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Thijs Al took the holeshot and never looked back.

by Bart Hazen of the Daily Peloton

Thijs Al (AA Drink Cycling Team) has won the international cyclocross of Heerlen (February 14). Thijs Al animated the race from the beginning and won with a lead of almost 30 seconds over his closest competitors. The Belgian Elite without contract Champion Ben Berden (Revor) won the sprint for second ahead of Gerben de Knegt (Rabobank). Richard Groenendaal, who rode his final race on home soil before his retirement, finished in fourth. Dutch Champion Lars Boom, who made his comeback after an illness, finished in fifth. For Thijs Al it’s his fourth victory of the season after Harderwijk, Antwerpen and the World Cup of Zolder.

Thijs Al as usual grabbed the holeshot, and quickly a dozen riders joined Al before Thijs Al attacked together with Gerben de Knegt. Al got rid of his companion and created a solid lead on a chasing group with Gerben de Knegt, Lars Boom, Ben Berden, Jan Verstraeten, Bart Aernouts, U23 World Champion Phillip Walsleben and Richard Groenendaal.

About halfway through the race Lars Boom tried to bridge across to Thijs Al. It looked like he was going to succeed but couldn’t close the final 50 meters.

In the remaining of the race Berden and De Knegt dropped their companions in the battle for second as Thijs Al was unbeatable today.

The U23 race, which was combined with the elite race, was won by World Champion Phillip Walsleben. His compatriot Marcel Meisen finished in second and Mitchell Huenders in third. Walsleben rode a strong race and was part of the chasing group with Boom and Groenendaal for most part of the race.

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Sanne Van Paassen runs to victory

The winner of the 2008 edition, Klaas Vantornout cancelled his participation due to an illness.

Sanne van Paassen Dominant in Women’s race
The women’s race in Heerlen was won in an impressive way by Sanne van Paassen (ZZPR). At 39 seconds it was Saskia Elemans (Team Flexpoint) who finished in second. About 20 seconds later was van Paassen’s teammate, Dutch Champion Daphny van den Brand (ZZPR), completing the podium. Belgian Sanne Cant and Briton Nikki Harris completed the top five.

Elemans and Van Paassen attacked already in the beginning of the race. At first, Belgian Sanne Cant was able to follow but was dropped one lap later. The key moment for the win came halfway through the race when Elemans had to drop off Van Paassen’s pace. In the remaining laps, Van Paassen continued to extend her gap to win with 39 seconds on Elemans.

Eising and Van Poppel outstanding in youth races
Junior World Champion Tijmen Eising and National Champion with the beginners Danny van Poppel have both gave a one-men show in their races. In the Junior race Eising got only some resistance of David van der Poel, but ended in second place. Mike Teunissen finished as third.

With the beginners, Danny van Poppel dominated just as Eising from start to finish. For Van Poppel it was his 18th victory of the season. Eelke van der Horst and Pjort van Beek finished as second and third.

Full results below.

Photo Gallery:

Result Men
1  Al, Thijs
2  Berden, Ben
3  de Knegt, Gerben
4  Groenendaal, Richard
5  Boom, Lars
6  Verstraeten, Jan
7  Aernouts, Bart
8  van Ijzendoorn, Eddy
9  van Gils, Wilant
10 Bianco, Marco
11 Amerongen, Thijs
12 Gil, Mariusz
13 Vannuffel, Tim
14 van Leeuwen, Patrick
15 van Heeswijk, Roy
16 van Grembergen, Vendric
17 van den Heuvel, Peter
18 Kamphof, Jan-Willem

Result U23
1 Walsleben, Philip
2 Meisen, Marcel
3 Huenders, Mitchell
4 van der Horst, Geert
5 Slenter, Kaj
6 van Erp, Jordy
7 Hereijgers, Kobus l
8 Arts, Edwin
9 Barkhuis, Bart
10 Smit, Mark
11 Volleberg, Lucien

Result Women
1 Van Paassen, Sanne
2 Elemans, Saskia
3 van den Brand, Daphny
4 Cant, Sanne
5 Harris, Nikki
6 Vanderbeken, Joyce
7 Hormes, Reza
8 Francissen, Abke
9 Ogishima, Mika
10 Stultiens, Sabrina
11 Grimberg, Arenda
12 van Nieuwpoort, Tessa
13 Bie De-Leyten, Nicolle
14 Talen, Rebecca
15 Vardaros, Christine
16 van Leijen, Helena
17 Verberne, Lana
18 Ockeloen, Iris
19 Mulder, Mascha
20 Alleleijn, Marianne
21 Killaars, Anouk

Result Junior
1 Eising, Tijmen
2 van der Poel, David
3 Teunissen, Mike
4 Dolfsma, Emiel
5 Mellemans, Jeffrey
6 Stultiens, Dennis
7 van Dijke, Nick
8 Dekker, Axel
9 Cook, Matthew

Result Beginners

1 van Poppel, Danny
2 van der Horst, Eelke
3 van Beek, Pjotr
4 van Rooyen, Bryan
5 van der Zijden, Lars
6 van Bakel, Robbie
7 de Laat, Jasper
8 van der Veeken, Maarten
9 Killaars, Dennis