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Pim Ronhaar takes maiden World Cup victory at Dendermonde

At the World Cup cyclo-cross event in Dendermonde, Belgium, young Dutch cyclist Pim Ronhaar clinched a notable solo victory, marking his first elite win. The Baloise Trek Lions rider managed to break away from his competitors in the final laps, completing the race in 56 minutes and 4 seconds. His teammate, Lars van der Haar, along with Laurens Sweeck of Crelan-Corendon, joined him on the podium. This win further strengthens Van der Haar’s lead in the World Cup standings, now 9 points ahead of Belgian Eli Iserbyt. Notably, the race proceeded without Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout Van Aert.

Speaking about his victory, Ronhaar shared his joy, particularly following a challenging period after the Koppenberg race. His performance at the European Championships, where he finished fourth, marked a significant mental reset for him. His decisive breakaway in the fourth round at Dendermonde was a result of a strategic move, as he had been instructed to conserve energy in the initial laps. Feeling strong, he took his chance at the right moment, particularly at the material post, to create a gap that his rivals couldn’t bridge.

Ronhaar’s teammate, Van der Haar, played a crucial role in the race by effectively marking other riders in the chase group, ensuring Ronhaar’s lead wasn’t threatened. Both riders, after addressing any misunderstanding from the European Championships, emphasised their strong friendship and teamwork. Van der Haar, overcoming a tough start and a recent injury, managed a significant comeback to secure second place.

The race in Dendermonde followed a challenging day in Niel, presenting the riders with another muddy and demanding course. Toon Vandebosch initially led the race, with Eli Iserbyt and Ryan Kamp following. However, Ronhaar’s powerful surge in the later rounds established him as the undisputed leader. Cameron Mason, despite an early setback, showcased remarkable resilience, climbing back through the field for a notable finish.

Ronhaar’s victory in Dendermonde is a landmark in his career, signifying his first major win among the pros. His performance, characterised by strength and strategy, underlines his potential in the cyclo-cross world.

2023 Dendermonde Men result

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Main photo credit: Cor Vos