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“I am a bit disappointed to not get the silver medal in the final. I was empty after a hard race and made some mistakes. Wout was strong and I lost energy trying to get him off my wheel and didn’t have anything left for the...

Photo: John de Jong




01.02.2015 @ 22:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lars van der Haar has taken his second Elite World Championships medal in Tabor, taking bronze after a hard fought race that saw him give his everything to try and take the race lead late on in the Czech mud.


The title went to Lars’s compatriot Mathieu van der Poel who led from early on, but van der Haar pushed him hard in the final few laps as he made his push to try and catch the leader, reducing the gap to just a few seconds. In the end it was not to be and he was caught in the final kilometre, eventually losing out on the sprint for the silver medal.


The race got underway with a fast start, led by van der Haar in typical fashion, but van der Poel soon moved his way to the front of the race. Behind him a select chase group quickly formed with van der Haar riding in fifth place as the race came through the start finish for the first time.


The riders in the lead group were whittled down to three over the course of the race with van der Haar riding in third with Kevin Pauwels chasing the race lead. When Pauwels started to tire in the chase, van der Haar made his move, coming past and pushing on in pursuit of van der Poel. The gap steadily dropped with van der Haar clawing back seconds through the mud but not managing to get up to the wheel ahead.


Van der Poel piled on the pressure once again and pulled out his lead to over ten seconds as van der Haar started to tire. Behind the two, Wout van Aert was also closing fast and on the final lap he reached van der Haar , moving past ahead of the final corner and then taking second in the sprint.


“I felt good today and was strong in the race,” van der Haar said after the finish. “I saw that Pauwels was out of energy and that was when I attacked, without Pauwels on my wheel. This worked out but I was too far behind to catch van der Poel and he was so strong and was winning time on me on the jumps.


“I am a bit disappointed to not get the silver medal in the final. I was empty after a hard race and made some mistakes. Wout was strong and I lost energy trying to get him off my wheel and didn’t have anything left for the sprint anymore. We have a great champion and it’s good for the Dutch team and for the sport.”


Team Giant-Alpecin coach Dirk Reuling added: “It’s a bit bitter-sweet as on one hand he was so close to taking the silver medal at the end but we should be very happy with the result still as the other two were strong today. We have prepared well for this race right from the start of the season. Lars has been so consistent since then, he deserves to be on the podium today.”



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