Monthly Archives: September 2019

Pedersen claims shock world road race title in brutal Yorkshire slog

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Road World Championships: Denmark’s Mads Pedersen wins men’s road race

Mads Pedersen claimed a shock victory in brutal wet conditions to become the first Dane to ever win the elite men’s world road race title in Yorkshire.

Pedersen, 23, clawed his way back into the leading trio after initially being dropped on the final lap in Harrogate.

Even then Italy’s Matteo Trentin was the favourite in the sprint finish but Pedersen surged past to beat him into second, with Switzerland’s Stefan Kung taking bronze.

“This is unbelievable,” said Pedersen.

“I didn’t expect this and it wasn’t the plan.”

Pedersen is only the second Dane to win a senior world road race title after Amalie Dideriksen won the women’s event in 2016.

After attacking to join Kung out front with 45km to go, Pedersen said he expected team-mates Michael Valgren and Jakob Fuglsang to bridge across but when they failed to do so, he just tried to “survive and hope for the best” after nearly six and a half hours of racing.

“I hoped that when I saw the finish line all the pain would be gone and I could do a good sprint,” he said.

“It’s every rider’s dream to wear the rainbow jersey – for me to do it now is unbelievable.”


Riders had to battle severe wet conditions in Yorkshire

Heavy rain overnight forced organisers to shorten the course by 23.5km and re-route the race, removing the two biggest climbs of Buttertubs and Grinton Moor because of flooding and adding two more laps of the finishing circuit of Harrogate.

Even with those changes it was a gruelling day for the riders in almost constant rain and cold temperatures on an undulating course that still had patches of standing water – only 46 of the 197 starters finished.

The conditions caused an interruption to the TV coverage as, with the helicopters grounded, the sole plane being used to relay pictures from the motorbikes had to land and refuel just as the race reached the finishing circuit, shortly before the early breakaway of 11 riders were caught.

Over half the field had already abandoned when Kung and American Lawson Craddock attacked with 65km to go, stringing out the peloton behind.

They stayed clear for 20km before Craddock dropped back and quit the race, while Pedersen, the Netherlands’ Mike Teunissen and Italy’s Gianni Moscon joined Kung.

A group of contenders, including three-time world champion Peter Sagan and Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet, were caught out at 35km to go when Trentin and Tour of Britain winner Mathieu van der Poel attacked to join the front group.

Teunissen dropped back but compatriot Van der Poel looked to be on course to fulfil his billing as one of the pre-race favourites, only to suddenly crack at 12km to go.

With the chasing group failing to get organised, Trentin and Kung drove on, distancing Moscon and putting Pedersen briefly in trouble.

Pedersen dug in to get back on with 5km to go and stayed calm when Trentin, who has eight Grand Tour stage wins including several sprint victories, launched 200m from the line.

Easing up to the Italian’s wheel, Pedersen swept round him and had time to raise his hands as he crossed the line, becoming the youngest men’s world champion since Spain’s Oscar Freire in 1999.

Moscon held on for fourth behind, while Sagan attacked late on to take fifth.

Tao Geoghegan Hart was the top British finisher in 26th after leader Ben Swift dropped out of the chasing bunch on the final lap.


Elite men’s road race top 10

1. Mads Pedersen (Den) 6hrs 27mins 28secs

2. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Same time

3. Stefan Kung (Swi) +2secs

4. Gianni Moscon (Ita) +17secs

5. Peter Sagan (Svk) +43secs

6. Michael Valgren (Den) +45secs

7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) +1min 10secs

8. Greg van Avermaet (Bel) Same time

9. Gorka Izagirre (Spa)

10. Rui Costa (Por)

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Van Vleuten wins world road race title with epic 100km solo attack

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Road World Championships: Annemiek van Vleuten wins women’s road race

Annemiek van Vleuten won her first world road race title after a stunning 105km solo breakaway in Yorkshire.

The Dutch rider, 36, attacked on the biggest climb of the day to Lofthouse and quickly built up a decisive lead.

An elite group of chasers, including Britain’s Lizzie Deignan, could not reel her in and Van Vleuten cruised to a spectacular victory in Harrogate.

Compatriot Anna van der Breggen rode clear late on to claim silver, while Australia’s Amanda Spratt took bronze.

Deignan was dropped after repeated efforts to animate the chase and finished 31st back in the pack.

It is a third straight women’s world road title for the Netherlands, following Van der Breggen last year and Chantal Blaak in 2017.

“It was not planned. I wanted to go hard on the climb as it was good for our team but I had a gap and my coach just said to continue,” said Van Vleuten.

“This was really crazy – I’m a bit crazy, I train a lot and that helped me to be ready for such a big effort.

“I felt so many emotions on the line – it’s such a big win for me. I’ve been world time trial champion but road champion you get to wear the jersey so much more.”

Van Vleuten has been in dominant form since recovering from a horrific crash while leading the Rio 2016 road race, winning two world time trial titles, the last two editions of the Giro Rosa and the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic this year.

Yet even by her standards, this was a staggering feat – holding off many of the best riders in the world for the majority of an undulating 150km course from Bradford.

When Van Vleuten kicked clear on a steep section, Deignan and Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini initially jumped on her wheel before dropping back – both unable to match her tempo but also looking to conserve energy, expecting to be able to chase her down with over 100km to go.

It was already too late.

Van Vleuten had a gap of a minute by the summit and her advantage never dipped below 45 seconds as she powered away over the rolling terrain, leading by 2:37 as she started the final three laps of the finishing circuit in Harrogate.

Deignan, frustrated by a lack of cohesion in the eight-rider chasing group, made several attacks to try to up the pace but was also then forced to respond when others attacked later on.

