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Cyclo-Cross World Cup #8 - CDM
Liévin, France, January 13, 2008
Race 4 - January 13: Elite Men
Second World Cup victory for Lars Boom
By Brecht Decaluwé in Liévin
Two weeks ahead of the World Championships in Treviso Dutch Champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) gave the opposition another glance of his capabilities by grabbing the victory in Liévin, France. It is the second World Cup victory of the season for the young Dutchman after his win in Pijnacker, back in November.
Soon after the start, Boom got away with Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux) and Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) and nobody, not even Sven Nys (Rabobank), got back to them. French Champion Mourey pleased his home crowd by leading most of the race, but when money time arrived he slipped out of contention for the victory. Boom exploited Mourey's crash early on in the penultimate lap and jumped away, leaving Wellens at a couple of metres and Mourey at ten seconds. Wellens couldn't close the gap down on Boom and had to settle for second place, just like he had to do in Pijnacker. Mourey realized there was nothing more than a third place left for him and eased off towards the finish line.
Far behind this great spectacle World Champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea Cycling Team) captured a good fourth place ahead of popular and surprisingly strong John Gadret (Ag2r - La Mondiale). Behind these two there was a big group fighting for sixth place and it was Kevin Pauwels (Fidea Cycling Team) who won that sprint, ahead of Zdenek Stybar (Fidea Cycling Team) and UCI-leader Nys.
Jonathan Page (Sunweb Pro Job) rode a good race and brought his group back in touch with the Nys-group as they hit the ultimate lap. Others profited from Page's work, and his 13th place doesn't reflect the performance he pulled off. USA champion Tim Johnson (Leer/Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) is recovering from the transition to Europe and was happy with his 25th place. Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.Com) had a good start but then steadily lost positions throughout the race and finally ended up finishing 37th, at two laps of winner Boom. The other North American participants didn't finish the penultimate World Cup race.
Lars Boom couldn't show his happiness at the finish line as he had to dig deep to keep off Wellens. At the post-race press grill he explained that this victory gave him a big boost with the World Championships being only two weeks away. "I feel good," Boom said, "but the others on the podium are good as well. Mourey was very strong; for sure he will be a candidate for the win in Treviso. I was surprised Nys wasn't there today," Boom examined his rivals.
Boom claimed that Wellens played it tactically during the first few laps. "He was just sitting back, and then jumped away after two laps," Boom smiled, "but why not. He's right to do so, I guess."
French champion Mourey eliminated himself for the win after a crash in the penultimate lap, although he was clearly a candidate for the win today. "He took a risk by not riding on rino tyres. Anyway, I was able to follow him on the climbs, so my climbing was okay," winner Boom looked back on a good race.
"I'm a newbie in the elite ranks, so I've got no expectations at all for the World Championships," Boom concluded, leaving the pressure to other riders. One of them was Bart Wellens, and the Belgian didn't mind too much about what Boom said. "I've been sick last week and could only start a tough training week on Thursday. Before that I had the impression that there was more snot in my head, than brains," Wellens joked.
"I felt that I couldn't deal with accelerations so I tried to keep the tempo steady. I can finish as runner-up on a rather economical way, and that boosts my confidence for the World Championships in two weeks," Wellens claimed. The Belgian explained that he knew it would be between Boom and himself for the victory. "It took too long before Nys came back, so I knew he wasn't good today. For sure I was the weakest of the three of us, but I knew that Mourey wouldn't stay on his bike with his slick tyres. Boom jumped away when he crashed and I couldn't close the small gap down," Wellens added.
Page and Johnson were happy with their performances. Page finished as 13th although he finished in the group that sprinted for sixth place. Page probably realized he rode well, but he couldn't help referring to the riding skills from Wilant Van Gils. "It's not the first time he took me with him when he crashed," Page complained.
The American did a lot of work in the chasing group by pulling against the wind on the paved road, but eventually others profited from his work. "I try to ride like a champion. I brought them back and then Pauwels jumped away, while he didn't do a thing before that," Page was disappointed by the young Belgian's move.
Johnson reacted philosophically when referred to the fact that he as well had been working a lot today. "Today they profit from your work, but within two weeks I hope to be the one that is jumping away behind their backs," Johnson said. After a disappointing performance in the previous World Cup in Hofstade the freshly crowned USA Champion was happy with today's race. "It's much better than Hofstade. Now I know how to ride a bike again," Johnson referred to the fact that flying over to Europe gave him weird sensations on a bike. "Anyway, this course is just fantastic. It's real cyclo-cross with a lot of elevation and curbs in it. With the headwind on the home straight you had to be in a group to fight the wind."
How it unfolded
Mourey took the best start in Liévin, and he was only followed by three other riders. Gerben De Knegt could only remain with the French champion for one lap, but Boom and Wellens stuck to Mourey's wheel. Eleven riders were chasing behind the leaders, and Nys did most of the work in this group. After the second lap, Nys seemed to join the leaders, but when Mourey jumped away right away Nys cracked. Mourey kept pulling in the lead and during the third lap he was on his own. Behind them, Nys ended up in a group with Vervecken, Gadret and Stybar. Page rode together with Thijs Al, Steve Chainel, Wilant Van Gils and Marco Bianco at about one minute of the leaders.
