Tom Meeusen, Marianne Vos win 2013-14 World Cup finale
Compton and van der Haar take the overall titles as Vos and Meeusen win a tough finale on a heavy French course
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Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv) stood atop the final podiums in the 2013-14 UCI World Cup on Sunday in Nommay, France.
The overall series victories went to American Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) and Lars van der Haar (Rabobank).
With five laps remaining the men’s race was down to a three-way tussle among Meeusen, German champion Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus), and French champ Francis Mourey (FDJ.fr).
“You had to be really strong to ride the whole race alone, so that’s the reason I think there was a battle with three guys today,” said Meeusen.
Series leader van der Haar (Rabobank) was riding well down, starting the day with a comfortable 54-point lead in the overall standings.
On the bell lap, first Meeusen, then Mourey took charge. Buoyed by a home crowd, the Frenchman pounded away at his pedals, but couldn’t shed the others.
Then Meeusen and Walsleben shouldered past him at the same time, the two men bumping a bit, and Meeusen came away with the lead.
Undaunted, Mourey attacked once again and led out the sprint. It was a near thing, but Meeusen came around and held on for the win. Mourey had to settle for second, with Walsleben third.
“I think Francis felt a lot of pressure to hold the tempo in the last lap, and that was the reason that he lost a lot of power and that he was a little bit nervous for to go to the sprint. And I could be just easy because I knew I was fast in the sprint,” said Meeusen.
“I had a very bad piece in the race, in the most muddy part of the race I lost every lap a lot of time. And I knew that when I could be there in front, I could go to the sprint, and I was there in front. And Mourey was trying to hold the tempo a lot in the sprint, so I could sit easy in his wheel and the sprint was actually the most easy part of the race.
“Normally I know I’m not the strongest of the race, so I have to be tactical sometimes.”
Just over a minute later, van der Haar crossed with his hands in the air, celebrating the overall World Cup victory.
American champion Jeremy Powers (Rapha-Focus) finished 15th at 2:26.
Earlier in the day, world champion Vos easily won the women’s finale, finishing more than 90 seconds ahead of Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing) and Eva Lechner (Centro Sportivo Esercito).
Compton, who had already clinched her second consecutive World Cup title at the Jan. 5 race in Rome, abandoned the race after suffering an asthma attack.
“I just had an asthma attack, from allergies, and this course is so hard you’ve gotta go full gas. I just couldn’t breathe,” she said.
“I felt it coming on the first lap, you know after a hard start like that it’s hard to recover. I tried to recover a bit on the road, and just had to relax, but it just kept getting worse. I stopped before it got really bad. And then, at that point, there’s nothing I can do. I got out of the way and pulled out.
“I hate dropping out, it’s one of my pet peeves, I hate it. So for me to drop out of a race, there’s a reason for it.
“I’m happy to win the overall, but I hate doing it this way, I hate not finishing the last race, especially because the course is great. It’s a perfect course for me.”
Editor’s note: Dan Seaton contributed to this report.