Lars van der Haar (Baloise Trek Lions) took a dominant win in Tábor, Czech Republic, christening his new European champion’s jersey with a first World Cup victory in almost five years (since January 22, 2017).
Like the women’s race earlier in the afternoon, the Tábor course invited hard and fast racing on open terrain. The steep banks and technical obstacles that littered the course did little to disrupt the pace at the front, but ultimately separated the men from the boys as the world’s best rose to the top.
Eli Iserbyt was straight onto the front as the wheels hit the grass for the first time, and the World Cup leader led the field in one long line for much of the first lap. Gaps didn’t start to open until deep into lap two as Quinten Hermans (Tormans) and Van der Haar lifted the pace.
Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), winner here in 2020, was glued to leader Van der Haar’s wheel as a group of eight riders pulled away, including Iserbyt, Toon Aerts (Baloise Trek Lions), Laurens Sweeck (Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal), Vincent Baestaens (CX Team Deschacht-Group Hens-Containers Maes) and the ever-present Tormans pairing, Quinten Hermans and Corne van Kessel.
Iserbyt took a break from the pace setting in the middle phase of the race, but the punchy Belgian returned to the front on lap six and laid down the law on the technical sections of the course. By the final lap, Iserbyt had been joined by Van der Haar, who was steadily taking control on the front of the race. Hermans hung just off the wheel, while Vanthourenhout and Aerts trailed 15 seconds down.
Van der Haar had looked dangerous throughout the race and as everyone else tired, mistakes hampering even Iserbyt, the experienced Dutchman pushed on to take a dominant victory in his new European champion’s jersey. Iserbyt held on for second, keeping the World Cup lead, and Hermans crossed the line in third.