Road World Championships: Julian Alaphilippe wins thrilling world title

France’s Julian Alaphilippe wins the men’s road race in thrilling style at the World Championships in Imola, Italy, with Belgium’s Wout van Aert second and Marc Hirschi of Switzerland third.

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Julian Alaphilippe wins Road World Championships road race

Julian Alaphilippe wins thrilling world title

Julian Alaphilippe has won the Road World Championships men’s road race in Imola, following a breakaway attack.

The Frenchman joined many of cycling’s greats in claiming the rainbow jersey in the 258.2km one-day race.

Alaphilippe, 28, beat a chasing group containing many of the world’s in-form riders by 24 seconds.

He burst into tears as he crossed the line, just as he did when he won stage two of the Tour de France – remembering his father, who died in June.

Great Britain’s Tom Pidcock came 42nd, more than nine minutes down.

A great ride from a favourite of the peloton

Alaphilippe, who wore the yellow jersey for two days during the Tour earlier this month, broke away from the peloton with about 17km to go with typically aggressive riding.

A group containing Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark, Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland, Wout van Aert from the Netherlands and Switzerland’s Marc Hirschi followed off the peloton and sought to hunt Alaphilippe down.

But the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider’s supreme descending skills ensured he managed to hold an average gap of about 10 seconds between himself and the group – many of whom have won major races this season.

“It was a dream of my career [to win this race],” said a breathless Alaphilippe. “It’s hard for me to say something, but thanks to all my team-mates who believed in me today. Everybody did a great job.”

As Alaphilippe descended the Cima Gallisterna and neared the finish he became more and more animated, not knowing how much time he had over his rivals.

Julian Alaphilippe celebrates as he crosses the line
Alaphilippe has won several one-day races during his career

The course, in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, suited his riding style and capabilities – similar as it is to races he has won before, including the one-day ‘monument’ Milan-San Remo last year.

The venue for the Road World Championships, run by cycling’s world governing body the UCI, was switched late on at the 11th hour because original host nation Switzerland could not hold the event in Aigle-Martigny given government restrictions around the coronavirus pandemic.

How did the Britons get on?

Pidcock, who last week signed with the Ineos Grenadiers for the 2021 season, said: “That was one hell of an experience. We didn’t get the result, but we’re a young team and we’re here to learn.”

Pidcock fought for position near the front of the peloton alongside GB’s road captain Luke Rowe, also of Ineos, until about 30km to go before the team’s challenge faded on the course made up of 28.8km laps.

“Luke did a good job keeping at the front. It’s valuable for the future. It’s just a matter of time to get the legs and endurance to race the full distance instead of just riding the last lap.”

The course near Bologna, which had nearly 5,000km of climbing, also saw Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar competing for Slovenia.

He broke away from the peloton impressively with around 40km to go in a bid to tire rivals out and set up a win for countryman Primoz Roglic, whom he dramatically beat to the Tour title just a week ago.

Cycling’s next Grand Tour event is the Giro d’Italia on 3 October.

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Road World Championships: Anna van der Breggen wins women’s road race for rare double

Van der Breggen races to world title double

Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen became a double world champion by winning the women’s road race at the Road World Championships in Italy.

She becomes just the second rider to win both the time trial and road race at the same World Championships.

The Olympic champion finished the 143km course in Imola in four hours nine minutes 57 seconds, 80 seconds ahead of compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten.

The 2019 champion beat Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini in a sprint for second.

Van Vleuten was racing just nine days after breaking her wrist at the Giro Rosa and having surgery.

Van der Breggen, who went on to win her third Giro Rosa title, clinched her third world title having also won the road race in 2018.

Britain’s Lizzie Deignan, the 2015 champion, was 2:01 back in sixth, finishing in the same time as fourth-placed Marianne Vos.

The only other rider – male or female – to do the world double is Frenchwoman Jeannie Longo in 1995.

“I’m really happy,” said 30-year-old Van der Breggen. “I never expected this. This season has been incredible so far.”

A group of nine led by 72 seconds after 85km, the end of the third lap, before Vos led an attack from the Dutch team at the bottom of the climb at the 100km mark.

That paved the way for Van der Breggen to open up a commanding lead, which had reached 1:43 heading into the fifth and final lap.

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Road World Championships: Filippo Ganna takes gold, Geraint Thomas fourth

Ganna wins world title as Thomas finishes fourth

Filippo Ganna won gold in the men’s time trial as Geraint Thomas finished fourth at the Road World Championships in Italy.

Ganna claimed Italy’s first ever time trial gold medal, finishing ahead of Belgian Wout van Aert and Stefan Kung of Switzerland.

Thomas posted a time of 36 minutes 31.42 seconds for the 31.7km course.

Ganna completed the untechnical circuit which started at the Imola race track in 35:54.10.

Van Aert, who won two sprint stages at this year’s Tour de France, was 26.72 seconds slower, with Kung trailing by a further three seconds, while Thomas missed out on bronze. Alex Dowsett finished ninth.

No fans are in attendance at the Road World Championships in Imola.

Thomas – who missed this year’s Tour de France, admitting he wasn’t in the right shape – will remain in Italy for the three-week Giro d’Italia starting on Saturday 3, October.

Thomas was pleased with his ride, especially after revealing he had technical issues after not having his computer on his bike, meaning he had to mentally pace himself with only the race radio for help.

“It was tough, I was riding completely blind so I am happy with how it went considering that,” said Thomas.

“I would love to have medalled but that’s the way it goes.

“It looks good for the next month. The time trials are important for the Giro so it’s looking good for that.”

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Road World Championships: Anna van der Breggen wins women’s time trial

Van der Bruggen wins world time trial after Dygert crash

Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen won the women’s time trial after American favourite Chloe Dygert crashed out at the Road World Championships in Italy.

Dygert looked set to defend her title on the 31.7km circuit at Imola but lost control on a corner and hit a barrier.

USA Cycling later tweetedexternal-link that she was conscious and talking.

Van der Breggen won in 40 minutes, 20.14 seconds, with Switzerland’s Marie Reusser 15 seconds adrift in second and Dutch rider Ellen van Dijk in third.

Dygert, a 10-time world champion on track and road, was 26 seconds ahead on the clock at the intermediate checkpoint.

But the 23-year-old flipped over a barrier and down a bank, although her team car immediately came to her aid.

Van der Breggen, who secured her third Giro Rosa title on Saturday, came second to Dygert in last year’s world time trial in Yorkshire.

The 30-year-old was also runner-up to compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten as she tried to defend the road race title she won in 2018 – her only previous world gold.

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