The UCI World Championships draws to a close in what is considered by most as the end of the cycling season, unless your name is Chris Froome then you’re off to China.
Due to the torrid weather which has dogged most of this world championships, todays course for the men was shortened and cut out Buttertubs and Grin Moor. The road was simply flooded and just impassable. Riders, instead, cut across country before headed back to Harrogate and completed nine laps of the now infamous circuit.
The race started with interesting fashion with an elite breakaway, including that of Nario Quintana, Richard Carapaz and Primož Roglič headed up the road. However, they were caught and the race never really found much of a rhythm with only 46 riders of the 197 which started ended up crossing the line.
It was Denmarks Mads Pederson who has the honour of wearing the rainbow jersey for the next cycling season after leaving Italian Matteo Trentin in the spray off his back wheel, after the Italian attacked but never really ignited his sprint after he had burnt off his matches.
It’s fair to say Pederson was somewhat of a shock winner of the Men’s Road Race, with Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel being the heavy pre race favourite. He, proved himself to be human as he went a lap to early for himself and ran out of legs. MvdP rode past me after the race and could barely ride his bike in a straight line as the weather, cold and effort took it’s toll on his body. This was however the 24 year olds first proper season on the road and what a year it’s been for him.
Even the Belgiums who love a long grim day on the bike, spluttered in the wet conditions. Arguably they bought the strongest squad to Yorkshire and it was nearly all done, as they entered Harrogate and up Parliament Street for the first time. Philip Gilbert took to the floor, in a crash that he couldn’t even explain with a handy Lieutenant waiting for him in the shape of Remco Evenepoel the two of them rode hard to get back to the peloton. it was too much for Gilbert, though who retired a lap after his crash and with Evenepoel retiring, too, the hopes of Belgium fell on an out of form Greg Van Avermaet.
Hopes of a British win faded with the attack of Mathieu van der Poel. Ben Swift, who was Britains big hope, chose not to go with the attack and was waiting for the race to come back together for a sprint finish. Along with the ever impressive Tao Geoghegan Hart who finished 26th ahead of Swift, who himself finished in 31st where the only two British riders to finish.
With all rainbow jerseys decided, the riders now have down time until winter training begins. If possible, this world championships has inspired me further to get riding my bike, I’m even tempted by cyclocross! I hope it inspires more people to ride more, too. Who knows a young child watching from the sides of the road this week could be the next British rider to wear the rainbow jersey.
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