The U23 podium in Zolder. © Bart Hazen
by Bart Hazen
Wietse Bosmans Wins U23 World Cup in Zolder
Belgian Wietse Bosmans took his biggest win in his young career by winning the U23 World Cup Cyclocross in Zolder, Belgium. After a thrilling battle he beat Tijmen Eising by just a few meters, with Mathieu Boulo completing the podium. European Champion Lars van der Haar, Elia Silvestri, Vincent Baestaens, Karel Hnik, Micki van Empel, Gert-Jan Bosman and Arnaud Grand completed the top 10. Vincent Baestaens retains the World Cup overall lead followed by Bosmans and Lars van der Haar.
The Americans rode a good race with two riders in the top 20. American national champion Daniel Summerhill finished in thirteenth, 1:53 down on Bosmans and Zach McDonald finished in seventeenth at 2:44. Jerome Townsend 31st, Cody Kaiser 35th, Chris Hurst 39th and Steve Fisher 41st were the other Americans to complete this heroic race on the snow-covered course on the Formula One circuit in Zolder.
Seven riders broke clear from the start, including Arnaud Grand, Vincent Baestaens, Mathieu Boulo, Elia Silvestri, Jim Aernouts, Wietse Bosmans and Tijmen Eising. In the second lap Boulo attacked his companions and created a 10 second gap on the first chasers, Wietse Bosmans and Tijmen Eising. European Champion Lars van der Haar didn’t start well but moved up to fourth place by the end of the third lap, followed by Italian Elia Silvestri and World Cup leader Vincent Baestaens. With three laps to go Bosmans bridged up to Boulo and left the surprised Frenchman behind. Boulo dropped back to Eising in the battle for second.
Turning into the final lap Bosmans had a six second lead on the chasing duo. On the final steep descents on the course Bosmans crashed into a fence, giving Eising, who got rid off Boulo, a pass back to the front of the race. Soon after though, Eising slipped in a corner and Bosmans created a gap which he rode to win his first World Cup in his career.
“In the final lap I maybe was a little to euphoric. I couldn’t keep the perfect line and crashed into a fence. I fell on my elbow and collarbone but luckily it isn’t broken. Due to the crash Eising returned but I was able to ride away again after he slipped away too. I gave everything to win,” smiled Bosmans at the press conference. “It was a matter of making less mistakes on this dangerous course. You needed to stay focused. When Boulo broke clear I wasn’t in the perfect position to react but I could bridge up very easily. It’s a pity that Baestaens didn’t finish a few places down otherwise I [would have taken] the World Cup lead as well. I am looking forward to the next weeks. The course of the Belgian Championships in Antwerp has to suit me.” World Cup leader Vincent Baestaens stayed in the Overall World Cup lead but didn’t have his best legs today. “I chose the wrong tires, slicks. But I won’t use this as an excuse. I just hadn’t the legs today. I made lots of mistakes on different places. I also crahed in the end. It was a treacherous course.”
Lars Förster Best in Juniors Race
European Champion Lars Förster soloed to his first World Cup win in Zolder. In the Juniors race he was too strong for the other racers and Czech Vojtech Nipl and Dutch Stan Godrie finished in second and third. World Cup leader Laurens Sweeck finished in fourth after a crash on the first lap. Jakub Skala, Thomas Medek, Jaap de Man, Yorben van Tichelt, Diether Sweeck and Fabien Doubey rounded off the top 10. With two World Cups remaining in Pont-Chateau and Hoogerheide Laurens Sweeck retains in the overall lead.
The Americans in Zolder are still working up to this level of racing, and some are still recovering from even getting there. Andrew Dillman was the best junior in 29th at 4:32 followed by Bjorn Fox (31st), Jeff Bahnson (37th), Zane Godby (41st), Gunnar Bergey (45th) and Cypress Gorry (46th).
On the snow covered course in Zolder it was Dutch Stan Godrie who had the best start, followed by Yannick Eckmann, who though German can be found hanging out with the Euro Cross Camp crowd, Lars Förster, Vojtech Nipl, Diether Sweeck, Yorben van Tichelt, Clement Venturini and Fabien Doubey. World Cup leader Laurens Sweeck crashed in the beginning and crossed the line in 18th position by the end of the first lap.
Förster took the lead in the second of five laps and extended his lead on his rivals lap by lap. Halfway through the race Nipl tried to bridge across but didn’t succeed. The battle for third was more exciting between Godrie, Van Tichelt, Skala, Medek, Diether Sweeck and the returned Laurens Sweeck. The decision came in the final lap when Godrie and Laurens Sweeck dropped the others on one of the many climbs on the course. In the sprint Godrie took the final podium step.
|5||VAN DER HAAR Lars||NETHERLANDS||+00:44|
|7||HNIK Karel||CZECH REPUBLIC||+01:07|
|8||VAN EMPEL Micki||NETHERLANDS||+01:12|
|11||PAPRSTKA Tomas||CZECH REPUBLIC||+01:48|
|13||SUMMERHILL Daniel||UNITED STATES||+01:53|
|14||VAN DER HEIJDEN Michiel||NETHERLANDS||+01:53|
|17||MCDONALD Zach||UNITED STATES||+02:44|
|19||BOROS Michael||CZECH REPUBLIC||+02:56|
|25||DE BIE Sean||BELGIUM||+03:37|
|27||POLNICKY Radek||CZECH REPUBLIC||+04:08|
|31||TOWNSEND Jerome||UNITED STATES||+05:22|
|33||DE CLERCQ Angelo||BELGIUM-B||+06:19|
|35||KAISER Cody||UNITED STATES||+07:10|
|39||HURST Chris||UNITED STATES||-1LAP|
|40||GUDDAL Jonas Schau||DENMARK||-1LAP|
|41||FISHER Steve||UNITED STATES||-1LAP|
|2||NIPL Vojtech||CZECH REPUBLIC||+00:30|
|5||SKALA Jakub||CZECH REPUBLIC||+00:39|
|6||MEDEK Tomas||CZECH REPUBLIC||+00:42|
|7||DE MAN Jaap||NETHERLANDS||+00:58|
|8||VAN TICHELT Yorben||BELGIUM||+01:03|
|13||BOHATA Tomas||CZECH REPUBLIC||+02:10|
|24||SVOBODA Tomas||CZECH REPUBLIC||+03:39|
|25||VAN DE VELDE Matthias||BELGIUM-B||+04:01|
|29||DILLMAN Andrew||UNITED STATES||+04:32|
|31||FOX Bjorn||UNITED STATES||+04:56|
|33||VAN BEEK Pjotr||NETHERLANDS||+05:05|
|36||BREZNA Jan||CZECH REPUBLIC||+05:08|
|37||BAHNSON Jeff||UNITED STATES||+05:09|
|38||VAN AERT Wout||BELGIUM-B||+05:27|
|41||GODBY Zane||UNITED STATES||+06:45|
|43||OLSEN Emil Arvid||DENMARK||+06:55|
|45||BERGEY Gunnar||UNITED STATES||-1LAP|
|46||GORRY Cypress||UNITED STATES||-1LAP|