Events

Verhagen takes a squeaker in Zolder

Davy Commeyne thought he had it in the bag. After dangling at the frontsmall group of leaders over the final two laps of the Under-23 men's worldcyclo-cross championship race in Zolder, Belgium, on Saturday, the youngBelgian had succeeded in fighting off a last-minute charge by Czech riderTomas Trunschka and closing sprint by Italian Franzoi Enrico."I looked to my left," Commeyne said. "There was no one coming."The problem was, he hadn't looked to his right. Had he glanced in thedirection of the wall lining the finishing straight at Zolder's motor speedway,he might have noticed the blaze

American Craig takes eighth

Is that bat in your hand or are you just happy to see Verhagen? Dutch fans celebrate a win over rival Belgians

Is that bat in your hand or are you just happy to see Verhagen? Dutch fans celebrate a win over rival Belgians

Photo:

(from left to right: A shocked Commeyne,  Verhagen and Trunschka

(from left to right: A shocked Commeyne, Verhagen and Trunschka

Photo: Charles Pelkey

Davy Commeyne thought he had it in the bag. After dangling at the frontsmall group of leaders over the final two laps of the Under-23 men’s worldcyclo-cross championship race in Zolder, Belgium, on Saturday, the youngBelgian had succeeded in fighting off a last-minute charge by Czech riderTomas Trunschka and closing sprint by Italian Franzoi Enrico.”I looked to my left,” Commeyne said. “There was no one coming.”The problem was, he hadn’t looked to his right. Had he glanced in thedirection of the wall lining the finishing straight at Zolder’s motor speedway,he might have noticed the blaze orange jersey of Dutch rider Thijs Verhagencharging toward the line with just enough speed to deny the host Belgianstheir second rainbow jersey of the day.”I was hoping to make it to the podium,” Verhagen said. “It was a greatsurprise to realize that I still had enough left to take the sprint.”The two men were part of a strong group of seven that emerged at thefront of Saturday’s Under-23 men’s field. The 3km course dodging and divingits way through the woods around Zolder’s speedway quickly narrowed outthe field in both races held in the opening day of the world championship.The need for a strong start on the paved section leading to a 180-degreeturn onto a sandy climb probably contributed to a crash that tangled afew of the 65 starters in the first few meters of the race. Switzerland’sMichael Mueller and Dutch rider Koen de Kort were knocked out of the racebefore the reached the first turn because of injuries sustained in thecrash.Ahead, Belgian Wim Jacobs and Czech rider Martin Bina — winner of theworld junior title last year in Tabor — set an early and blistering paceup the hills leading to the top section of the course. The two were joinedby — or more accurately, the field was trimmed down to — Verhagen, Commeyne,Franzio, the Dutch rider Kenny van Hummel, Switzerland’s Martin Baumgartnerand German Leo Karstens, with a slightly larger group that included theTrunschka another ten seconds back.Trunschka fought his up as Karstens and Van Hummel slipped back. Behindthem, American Adam Craig was methodically picking his way through thefield, having been given a poor starting slot because of the low U.S. participationin last year’s under-23 men’s race. He would eventually finish in eighthplace, unable only to bridge that final gap to the lead group.Up front, the seven traded leads back and forth with Bina, Commeyneand Jacobs often gaining an advantage of three or four seconds before beingreeled back by a chase, usually led by Verhagen.With two laps to go, Commeyne charged and built a lead of nearly eightseconds, followed by Trunschka and the rest of the group another five secondsbehind the Czech. But again the advantage was trimmed down and with halfa lap to go, Trunschka caught back on and was quickly followed by the restof the group tucked in behind Verhagen.Turning on to the long straight-away to the finish, Franzoi launchedan attack, which was quickly countered by Commeyne. Commeyne, who lookedover his shoulder and seemed satisfied that he had this one in the bag…it’s just that he looked over the wrong shoulder.

Photo Gallery

Results

1. VERHAGEN Thijs (Nl), 21.336 Km in 49:48 (25.706 Kph)

2. COMMEYNE Davy (B), at 0:00

 3. TRUNSCHKA Tomas (CZ), at 0:00

 4. FRANZOI Enrico (I), at 0:00

 5. JACOBS Wim (B), at 0:00

 6. BINA Martin (CZ), at 0:37

 7. BAUMGARTNER Michael (SWI), at 0:53

 8. CRAIG Adam (USA), at 1:12

 9. SIMUNEK Radomir (CZ), at 1:36

 10. CHAINEL Steve (F), at 1:44

 11. GIL Mariusz (POL), at 1:47

 12. SBETTA Michele (I), at 1:49

 13. BERAUD Jean-baptiste (F), at 1:55

 14. AERNOUTS Bart (B), at 2:14

 15. VANTORNOUT Klaas (B), at 2:22

 16. VAILLANT P. (F), at 2:38

 17. MINARD Sebastien (F), at 2:39

 18. MOUREY Francis (F), at 2:40

 19. ZAHNER Simon (SWI), at 2:45

 20. STEWART Jackson (USA), at 2:47

 21. KARSTENS Leo (G), at 2:47

 22. MUTSAARS Guido (NL), at 2:56

 23. VAN HUMMEL Kenny (NL), at 3:02

 24. REKAWEK Radoslaw (POL), at 3:04

 25. SNODDEN Shaun (GBR) at 3:14

 26. ORTIZ Haitz (SP), at 3:15

 27. BAUSCH Gusty LUX at 3:18

 28. BOOTH Daniel GBR at 3:31

 29. ZOVCAK Marian (SVK), at 3:40

 30. BIANCO Marco (I), at 3:40

 31. ROSSI Enrico (I), at 3:53

 32. DIXON Philip GBR at 4:08

 33. ZLAMALIK Martin (CZ), at 4:08

 34. GIERCZAK Bartlomiej (POL), at 4:23

 35. NIELSEN Tommy (DK), at 4:26

 36. PIÑEIRO Narciso (SP), at 4:50

 37. ZUBERO Julen (SP), at 4:53

 38. SCHUPPLI Roger (SWI), at 4:55

 39. OBYE Alan (USA), at 4:55

 40. VAN DER LINDEN W. (B), at 4:55

 41. MUGICA Sem (SP), at 5:22

 42. OLSZEWSKI Daniel (G), at 5:31

 43. UHRIG Jochen (G), at 5:42

 44. BAGGENSTOS Marco (SWI), at 6:13

 45. PETERSEN Kim (DK), at 6:46

 46. MIORINI Erik (I), at 6:54

 47. ANTHONY Joshua (USA), at 7:11

 48. YASUKI Uchiyama JPN at 7:15

 49. GOGOLEV Maxim RUS at 7:41

 50. MURGOITIO Egoitz (SP), at 7:44

 51. BAKOS Gergo (HUN), at 7:47

 52. SIMORA Peter (SVK), at 7:54

 53. BOGDAN Igor (UKR), at 9:20