Mike Teunissen made it three for three Dutch victories at Worlds, following wins by compatriots Mathieu van der Poel and Marianne Vos to take the U23 title in front of pre-race favorite Wieste Bosmans.
The beginning of the race would tell the story of the remainder of the race as Teunissen took the holeshot followed by two more riders from the Netherlands and a swarm of light blue jerseys of the Belgian national team. By the end of the first lap, Bosmans had taken the lead with Teunissen in tow and fellow Belgian Wout Van Aert in third. A scant few seconds back were Jens Adams, Laurens Sweeck (both Belgium), and Tijmen Eising (Netherlands).
The snow that fell on the course was melting as the day - and race - went on, turning the top level of the ground into a thin, slippery surface. Teunissen slid out on the second lap, giving Bosmans a several second lead. However, as the next two laps went on, Bosmans made several mistakes of his own, allowing Teunissen to catch back on with just over two laps remaining. Behind, Van Aert dangled, never more than ten seconds back but similarly unable to close the gap. The remainder of the field was even further back, solidifying the podium some laps before the finish.
Immediately after joining Bosmans, Teunissen attacked around him on the start/finish stretch, perhaps to keep the pace high and Van Aert in the background. The two stayed together with Bosmans taking the lead again as Teunissen pitted to get a fresh bike. Though Bosmans gained a little ground by riding a steep rise to an off-camber section and then hopping the barriers - as he had every lap - Teunissen rejoined by the end of the lap and once again attacked through the finish. This time, Bosmans was slower to respond and the gap grew from one to three bike lengths and then to 5 seconds at the first time through the sand. From there, Teunissen kept the power on, staying smooth in the treacherous corners and gradually extending his gap to 14 seconds by the finish. Bosmans held of Van Aert for third.
Local favorite Zach McDonald had an uncharacteristically slow start, finishing the first lap in the mid 20s after having a second row position on the start grid. He picked his way through the field over the first half of the race and rode the last three laps as high as 9th position before ultimately finishing in 11th. McDonald's finish is certainly a little lower than his hopes, but the United States can be optimistic at the future of the sport after his finish and first year U23 and Louisville native Drew Dillman's 25th place finish.
|3||VAN AERT Wout||BEL19940915||BELGIUM||+00:22|
|7||VAN DER HEIJDEN Michiel||NED19920103||NETHERLANDS||+01:05|
|9||VAN KESSEL Corne||NED19910807||NETHERLANDS||+01:29|