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Teunissen said he was motivated by the loud fans lining the course in Kentucky. Cor Vos photo.

Rabo-Giant Men Medal at CX Worlds!

February 2, 2013

With a win in the Under-23 race and a bronze medal in the elite men’s race, the men of Rabobank-Giant put on a terrific show at the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

Two-time Under-23 world champ Lars van der Haar put the finishing touches on an amazing rookie season in the elite ranks with a gutsy bronze medal ride in the elite men’s race. And van der Haar’s younger teammate, 20-year-old Mike Teunissen, kept the U23 win streak in the Giant family by winning the men’s U23 race earlier in the day.

In the men's U23 race, held Saturday morning on a frozen, snow-covered course, Teunissen had to overcome a major setback, a crash that pushed him back to sixth place at the midway point of the race. The young Dutchman kept his composure and picked his way back through the field to earn the rainbow stripes on his Giant TCX Advanced SL.

“After the crash I didn’t give myself too much of a chance,” Teunissen said afterward. “Then suddenly I saw [race leader Wietse Bosmans] right in front of me and I thought maybe I could catch him.”

Teunissen caught Bosmans with two laps to go and then attacked the Belgian on the final lap. He got a gap and went on to win by 14 seconds. Teunissen’s Rabobank-Giant teammate Michiel van der Heijden also finished in the top-10, taking a strong seventh.

Later in the day, van der Haar lined up for his first World Championship race with the elite men. With conditions deteriorating and the snow starting to pick up, he got off to rough start as the Belgians charged ahead for the first few laps.

Showing maturity beyond his years, van der Haar fought his way up through the field, and with less than two laps to go he caught and passed Belgian Niels Albert to move into third.

“I had big problems in the first two laps,” Van der Haar said afterward. “But after that I felt really good. I’m happy I didn’t disappoint my teammates. I’m happy to get third in my first pro year.”

In the final laps van der Haar held off a charging Bart Wellens of Belgium, earning the bronze medal behind two other Belgians, Sven Nys and Klaas Vantornout, who were first and second respectively.