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Lars van der Haar on UCI threat: “We need to have an open discussion”


Lars van der Haar expressed his contentment with the results of the recent World Cup Dendermonde where he secured second place, right behind his teammate Pim Ronhaar, making it an impressive one-two for the Baloise Trek Lions. He spoke of the unexpected nature of their success, saying it was quite astonishing but he was evidently pleased with the outcome.

The Dutch champion shared that the course seemed tailor-made for Ronhaar, who managed to break away at the perfect moment just as Van der Haar caught up with other competitors. This allowed them to take control of the race with the support of their team. Van der Haar also hinted at the potential for mutual growth between him and Ronhaar, acknowledging that he has already benefitted from Ronhaar’s performance in Maasmechelen and anticipates that they will continue to leverage each other’s capabilities in the years to come.

Despite solidifying his lead in the World Cup with this second-place finish, Van der Haar has decided to opt out of the races in Dublin and Val di Sole. When asked about any regrets regarding this decision, he remained firm, insisting it was a strategic move. He reasoned that competing in every race could lead to burnout, whereas a more selective approach could maintain, or even enhance, his performance and still leave him in contention to win the overall classification, especially with rivals like Michael Vanthourenhout facing setbacks and Eli Iserbyt potentially encountering issues.

Van der Haar responded to UCI President David Lappartient’s recent statement about making participation in the UCI World Cup mandatory by suggesting that it’s premature to resort to authoritative measures. Instead, he advocated for an open dialogue between the UCI, riders, and teams. He emphasized the importance of the World Cup in their calendar, clarifying that their choices are not dismissive of the competition, and highlighted his own sacrifices, like dropping Superprestige races to accommodate World Cup participation.

The cyclist also revisited the incident from the previous day’s Superprestige Niel where he had to reset his dislocated shoulder. Thankfully, the issue wasn’t exacerbated during the Dendermonde race, as the course didn’t present any unusual challenges for the injury. He described the process of lifting the bike during the race as measured, which aided in managing his shoulder condition.

While admitting the combination of Superprestige Niel and World Cup Dendermonde was demanding, Van der Haar refrained from calling it the toughest weekend ever. He acknowledged the difficulty of the course in Dendermonde but noted it was not as severe as in previous years.