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"Maybe I attacked a bit too early. I don't know. I felt very good on the climbs and had a gap. So I continued, but today there was too much running and that was my weak point. I could not run any faster and Kevin man...

Photo: John de Jong






21.12.2014 @ 19:44 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Lars van der Haar recovered from a fall and injured ankle at yesterday’s bpost bank trophee race to take second place at Namur in today’s World Cup race in Belgium.


Van der Haar rode a technically astute and powerful race from start to finish but was overpowered by World Cup leader Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb – Napoleon Games Cycling Team) on the final lap in the Belgian mud.


Having spend much of the race out front on his own, van der Haar was caught by a patient Pauwels with two laps to go and from there on it was down to the two of them to seal the victory. Neither could break the deadlock until a small mistake by van der Haar on a tricky off-camber mud slope saw Pauwels pull away. Already on his limit, van der Haar couldn’t claw back the lost seconds and Pauwels pulled clear to take the win by a small margin.


“I felt strong and really liked the race today,” explained Lars after the race. “I felt my ankle on the first lap but it was OK after that, but I couldn’t quite run as I wanted to. As a result of this I was losing some time to Kevin on those sections.


"I'm glad I'm on the podium, but also deeply disappointed because I did not win here. Before the race I was a little nervous. I feared for my ankle.


"Maybe I attacked a bit too early. I don't know. I felt very good on the climbs and had a gap. So I continued, but today there was too much running and that was my weak point. I could not run any faster and Kevin managed to come back.


“I wanted to come past Kevin on the last lap before the off-camber but I had big mud splatters in my eye and couldn’t see properly so I stayed behind and that is where I lost the race.”


This weekend was the first race back after a period away from competition, including a stint in Spain with his WorldTour teammates for next season. In his time in Spain, van der Haar worked with Giant’s off-road technical expert Oscar Saiz to continue honing his technique skills.


After today’s race, van der Haar is back up to fifth overall in the World Cup rankings, after four of six UCI World Cup races.



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