Dutch Road Championships 2014 / 28 June / U23 Men
The Dutch Road Championships took place in Ootmarsum this year, just like in 2008 and 2011. Ootmarsum is a town in Twente, an eastern region of The Netherlands. The course was the same as in the past: the finish was on the Kuiperberg and the course was about 13,5 kilometres long. The U23 riders had to ride 180 kilometres, which meant that they had to race the course 13 times. The race started at 10 o’clock in the morning and there were 151 riders at the start. Exactly one hundred of them made it to the finish of the Dutch Nationals.
The Rabobank Development Team had the most riders in the race. They are the biggest development team of The Netherlands and many Dutch riders started their cycling career in this team. Last year, Dylan van Baarle won the Dutch U23 Road Championship and he is now a professional cyclist for Garmin-Sharp. In 2012, Moreno Hofland was the winner of the U23 race and he is now riding for Team Belkin. He won a stage in Paris-Nice this year, became second in Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne and won the Volta Limburg Classic. So the winner of the U23 race is often signed by a professional team and becomes successful.
During the race, a head bunch formed with 9 riders from the Rabobank Development Team and the Van der Poel brothers. Six of them formed a group in the finale: Mike Teunissen, Etienne van Empel, Piotr Havik (RDT), Derk Abel Beckeringh (CRO), Tim Kerkhof (ETI) and Dennis Bakker (MET). Etienne van Empel tried to get away a few times, but Kerkhof and Bakker managed to bridge the gap every time. The chasing group, with Mathieu van der Poel (BKP), were not able to catch the leaders of the race and six riders sprinted for the victory.
The finale was very hectic: Mike Teunissen fell and broke his collarbone. He became second last year in Kerkrade and was one of the favorites for this year’s title. However, it was Tim Kerkhof from the Belgian team Etixx, the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step development team, who won the sprint and became the new Dutch U23 Champion. Dennis Bakker from Metec became second and Piotr Havik from the Rabobank Development Team became third.