UCI World Championships: Day 6

Today the fans were treated to not one but two road races in one day. The crowds of Yorkshire braved the weather to cheer on the Junior Women and U23 Men.

Both starting on Doncaster, the women led the way with an 86km route – with a race peppered with crashes. The USA won their first World Championship since, well, yesterday. It was two golds in as many days as Megan Jastrab who finished ahead of Julie de Wilde (Belgium) and Lieke Nooijen (Netherlands) after attacking in the closing kilometres of the race.

Jastrab and Aigul Gareeva (Russia) powered away from the peloton with 2km to go, it was a break that looked to last until the two slowed down with one kilometre to go. The pair sizing each other up was the Russians undoing as the fast closing peloton caught and passed Gareeva but not eventual winner Jastrab.

The final climb to the finish was a climb too far for some of the riders as they had laid it all on the line in a challenging course. Many of the riders were left pushing and running with their bikes over the line to finish.

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The men’s U23 road race ended in dramatic fashion. Not just home nation favourite but home county favourite, Tom Pidcock was desperate for the rainbow jersey. Sadly, it was not to be, finishing fourth on the road – in a sprint finish Pidcock didn’t have the legs. However, after the race eventual winner, Dutchman Nils Eekhoff, was disqualified.

It was Italian Samuele Battistella who ended up with the rainbow jersey from Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland) and Tom Pidcock in third.

Nils Eekhoff who had taken a fall earlier in the race and made his way back to the peloton through the cars was judged to have gained an advantage by drafting behind the team cars. While there is clear video evidence of him doing so, this is generally seen as something which is done in cycling. A complaint made by the Italian team was looked in to by the UCI and a subsequent disqualification was handed out to Eekhoff.

Not to distract from what ended being a fantastic finish and this being a twist in the tale, but it does feel as if a precedent has been set here by the UCI. I doubt that this will be something which is now found to be common place. When the leader of the Tour is making his way back to the peloton, or another high profile rider in a high profile race is using the cars, I don’t think the UCI will be doing the same then.

It is this inconsistency that has stolen the Rainbow jersey away from Eekhoff.

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