Remco Evenepoel World Champion

Road 25/09/22 14:06 Migue A.

An impressive performance by Remco Evenepoel, the most brilliant rider in a crazy race, who imposed his tremendous strength to take the rainbow jersey with a magnificent and unappealable attack with two laps to go.

Remco Evenepoel's law reigns supreme in the Road World Championship

He already did it as a junior at the 2018 World Championships in Innsbruck, when he made clear the level of rider that awaited us, he has done it this year in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Clásica de San Sebastian and, once again, Remco Evenepoel has imposed his tremendous class to give us a new performance that allows him to conquer the rainbow at just 22 years of age.

A strange World Championship that started with Mathieu Van der Poel in the news. During the night before the race some teenagers were knocking on the door of his hotel room. The Dutchman went out and confronted them, eventually the police intervened and he stayed at the police station until 4am. Clearly not the best way to start a World Championship.

The Dutchman retired after riding 30 kilometres, it seems that Van Der Poel will have to stay in Australia for six weeks, according to his manager Christoph Roodhoolft. 

The race started and, after forming the breakaway of the day, 11 riders with Simon Pellaud, Juraj Sagan or Nícolas Sessler as the most prominent names, it was time to cross the first finish line where Van der Poel put an end to his race, although not to his stay in Australia because, after the incident, his passport was withdrawn pending the resolution of his case.

From the first pass through Wollongong, the long climb to Mount Keira was faced, where the surprise came with an ambitious French team that started to increase the pace with men like Vlasov and Cosnefroi. A hard pace that began to take its toll and crowning managed to form an important cut in which 5 French and Pogacar and Wout Van Aert who were attentive to the move.

They would keep up the pace on the downhill and the first lap of the circuit with 190 kilometres to go. However, the lack of understanding would eventually lead to attacks in which a group of five formed with Sivakov, Serry, O'Connor, Plapp and Batistella while the rest were caught by the peloton.

The race finally calmed down, with the breakaway quickly gaining more than 8 minutes and the aforementioned group of 5 catching the escapees. Behind it was time to work to reduce the gap, a role that the Dutch and Spanish teams took on.

The next decisive moment came when the pace accelerated with 70 kilometres to go. There was a big break in the peloton of 25 riders that caught the main favourites offside, but not Remco Evenepoel, who slipped in with other notable riders such as Romain Bardet, Jai Hindley and Lutsenko, opening up a gap and making it to the front.

Thus we reached the final part of the race, with this group taking 2 minutes off the main peloton in which there was no understanding to chase. Remco Evenepoel crossed the finish line with two laps to go and that was the moment he chose to attack. Only Alexey Lutsenko managed to stick to his wheel.

However, we had already seen this story, what had to happen happened and on the ascent of Mount Pleasant Remco's inhuman pace was too much for the Kazakh. Remco Evenepoel was left on his own with no sign of anyone being able to dispute his victory in the glorious lap and a half that remained to the finish.

Behind, the survivors of the breakaway tried unsuccessfully to push on, already thinking about the two remaining medals. So much so that a few hundred metres from the finish line the peloton managed to reach them and in a tight sprint, the silver went to Christophe Laporte, a well-deserved prize for the huge French World Championship; while the bronze went to a tough Michael Matthews who left Wout Van Aert looking a bitter-sweet 4th place.

Elite Men's Classification 

  1. Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) 06h16’08’’
  2. Christophe Laporte (France) +02’21’’
  3. Michel Matthews (Australia) +02’21’’
  4. Wout Van Aert (Belgium) +02’21’’
  5. Matteo Trentin (Italy) +02’21’’
  6. Alexander Kristoff (Norway) +02’21’’
  7. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) +02’21’’
  8. Alberto Bettiol (Italy) +02’21’’
  9. Ethan Hayter (Great Britain) +02’21’’
  10. Mattias Skjelmose (Denmark) +02’21’’

Van Vleuten enters the Olympus

Not even the best scriptwriter would have thought of a plot twist like the one we saw in the outcome of the women's race where the a priori great favourite, Annemiek Van Vleuten, was no longer the favourite after her spectacular crash in the mixed team time trial in which she cracked her elbow, leaving her participation up in the air until the last moment and finally surprising in the last meters to win her second Road World Championships after the one she won in Yorkshire in 2019.

The women's race was decided in the last three laps, specifically on the penultimate pass over Mount Pleasant where the pace accelerated, which caused the first big selection in the peloton that left the Australian Grace Brown, one of the favourites to win the title, as the main victim.

Australia had no choice other than to change tactics and engage in guerrilla warfare, which ended up driving the race crazy as it reached the penultimate step of the climb where Kashia Niewiadoma launched a hard attack that was followed only by Liane Lippert, Cecile Uttrup Ludwig, Elisa Longo Borghini and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. A move that knocked out reigning World Champion Elisa Balsamo.

Liane Lippert counterattacked almost to the top and took the Italian on her wheel, resulting in an intense chase on the downhill and the flat that led to the final pass to the finish line. The five of them merged and behind them, a Dutch team that had not played a leading role so far, had to make the fight to save the day.

Ellen Van Dijk did an immense job and almost on her own she managed to close the gap until she neutralised the five leading riders, well into the last lap.

It was all to be decided on the last ascent of Mount Pleasant despite Marlen Reusser's attempt to anticipate the movements of the favourites. Again the same 5 riders who had unleashed hostilities in the previous lap are those who stand out at the front while the Dutch team was in trouble with a Marianne Vos exhausted and Annemiek Van Vleuten working for her until Vos, seeing herself without legs gave her freedom to pull ahead.

Spectacular chase in the last kilometres with the leading riders understanding each other perfectly and a group of 8 behind, formed by riders like Arlenis Sierra, Silvia Persico, Lotte Kopecky or Annemiek Van Vleuten herself were chasing trying to keep alive their chances of victory.

It seemed that victory would be in front of them until, crossing the last kilometre, they were caught. Finally the rainbow would be disputed in the sprint, at least that's what we thought until, a depleted Annemiek Van Vleuten, the last one who managed to connect, took strength from where there was none and launching a surprise attack, similar to the one that once gave the victory to Oscar Freire in that remembered World Championship in Verona, managed to open a small gap that allowed her to reach the glory in a perfect season in which she has scored Giro, Tour, Vuelta and World Championship.

Elite Women's Classification

  1. Annemiek Van Vleuten (The Netherlands) 04h24’25’’
  2. Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) +01’’
  3. Silvia Persico (Italy) +01’’
  4. Liane Lippert (Germany) +01’’
  5. Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark) +01’’
  6. Arlenis Sierra (Cuba) +01’’
  7. Juliette Labous (France) +01’’
  8. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland) +01’’
  9. Elise Chabbey (Switzerland) +01’’
  10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) +01’’



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