As a result, an exhausted Deignan, who earlier led the peloton through her home town of Otley, fell back when the USA’s Chloe Dygert-Owen made two canny attacks to go off alone in pursuit of Van Vleuten.

“I’m happy with my performance physically but tactically it was a masterclass in how to get it wrong – I didn’t pull the smartest moves,” Deignan told BBC Sport.

“I should’ve readjusted earlier – I was going for the rainbow jersey and the group I was in was racing for the silver medal, but Annemiek is in a class of her own and I couldn’t match her.

“It was phenomenal. I’m just grateful for the opportunity – what a privilege to race a home world champs and it’s a race I’ll never forget.”

Dygert-Owen, who won the world time trial title in dominant fashion on Tuesday, briefly cut into Van Vleuten’s lead but tired on the final lap and was passed by Van der Breggen and Spratt.

Van der Breggen dropped Spratt with 5km to go, while Dygert-Owen and Longo Borghini held on for fourth and fifth respectively, and pre-race favourite Marianne Vos won the sprint from the peloton to take sixth.

Elite women’s road race top 10

1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) 4hrs 6mins 5secs

2. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) +2mins 15secs

3. Amanda Spratt (Aus) +2mins 28secs

4. Chloe Dygert-Owen (US) +3mins 24secs

5. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) +4mins 45secs

6. Marianne Vos (Ned) +5mins 20secs

7. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Same time

8. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SA)

9. Lisa Brennauer (Ger)

10. Coryn Rivera (US)

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GB’s Pidcock wins World under-23 bronze as winner Eekhoff disqualified

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Eekhoff disqualified in U23 road race despite crossing the line first

Britain’s Tom Pidcock won bronze in the men’s under-23 World Road Race in Yorkshire after initial winner Nils Eekhoff was disqualified.

The race jury took 45 minutes after the finish to disqualify Eekhoff for drafting behind his Netherlands team car to catch up after an early crash.

Italy’s Samuele Battistella became world champion, with Switzerland’s Stefan Bissegger taking silver.

“I don’t think the bronze medal changes much,” said Pidcock, 20.

“There’s only one place that matters in a World Championship – I’ve got a souvenir but I would have liked a jersey.”

With a seven-man group contesting the finish in Harrogate, Pidcock launched his sprint early but drifted back before the line.

Despite crashing and injuring his right knee, which had not yet fully healed from a crash in last month’s Tour de l’Avenir, he made it into a four-man group that led into the final 5km of the 186.9km course.

Eekhoff and two others caught the leaders approaching the final kilometre and the 21-year-old Dutchman held off his rivals in the sprint for the line.

But the race jury soon announced the results were under investigation and, after consulting the footage, eventually decided to disqualify Eekhoff.

On Saturday, cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, released footage showing Eekhoff sheltering behind his team car for over two minutes until he made it back to the main bunch.

“It’s not how I would like to win a medal,” added Pidcock.

“I guess there are rules and consequences if you break them.”


Nils Eekhoff was in tears after being told he had been disqualified

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Britain’s Chris Froome set for return to cycling four months on from Dauphine crash

Chris Froome

Chris Froome had been aiming to win a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title in 2019

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is set for a return to cycling four months after suffering serious injuries in a crash while riding.

Ineos rider Froome will take part in Japan’s end-of-season Saitama Criterium on 27 October alongside team-mate and Tour de France champion Egan Bernal.

The Briton suffered several fractures after crashing into a wall in a warm-up for a Criterium Dauphine stage in June.

In effect an exhibition, the race marks a notable step in Froome’s recovery.

The 34-year-old broke his neck, right femur, elbow, hip and a number of ribs, as well as losing four pints of blood in the crash which came in an event he was using to prepare for the Tour de France.

Speaking in August, in his first interview since the crash, the seven-time Grand Tour winner said next year’s Tour de France was his “only goal”.

Initially thought to be facing at least six months away from cycling according to his surgeon, Froome was able to get back to light training sessions at the end of August.

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Road World Championships: Rohan Dennis defends time trial title

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Road World Championships: Rohan Dennis defends emotional world time trial title

Rohan Dennis defended his world time trial title by winning gold at the Road World Championships in Yorkshire.

The Australian, 29, completed the 54km course from Northallerton to Harrogate in one hour five minutes five seconds.

That was 1min 9secs quicker than Belgium’s 19-year-old European champion Remco Evenepoel, while Italy’s Filippo Ganna took bronze.

Alex Dowsett finished fifth – his best result in a world time trial – to earn Great Britain a second Olympic place.

A top-10 finish secured an extra Tokyo 2020 spot in the time trial.

John Archibald, who helped GB win a mixed relay bronze on Sunday, was 14th after being called up following the withdrawal of 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.

Dennis was racing for the first time since abandoning the Tour on the eve of the individual time trial stage in July.

He was the last rider to start, closing the gap on 2018 bronze medallist Victor Campenaerts and Vuelta a Espana winner Primoz Roglic before improving on the time set by Evenepoel, who won the junior road race and time trial titles at last year’s World Championships.

Evenepoel, who skipped the under-23 category to compete at elite level this year, is also expected to challenge for a medal in Sunday’s road race.

Final standings

1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) 1hour 5mins 5.35secs

2. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) +1min 9secs

3. Filippo Ganna (Ita) +1min 55secs

4. Patrick Bevin (Nzl) +1min 57secs

5. Alex Dowsett (GB) +2mins 2secs

6. Lawson Craddock (USA) +2mins 7secs

7. Tanel Kangert (Est) +2mins 8secs

8. Nelson Oliveira (Por) +2mins 10secs

9. Tony Martin (Ger) +2mins 27secs

10. Stefan Kung (Swi) +2mins 47secs

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