina and Walsleben were not able to respond immediately, so the gap continued to grow, especially when Bina hit a rut on the turn after the off camber section. The wind and rain started up again during lap 3 making an already tough course even harder. Albert had opened up a 13 second lead by the end of that lap but Mourey had caught the other two up. The chase group behind them was now up to four having been joined by Dutchman Thijs van Amerongen, but just 4 seconds behind them was Lars van den Haar looking to limit and indeed reduce his loses to Walsleben and Albert.

The group containing Lar van den Haar had caught the second group on the switch backs and he was was soon up into 5th place on the fourth lap before they tackled the hurdles. Soon he was kicking on by himself chasing after Bina and just ahead of him Walsleben.

Walsleben fourth pursued by van den Haar
However, by the them they next took the hurdles Bina had been wheeled back in my Mourey and Walsleben but worringly for the German his Dutch nemesis was on his wheel. Shortly after though Mourey put in an attack and only Bina could stay with him, but van den Haar survived better than Walsleben. But the Dutchman was not giving up and Bina soon lost the wheel of Mourey and then was passed by van den Haar. Walsleben meanwhile continued to drop back into the field. At the line at the end of the lap Walsleben had lost half and minute and was now 7 places behind van den Haar, with three laps to go.

On the next lap as Walsleben dropped the group that had caught up with him on the line van den Haar went away from Mourey but the Frenchmen would let him get away and they crossed the line about 2 seconds loser to Albert than the lap previously. Next lap in it was Mourey's turn to have a little dig, and the World Champion Sven Nys was now up to fourth place having caught and dropped Bina.

Taking the bell Albert recorded a slightly slower lap, and was only 13 seconds ahead of Mourey who was only 4 seconds ahead of Nys and van den Haar and the chase was on to see if they could catch Albert. They were closing and closing but in the end the Belgian hung on my five seconds as van den Haar just took Nys in a photo.


1. Niels Albert BEL 1:06:33
2. Lars van den Haar NED +5
3. Sven Nys BEL+5
4. Francis Mourey FRA  +11
5. Martin Bina CZE +41
6. Rob Peeters BEL +46
7. Thijs van Amerongen NED +51
8. Tom Meeusen BEL +1:02
9. Corne van KesselNED +1:16
10. Bart Wellens BEL +1:20
11. Philipp Walsleben GER +1:33

So Lars van den Haar who took the leaders jersey of the world cup after the first race will wear it through to the last race, extending his lead. Niels Albert's win leapfrogs him into second place in the standings and Sven Nys has earned his first podium wearing his rainbow jersey. However, only a disaster will surely deny Lars van den Haar the World Cup win when they travel to Nommay, France for the final round on 26th January; indeed there are only 3 riders who even stand a chance.

World Cup Standings

1. Lars van den Haar NED 407
2. Niels Albert Bel 353
3. Philipp Walsleben GER 344
4. Kevin Pauwels BEL 313
5. Klass Vantornout BEL 279
6. Francis Mourey FRA 270
7. Thijs van Amerongen NED 267
8. Sven Nys BEL 264
9. Bart Aernouts 264
10. Rob Peeters 248

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