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Lars van der Haar wins first World Cup race in two years

Dutch champion leads series by single point over Iserbyt

An eventful second round of the World Cup saw Dutch national champion Lars van der Haar win his first Cup race since Tabor in 2021. He rose to the top of the World Cup standings from fifth place at the start of the day. Eli Iserbyt, runner-up in both rounds, is a point behind.

Winner of the Waterloo round Thibau Nys met the podium of Saturday’s round of the Superprestige: Iserbyt, van der Haar and Michael Vanthourenhout. There were no Wout Van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel, Tom Pidcock or Canadians.

Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Niels Vandeputte seize the hole shot on Lap 1. Iserbyt and Vanthourenhout crowded him behind. Nys had to move up from ninth. Vandeputte continued to pull the string until Vanthourenhout grabbed the reins two-thirds of the way through the circuit. After the sand Pim Ronhaar, third in Waterloo, squeezed by to take the lead.

Vanthourenhout lead through Lap 1’s sand.

Ronhaar and Vanthourenhout distanced the others at the beginning of Lap 2. Iserbyt, Vandeputte, Nys and van der Haar comprised the closest chase. Van der Haar worked to sew it back up before the end of the lap.

On Lap 3 of 8 Ronhaar continued to push, Iserbyt keeping close tabs on him. There was still a string of a dozen riders leading the race.

Iserbyt finally took over the front on Lap 4, with teammates Nys and Ronhaar tagging along. Nys then skipped away and Iserbyt lit out after him.

Nys and Iserbyt at the front on Lap 4.

Again, it clumped up again at the start of Lap 5. It was van der Haar’s time to be the engine. Iserbyt erred on a bank, allowing van der Haar to accelerate away. Last year’s overall World Cup victor Laurens Sweeck was the closest to the Dutchman, eight seconds behind.

Van der Haar breaks free on Lap 5.

Vanthourenhout climbed off the bike on Lap 6, Ronhaar crashed and got his hand stuck in another rider’s machine and Sweeck punctured. Van der Haar had 10 seconds on Nys and 20 on Iserbyt, both buffers growing by the line.

Iserbyt closed in on Nys early in the penultimate lap. They had to keep podium aspirants Vandeputte and Joris Nieuwenhuis at bay.

Van der Haar had 17 seconds to play with on the bell lap. With his teammate in the lead, Nys let Iserbyt do the work. Nys crashed and disappeared from the podium fight. Sweeck recovered enough from his puncture to take third.

The next round is in Dendermonde on November 12.

2023-2024 UCI Cyclocross World Cup, Round 2: Maasmechelen
1) Lars van der Haar (The Netherlands/Baloise Trek Lions) 1:02:43
2) Eli Iserbyt (Belgium/Pauwels Sauzen Bingoal) +0:21
3) Laurens Sweeck (Belgium/Crelan-Corendon) +0:27