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Another Belgian Sven Win – Van Eyndt Takes First Title at 2012 UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships – Updated: Men 30-34 Full Report, Video Interview, Full Results, Galleries
2012 Master’s Cyclocross World Championships – Friday, January 13, 2012 – Men’s 30-34 Final
by Grant Berry
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – Deep, soupy mud was a thing of the past when racing resumed at Eva Bandman Park on Friday for the first event final of the 2012 UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships; the Men’s 30-34 race. The winter storm that blew in during the middle of the afternoon the previous day had transformed the sloppy, rutted course into something that more resembled, and rode like, a slot car track. The course crew had their work cut out for them, as they shortened the length of the lap and went to work laying down sand and salt to provide a bit of grip and safety in areas where it was most needed.
None of this seemed to matter to 2009 Masters World Champion Sven Van Eyndt from Belgium as he put himself in an excellent position to repeat his victory by taking the holeshot, and immediately putting daylight between himself and his competition three turns into the race. Half a lap later, Andrew Reardon (Bob’s Red Mill; USA) had made contact and passed Van Eyndt. At the end of lap one, Reardon had a five second gap but hit the deck hard in an icy corner, and was slow to get up. As Van Eyndt assumed the lead, he had his own issues as he reached the frozen sand pit for the second time and experienced the first of many dropped chains.
“I got a gap in the beginning, and then threw my chain off the big ring. I only traveled here with one bike and two sets of wheels, so I had to make do and not change bikes. I ended up losing my chain a total of three times, but luckily none of them were terminal,” said Van Eyndt.
American Thomas Turner, who was trailing the Belgian, immediately got on the gas to try and take advantage of the Belgian’s mechanical woes, but Van Eyndt bounced back quickly and closed the gap as the rutted mud seemed to get the better of Turner.
“The course was very rough, and the ruts were really hard to navigate. The course had changed so much from the past few days; I just never really felt that comfortable out there today,” Turner explained.
With three laps to go, Turner and Van Eyndt crossed the line together and were being chased hard by Reardon who turned the fastest lap of the race and was able to close the gap down to 12 seconds.
At the flyover, Turner had opened up a gap of his own on Van Eydnt. By the time they made their way to the steep rock stepped run up, Van Eyndt and Turner were together, and the Belgian again assumed the lead. Reardon continued to close down on the leaders, and the gap was now seven seconds.
With a lap and a half to go, Van Eyndt had opened up a 17 second gap on Turner and looked to be riding away with the title.
“I was able to get a gap in the technical section of the course in the woods, and just tried to stay smooth throughout,” Van Eyndt added.
Reardon was another 20 seconds in arrears, and was now being pursued by Jose Dominguez of Spain for the final spot on the podium.
“We all had a few mishaps, and I had some chain issues and hit the ground a few times. I was able to make contact a couple times, but finally settled into third,” said Reardon.
Van Eyndt was able to stretch his lead in the last third of a lap, and crossed the line with his arms raised as the first Master’s World Champion to be crowned in Louisville. Turner rode in for second, as Reardon was able to hold on for third.
While fewer than the expected 400 Europeans came over to contest this event, the ones who did were strong contenders. This was clearly on display in the first championship event of the weekend, as Van Eyndt, the 2009 Cyclocross Masters World Champion, came to Louisville and regained the blue and rainbow striped jersey.