Kevin Pauwels on track to win the 2011 Zolder World Cup. ©Bart Hazen

Kevin Pauwels on track to win the 2011 Zolder World Cup. ©Bart Hazen

The Patrick UCI Cyclocross World Cup concluded in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands. Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) defended his overall lead on a muddy course with style by grabbing his fourth win in the series.

In the Women’s category, Daphny van den Brand (AA Cycling Team) did more than enough to secure her overall win with her second place behind World Champion Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo Women Cycling Team).

Dutch riders dominated the youth categories. Lars van der Haar (The Netherlands) and Mathieu van der Poel (The Netherlands) won both the final round and the overall title in respectively the Men U23 and the Juniors Men category.

Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) was only twenty points down on Pauwels in the World Cup standings and it was expected that they would battle it out for the overall win in Hoogerheide. Until halfway of the race the duo featured in the nine-man lead group. When World Champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) accelerated during the fifth lap Pauwels swiftly followed the Czech rider while Nys lost ground. Stybar finished second at eight seconds from Pauwels while Vantornout took the third place at fourteen seconds. In the overall ranking of the World Cup the margin from Pauwels over Nys grew up to fifty points. Stybar fell only fifteen points short of Nys in third place.

The domination from Marianne Vos in the Women’s category continued. The Dutch rider won her fourth World Cup round in a row and this time she had a massive lead of one and a half minute over compatriot and overall World Cup winner Daphny van den Brand. Vos sped away at the end of the first lap and despite the sticky mud in Hoogerheide she never struggled. Katherine Compton (Rabobank-Giant Off-road Team) and Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) had the best papers for the remaining podium spots. A series of mistakes from USA-champion Compton made her lose time and her spot in the first chase group was taken over by Van den Brand. Nash crashed and eventually finished seven seconds behind Van den Brand in third place. Compton finished fourth ahead of Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (France).

Van den Brand kept a 36 points lead over Vos in the World Cup standings, thus capturing her fourth ever overall win in the series. Compton finishes third overall at 91 points from Van den Brand.

Earlier on Sunday the youth categories endured worse conditions and a slippery course in Hoogerheide. In the Men U23, Van der Haar seized his moment to move forward. The Dutch rider bounced back from a poor start and joined sole leader Julian Alaphilippe (France) by the end of the penultimate lap. Halfway the last lap Van der Haar punched away and grabbed his third win in the series. In the overall rankings Van der Haar wins ahead of Mike Teunissen (The Netherlands) – sixth in Hoogerheide – and Alaphilippe.

Local rider Van der Poel won all four rounds in the Juniors Men and in Hoogerheide he completed a long solo. In the overall standings the Dutch champion has a massive lead over Quentin Jauregui (France) and Romain Seigle (France).