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Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) was made to work hard to win his first outing at the World Cup in Tabor, Czech Republic, on Saturday. The European and world champion was pushed harder than he may have liked by Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal) and Lars van der Haar (Telenet Baloise Lions).
In the women’s, Annemarie Worst (777) was able to bounce back from losing her European title last weekend by taking her second consecutive World Cup win, having also won in Bern in October.
Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado (Corendon-Circus) took the lead early in the race, with Worst and Anna Kay (Experza Pro CX) chasing behind. Worst pulled away from the Brit and slowly bridged to the Alvarado over the course of a lap, leaving the two Dutch riders to lead the race after the second lap.
Newly-crowned European champion Yara Kastelijn (777) chased after the lead pair, with Kay, Lucinda Brand (Telenet Baloise Lions), and Kaitie Keough (Cannondale ) scrapping behind her.
The race for the top slot came down to the last lap, after Alvarado and Worst swapped leads through the second half of the race. It was only when Alvarado lost her pedal, and with it her momentum, that Worst was able to accelerate away on the climb that followed.
Once Alvarado had lost contact with Worst, there was no pulling her back, and the 777 rider took the victory over Alvarado by 10 seconds, with Kastelijn taking third, having chased the lead pair alone for much of the race.
Series leader Katerina Nash (Clif) only managed 18th on the day, but retains her lead over Maghalie Rochette (CX-Fever).
In the men’s, van der Poel was made to work for his win over Iserbyt, the series leader.
The world champion started far back on the grid and spent the first three-quarters of the race fighting his way to the front of the race. Meanwhile, Iserbyt had started at the front of the pack and had led from the gun.
By the time van der Poel had made it to the front of the race, the lead group was made up of Iserbyt, van der Haar and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal). Vanthourenhout was the first to lose contact as the pace became more intense with the addition of van der Poel to the fray, and it went down to a three-way fight in the closing laps.
Going into the closing lap, van der Haar was distanced and Iserbyt accelerated in an effort to drop van der Poel. He gained ground initially, but van der Poel clawed his way back and took the lead, and from there on Iserbyt looked on the back foot. When van der Poel attacked on the final climb, there was no matching him, and he took the win by a narrow margin.
Iesrbyt finished second, and managed to retain his series lead. Van der Haar finished 10 seconds later to take third.
The next round of the World Cup will be in Koksijde, Belgium, on November 24.
- Annemarie Worst (777): 00:44:55
- Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado (Corendon-Circus): +00:00:10
- Yara Kastelijn (777): +00:00:20
- Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): 1:01:56
- Eli Iserbyt (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal): S.T
- Lars van der Haar (Telenet Baloise Lions): +00:00:12