National championships round-up: men’s individual time trials and road races

by Matt de Neef


Over the past week many of the pros have been heading back home to contest their respective national championships, fighting for the honour of wearing their national colours for the next 12 months. In this post we wrap up the biggest results from a selection of the men’s individual time trials and road races.

For coverage from the various women’s national championship races, be sure to check out Anne-Marije Rook and Jessi Braverman’s terrific wrap-up over at Ella CyclingTips.


Individual time trials

Austria – Georg Preidler

Georg Preidler’s victory in the Austrian time trial championships late last week was the first professional victory in the Giant-Alpecin rider’s career.

prologue of the Tour de Suisse 2015

He covered the 25km course in a time of 32 minutes 6 seconds (49km/h) taking a comfortable victory in the lead up to his first Tour de France.

“It’s like a dream for me to start the Tour de France next week and really unbelievable to do that in the national colours”, Preidler said. “I always dreamed of that and if people would have told me that three years ago I would do so, I would have laughed, so I am really happy.”

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Belarus – Vasil Kiryienka

Team Sky’s Vasil Kiryienka put in a dominant performance in the Belarusian ITT championships, winning by more than two minutes on the 36.3km course. The win follows his victory in the Giro d’Italia ITT and the European Games ITT last week.

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Belgium – Jurgen van den Broeck

Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto Soudal) took 58 minutes and 32 seconds to cover the 48.8km course in the Belgian ITT title, winning the day by 42 seconds.

Belgian National Championships Cycling ITT 2015

“This feels good. I gave it all, right from the start, that was the best you could do on that course,” van den Broeck said. “It was almost all straight ahead and there was not much wind.”

“Those long straight roads might have been mentally hard for some riders. You could never recover. I live close to the course. It wasn’t a big advantage that I knew it very well, but it might have been a small advantage in the few curves.”

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Canada – Hugo Houle

In the absence of nine-time national champion Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge), Hugo Houle of Ag2r-La Mondiale was able to claim the Canadian national ITT title. Houle is a former national U23 and junior champion but this was his first elite national title.

“I am really proud to represent Canada,” Houle said after the win. “The fact that Svein was not here was a great opportunity. I had a target on my back today, and I wanted to rise to the challenge. I self-imposed myself a great deal of expectations today, and I am happy I delivered.”

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Czech Republic – Jan Barta

Jan Barta (Bora-Argon18) took his fourth-straight Czech ITT title by completing the 38.6km course with an average speed of 49.4km. Barta will wear his country’s colours on stage 1 of the Tour de France in Utrecht in less than a week’s time.

“I came here well prepared for the Championships, so I’m pleased that I managed to win,” Barta said. “The first half and the hill went pretty good. I rode carefully some of the corners in the second half, because I knew that I [had] a lead.”

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Denmark – Christopher Juul Jensen

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Chritstopher Juul Jensen took his first Danish ITT title last week and will get a chance to wear the jersey in his home tour, the Tour of Denmark, in early August.

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Eritrea – Daniel Teklehaimanot

MTN-Qhubeka’s Daniel Teklehaimanot took a narrow victory in the Eritrean championships, beating Meron Teshome by just four seconds over the 38km course. He will wear the Eritrean colours in the stage 1 ITT at the Tour de France on Saturday.

Tekle

“I am very happy to take this victory. It was a long day but to finally end with a win is a great feeling,” Teklehaimanot said. “To wear the flag of Eritrea at the Tour de France will be very special and I will try to do everyone proud.”

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France – Jerome Coppel

Jerome Coppel overpowered his IAM teammate and six-time former French ITT champion Sylvain Chavanel to take victory.

“I’m also very surprised that I won,” said Coppel. “I never made the podium before and my first time is on the top spot. I was pretty sure that I was racing for second place behind Sylvain. It was a very hot day. Towards the end, it was very hard. I was almost cramping.”

