Aernouts conquered the cobblestone Koppenberg climb to finish fourth on his TCX Advanced SL. Cor Vos photo.

Aernouts, Van der Haar Shine at Koppenbergcross

1 november 2011

Rabobank-Giant cyclocross rider Lars van der Haar added another win to his résumé, powering to a victory in the Under-23 category at Tuesday’s Koppenbergcross race in Belgium. Van der Haar’s Belgian teammate Bart Aernouts rode to a top-five finish in the elite men’s race. Both raced on their Giant TCX Advanced SL team bikes.

Held each fall in Oudenaarde, Belgium, and featuring the same cobblestone climb up the Koppenberg that road racers face each spring in the Tour of Flanders, the Koppenbergcross is an annual midweek tradition in Belgium. Thousand of fans turned out to watch Tuesday’s race. Van der Haar’s win put him atop the series standings for the season-long GVA Trofee series.

At the start of the elite men’s race the course was fast and dry, but rain began falling halfway through, causing riders to scramble for back-up bikes and different tire selections. Aernouts joined a lead group of seven riders and eventually finished fourth, 1:13 behind winner Kevin Pauwels, who ended Sven Nys’s seven-year winning streak at the Koppenbergcross.

A third Rabobank-Giant rider, Gerben de Knegt, finished the elite men’s race in 16th.