Sunday, January 29, 2012

Brief: Cyclo-cross worlds

Saying the cyclo-cross world championships could have gone better for the Spanish delegation would be an understatement. The sandy course in the Belgian town of Koksijde took its toll on the juniors as well as the elites, leaving Suárez, Hernández, Larriñaga and co. hoping for better luck next year.

Elite race:

Despite promising showings in World Cup races leading up to the big day, the five Spaniards on the start line failed to deliver. Former mountain bike world champ José Antonio Hermída had a decent run to finish 20th - not bad for an off-roader, while Egoitz Murgoitio - arguably Spain's top rider - crashed right at the start, took a hit to the knee and posted a DNF. Javier Ruiz de Larriñaga, making his fifth appearance at the worlds, didn't find his rhythm and had to settle for 41st, three laps down. The former Kaiku pro was eliminated from the race by the judges upon crossing the line - along with new national champ Isaac Suárez, Orbea rider Aitor Hernández and everyone else bar the 24 first - and was seething when speaking to the press. "I'm pissed off. I don't understand the judges: when was the last time only 24 riders completed the world championships? I don't know why they were so harsh". No matter how harsh the judges were, it was a rather meek performance from the elite men.

Sub-23 race:

Entirely as predicted, Lars Van Der Haar ran away with the under-23 crown, beating Wietse Bosmans by a single second. Jonathan Lastra faired reasonably well to finish 37th at just one lap down, while Pablo Rodríguez finished four places further back. The Gómez brothers, Jon and Iñigo, found the going tougher and finished up 43rd and 45th respectively.

Junior race:

New national champ Kevin Suárez, Isaac's nephew, finished more than five minutes down on Raymond Poulidor's grand-son Mathieu Van Der Pool among the juniors to finish up 33rd. José Manuel Ribera was the Iberian Peninsula's top finished in 32nd, while Jaime Campo placed 49th.

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