World cross champs: Fletcher shows promise in under-23's
Hot favourite Phillipp Walsleben of Germany rode according to form and took the under-23 title in Hoogerheide.
Walsleben powered away after three laps and was never seen again by the fifteen-strong chasing group, despite a spirited attempt to bridge the gap by Cristian Cominelli of Italy and Belgian Quentin Bertholet.
The pair were overhauled by the swarm of chasers, leaving Christoph Pfingsten to complete the second one-two of the day – following the Dutch triumph in the junior race – but this time for Germany. Pawel Szczepaniak of Poland took bronze.
Both British riders put in creditable performances, but it was the ride of David Fletcher that caught the eye. The 19-year-old stayed in contention with the leading group throughout to finish 17th. With two more years to go in the under-23 category, Fletcher is an exciting prospect.
“It were enjoyable,” he said after the race. “Every single straight we were on full bore. The first few laps I stayed within myself, but I started to struggle on the last few laps.
“It was a lot better result than I have got in the past few months, so I’m really pleased. This is only my second year [in the under-23’s]. Next year I’ll be top ten and then the next year, podium.”
Coach Phil Dixon gave Fletcher the post-race de-briefing. “Brilliant. Well done. They were getting 10 seconds more recovery at the finish line that you, [because of] positioning: you need the confidence to nudge through to the front. The difference between 17th and you coming in 5th or 6th today was being at the front of the group. Good ride. Well done.”
UNDER 23 MEN: RESULTS
1. Phillipp Walseben (GER)
2. Christoph Pfingsten (GER)
3. Pawel Szczepaniak (POL)
4. Cristian Cominelli (ITA)
5. Sascha Weber (GER)
6. Quentin Bertholet (BEL)
7. Guillaume Perrot (FRA)
8. Ramon Sinkeldam (NED)
9. Clement Bourgoin (FRA)
10. Marek Konwa (POL)
17. David Fletcher (GBR)
35. Jonny McEvoy (GBR)
2009 CYCLO-CROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: LINKS
Elite men: Solo victory for Albert in Holland
Elite women: Wyman crashes while Vos wins
Under-23 men: Fletcher shows promise
Juniors: Dutchman takes gold
World cross champs: blog from Hoogerheide