MILTON KEYNES, England – Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) padded his lead as the 2014-2015 World Cup leader with his win at Milton Keynes ahead of teammate Klaas Vantornout.
Pauwels took to the front of the race from the start before making a slight mistake on an off-camber and muddy downhill that proved difficult for many riders through the course of the day.
Into the mix came Sascha Webber (Veranclassic -Doltcini) with Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus) joining in an attempt to break free from the large group of riders still massing near the front of the race. The two managed a slight gap in the second lap before being joined by Pauwels.
By lap three Pauwels had replaced Webber, as the German began to loose ground. Lars Van der Haar (Giant-Shimano Development Team) was next to bridge the gap followed by Francis Mourey (FDJ fr.), Vantornout and Telenet-Fidea teammates Corne Van Kessel and Tom Meeusen.
More than a half a minute behind the leaders, Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) had to stop after dropping his chain, which appeared to subsequently get jammed in his drivetrain, on a particularly difficult section of the course.
Jeremy Powers (Aspire), enjoyed a front row start, but started to have difficulty on the course. “I was in a good spot, I think inside the top ten, had a great start off the front line,” Powers told Cyclocross Magazine. “It was a big goal of mine to get on the front. I stayed out of trouble mostly except I hit this hole, somersaulted and got a couple of people running over me. It was my fault.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Page (XcelLED – Fuji) was working his way up from a fifth row start, and appeared to be enjoying the muddy course.
Back at the front, Van der Haar was next to take to the lead, turning up the pace once again, this time putting Van Kessel and Meeusen into the red. Walsleben then lost contact briefly in lap five after falling on the same off-camber that Pauwels had found difficult, forcing Van Kessel into the barriers. Nys, meanwhile, was making his way past the crowds, the gap now down to 23 seconds.
Mourey tried to make the break in lap eight spreading the group out but a slip on the next lap allowed Pauwels and Vantornout to come around, with Vantornout putting in an attack. “I pushed hard on the penultimate lap to try to force a go and go away alone,” Mourey said. “But it didn’t work and I lost contact with Kevin and Klaas at the very beginning of the last lap, when they went very fast on the off camber sections and turns and I could not come back. I had hopes that one of the leading duo might fall, but that didn’t happen, but I’m happy with my third place.”
There was no indication that the two men at the front were teammates as Vantornout tried his best to keep a slight lead on Pauwels, but in the end, it appeared Vantornout had used up his reserves as Pauwels caught then sprinted past his countryman for the win.
Vantornout had a strategy that almost worked to perfection. “At the beginning I was waiting…I know if you go over your limit at the beginning, you have to pay for it at the end,” the Belgian recalled. “I know the last lap is the important lap and I took the lead on the technical zones. If you make a mistake it was over. I took the lead and on the fast run up, where I was running full-on. But Kevin was also strong. We were very close to each other, but in the sprint I knew Kevin is very fast. But it’s a one-two for the team and Kevin leads the World Cup from me. If he doesn’t make mistakes in the remaining races, I think he will win the World Cup.”
Pauwels, a man of few words, was pleased with his sprint to victory and retention of the World Cup lead. “Normally I’m faster in the sprint, but I’d had to give a lot of effort to keep up with Klaas, so I wasn’t sure I would win in the sprint,” he explained.
Behind, try as he might, crowd favorite Nys was unable to reach the leaders, finishing eighth for the day.
Mourey and Van der Haar battled for third the last lap of the race with Mourey coming out on top. Walsleben cleaned up in fifth.
Jonathan Page (XcelLED – Fuji) had a comeback ride, cracking the top 15 with a 14th place after a 5th row start, and finished as the top American. Is he back, after a rough start to the season?
— Jonathan Page (@thejonathanpage) November 29, 2014
Ian Field finish an impressive 12th. Jeremy Powers (Aspire) finished in 25th, with Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo) in 36th.
After a slew of big C1 wins in the States, Powers had a front row start at the Milton Keynes World Cup, and certainly couldn’t have been happier with his starting position:
The Brits fielded an expansive team on home soil (mud?) with Field leading a team of seven riders. Jack Clarkson finished 32nd, Steven James in 38th, Ben Sumner in 40th, Jody Crawforth in 43rd, Alex Paton 42nd, Nicholas Barnes in 45th, and Jack Ravenscroft in 47th.
Canadian Mark McConnell made the trip and finished in 50th.
Overall, the Milton Keynes appeared to be an outstanding success, and racers certainly appreciated the fan turnout and support. “I think that was the most fans I’ve ever had cheering for me at a race, period,” said National Champion Jeremy Powers.
Stay tuned for rider interviews and more coverage.
2014 Milton Keynes World Cup Men's Elite Race
|4||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||23||1:03:20|
|6||Corne VAN KESSEL||NED||23||1:03:59|
|21||David VAN DER POEL||NED||22||1:05:49|
|22||Thijs VAN AMERONGEN||NED||28||1:05:58|
|31||Javier RUIZ DE LARRINAGA IBANEZ||ESP||35||1:07:46|
|35||Twan VAN DEN BRAND||NED||25||1:09:15|
|46||Ramon SAGUES PORTABELLA||ESP||36|