Pim Ronhaar (Netherlands) went away in the middle of the six-lap race and held off a pair of chasing Belgians to win the U23 cyclocross world championships Saturday.
The 20-year-old was aggressive from the very first lap of the race in Ostende, Belgium. Ronhaar led a large front group dominated by Dutch and Belgians in the initial circuit before squeezing the pace through laps 3 and 4 to ride away from the lead pack.
The Dutchman led home a one-two for his nation, with defending champ Ryan Kamp taking second and Timo Kielich (Belgium) taking third.
Ronhaar put on a masterclass in the freezing, windy conditions on the coastal course. The Pauwels-Sauzen-Bingoal rider avoiding mishaps and crashes while many others struggled in the deep sand. Pre-race favorite Kamp twice suffering setbacks on the difficult course.
After Ronhaar went clear on lap 4, Kielich, Kamp and Emiel Verstrynge (Belgium) came together in a chase group around 10 seconds back. However, with Kamp stifling the chase for his charging compatriot, Ronhaar was able to continue growing his advantage to win by eight seconds.
The chase trio fractured in the final lap, with Verstrynge first to drop off the pace. Kamp turned on the burners at the close of the circuit to ride away from Kielich and secure second place.