CYCLO-CROSS NEWS | During the Koppenbergcross, Lars van der Haar took first place with a lightning fast sprintNovember 2, 2022
RACING OKBET : In the 2022 Koppenbergcross, Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek) overcame a massive deficit to defeat Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces.
It seemed like Michael Vanthourenhout was going to win the race until Van der Haar fell out of a tight off-camber bend with barely half a lap remaining (Pauwels Sauces-Bingoal).
The European Champion, however, who had seemed to be in fine form during each ascent of the treacherous cobbled hill, reduced the deficit to Vanthourenhout on the hardest pitches, and then blasted over the finish line to claim victory.
After falling short behind Van der Haar, defending winner Eli Iserbyt edged off colleague Vanthourenhout for second place at the Koppenbergcross.
Although Michael Vanthourenhout had left in his car, I was confident in my superiority. Van der Haar stated of his last assault on Sporza, “I really couldn’t drive too quickly to him because then I risked a counter from Eli [Iserbyt].
I realized that I was closing in too soon, so I decided to cover the distance with a sprint. Explosive athletes have a tremendous amount of room to make up for lost time in the last few meters.
In his last race wearing the European Champion shirt before defending in Namur on Sunday, Van der Haar said, “I am thrilled, really happy, because I want to win this cross throughout my career.”
Pim Ronhaar and Thibau Nys, of the Baloise Trek team, wasted little time jumping out to an early lead and driving the pace up the Koppenberg. Iserbyt weaved through the crowd and reached the summit of the X2O Badkamers Trofee’s first ascent near the race’s leading runners.
The Baloise Trek riders were able to neutralize the traditional one-two punch of Iserbyt and Vanthourenhout on the first lap, but Van der Haar remained powerful and vigilant, recording every push from the World Cup leader.
By the sixth time up the hill, the three had already pulled away from the rest of the pack, and it seemed like only Van der Haar and Iserbyt would be able to win. However, Iserbyt missed a link in his chain and had to pause, temporarily holding up Van der Haar. As a consequence, Vanthourenhout was able to close the gap from behind and re-sandwich Van der Haar in Bingo. The chain problem forced Iserbyt to ascend the Koppenberg in the main ring, where he ended up burning a crucial match, as he subsequently reported.
Iserbyt seemed to be tiring from his efforts, and Vanthourenhout was leading going into the last lap. However, the European champion lost control in a turn, allowing Vanthourenhout to built up a seemingly insurmountable advantage.
Van der Haar, however, entered the Koppenberg with an expression of unwavering resolve, and he used every last bit of fuel in his afterburners to surge past Vanthourenhout and keep Iserbyt at bay, therefore claiming the cobble trophy.