Meanwhile Klaas Vantornout abandoned the race. The number three on the UCI ranking was hit by a car during training on Saturday and was still bothered by the crash.
Mourey was brought back by Boom and Wellens with four laps to go. UCI leader Nys was in trouble in the chasing group and he had to let go of Vervecken, Gadret and Stybar who were chasing at 35" of the leaders; Nys was at 50". Johnson fought hard to pull off a decent performance, riding in the top 25.
With three laps to go, Stybar was dropped as well, and together with Nys they dropped back into a group with Simunek, De Knegt, Aernouts and Dieter Vanthourenhout. Fifteen seconds further was Page chasing with Bianco and Pauwels, while Van Gils, Groenendaal and Al weren't too far back either.
With two laps to go Mourey attacked the leaders, but he crashed in the slippery descent early on in this penultimate lap. Boom took over from Mourey and jumped away, with Wellens unable to close down the gap immediately. As the leaders hit the ultimate lap Wellens still hadn't bridged up with Boom and was trailing at five seconds; Mourey was at 15" from leader Boom. Vervecken and Gadret would be battling for fourth place while Page brought a six-man group back to the Nys-group.
Boom stood tall and came over the finish with a grimace on his face. He captured his second World Cup victory of the season, ahead of Wellens and Mourey. Vervecken dropped Gadret in the last lap and Pauwels won the sprint for sixth place from the ten chasers.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Brecht Decaluwé/Cyclingnews.com
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Images by Isosport
Images by Mario Varrewaere /www.cycling-pics.be
1 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank 1.04.18 2 Bart Wellens (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 0.17 3 Francis Mourey (Fra) Française des Jeux 0.47 4 Erwin Vervecken (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.36 5 John Gadret (Fra) AG2r - La Mondiale 1.48 6 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team 1.51 7 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 1.57 8 Sven Nys (Bel) Rabobank 1.56 9 Radomír Simunek (Cze) Palmans-Cras 1.58 10 Gerben De Knegt (Ned) Rabobank 1.59 11 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Rabobank 2.08 12 Thijs Al (Ned) BeOne CRC Team 2.10 13 Jonathan Page (USA) Sunweb Pro Job 2.12 14 Richard Groenendaal (Ned) AA Sport Drinks 2.30 15 Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Easypay Cyclocross Team 2.36 16 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti 2.46 17 Wilant Van Gils (Ned) ZZPR.nl 3.22 18 Julien Belgy (Fra) Bouygues Télécom 3.32 19 Marek Cichosz (Pol) CWKS Legia Warszawa 3.47 20 Jan Verstraeten (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 4.05 21 Steve Chainel (Fra) Auber 93 4.19 22 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) US Domont 4.24 23 Pirmin Lang (Swi) Delta 4.34 24 Christian Heule (Swi) Stevens Racing Team 4.37 25 Tim Johnson (USA) Leer/Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com 4.48 26 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb Pro Job 4.57 27 Michael Müller (Swi) Team Empella Suisse 5.02 28 Petr Dlask (Cze) Fidea Cycling Team 5.11 29 Marius Gil (Pol) 5.23 30 David Derepas (Fra) VC Roubaix Lille Metropole 5.37 31 Milan Barenyi (Svk) CK ZP Sport a.s. Podbrezová +1 lap 32 Jan Chrobák (Cze) Johnson Controls AS 33 Marco Bianco (Ita) Arcobaleno Carraro 34 Sébastien Hansen (Fra) US Domont 35 Václav Metlicka (Svk) Team Kral R.C. Pfeil +2 laps 36 Gusty Bausch (Lux) 37 Jeremy Powers (USA) Cyclocrossworld.Com 38 Andreas Moser (Swi) Team Hörmann-Kramer 39 Bart Dirkx (Ned) TWC Tempo/BMV +3 laps 40 Roy Van Heeswijk (Ned) +4 laps 41 Osmond Bakker (Can) Stevens Cross 42 Aron Schooler (Can) 43 Martin Vestby (Nor) Norwegian National Team +5 laps 44 Pascal Bussieres (Can) DNF Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Fidea Cycling Team DNF Rob Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Tönissteiner DNF Rafael Visinelli (Ita) GS Forestale DNF Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona-YourKey.com DNF Molly Cameron (USA) Vanilla Bicycles-Stumptown Coffee DNF Robert Glajza (Svk) CK ZP Sport a.s. Podbrezová DNF Maros Kovac (Svk) DNF Johannes Sickmüller (Ger) Harvestehuder RSV v. 1909 DNF René Birkenfeld (Ger) Harvestehuder RSV v. 1909 DNF Mike Garrigan (Can) Epic Ride-Jetpower DNF David Pagnier (Fra) ASPTT Mulhouse