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Germany – Tony Martin

Tony Martin took his fifth German ITT title, averaging 51.7km/h over 45km and finishing more than two minutes clear of his nearest rival.

Image: © Riccardo Scanferla
Image: © Riccardo Scanferla

“I am very happy to have won this race,” Martin said. “Being able to wear this jersey at the Tour de France to represent this is also something special.

“As for the parcours, it was flat and simple. But to me it was really good because it was kind of a last test prior to the opening time trial of Le Tour in Utrecht.”

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Great Britain – Alex Dowsett

Former hour record holder Alex Dowsett (Movistar) took his fourth British ITT title by a whopping three minutes, despite being stung by a wasp early in his effort.

Image: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Image: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“It’s lovely to get it back. It’s really significant being national champion,” Dowsett said. “I didn’t have a radio so I had no idea where I was in relation to anyone else.”

“On lap one I got stung by a wasp just inside my thigh, which kind of added insult to injury. Something always happens at nationals for me. I think I’ve had a crash, a bike change, being sick as a dog and this year a wasp sting so – yeah – a thrill a minute!”

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Italy – Adriano Malori

Adriano Malori (Movistar) took his fourth win of the season and the third Italian elite ITT title of his career, extending his time in the tricolour.

“It was quite a technical course, with lots of turns, climbing… it wasn’t easy at all. Fortunately, I felt really great, stronger than in the Tour de Suisse, and as there were many descents between the climbs, I was able to give my everything from the very start,” Malori said.

“Now it’s time to start thinking about next Saturday: the competition will be quite stronger, it’ll be a difficult day for me… but I feel strong and motivated.”

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Latvia – Gatis Smukulis

Gatis Smukulis (Katusha) made it five in a row at the Latvian ITT titles, finishing just eight seconds clear of his nearest rival after 35km.

Cycling: Tour of Belgium 2015/ Stage 1

“I am happy to win again the time trial. The Latvian Championship is an important race for me. So every time I try to be in good shape here,” Smukulis said. “The race was almost flat with some small uphill and downhill. I started behind [Alexis] Saramotins, so I knew his intermediate times and had the possibility to control the situation.”

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Lithuania – Ramunas Navardaskas

Cannondale-Garmin’s Ramunas Navardauskas took his third Lithuanian ITT title, covering the 25km course in a bit more than 35 minutes.

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Luxembourg – Bob Jungels

Despite suffering a puncture on the second of two 12.3km laps, Bob Jungels (Trek) was able to reclaim the Luxembourg ITT title.

stage 9 of the Tour de Suisse 2015 ITT

“I was confident, not about the victory, but about my performance,” Jungels said. “At the start of the second lap I could see [Jempy] Drucker already so I knew I was on course for a good time.

“I had a flat tire in the second lap and I had to change the bike. I was just about to catch Drucker who started in front of me by a minute, and then I punctured, so I was not nervous, I knew I was in a good position. I changed the bike and I was about 100 metres behind him at the line so I knew it was probably enough to win it.”

“This gives me a lot of confidence for the Tour de France and the time trial on the first day.”

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Netherlands – Wilco Keldermann

LottoNL-Jumbo’s Wilco Kelderman took a surprise victory in the Dutch ITT championships, beating the more-fancied Tom Dumoulin on the long, 54.8km course.

“I never expected this result,” Kelderman said after his victory. “Tom Dumoulin was the favourite and it would be very difficult to beat him. But everything fell into place today.”

Kelderman will wear the Dutch national colours in the stage 1 ITT at the Tour de France in Utrecht on Saturday.

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Norway – Edvald Boasson Hagen

Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) claimed his seventh Norwegian ITT title, averaging more than 46km/h over the 49km course and finishing more than two minutes ahead of his nearest rivals.

EBHTT

“I felt good on the course so to come away with the jersey is great, especially as we are going into the Tour now and I will be able to ride in the Norwegian colours once again,” Boasson Hagen said.

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Portugal – Nelson Oliveira

Nelson Oliveira defended his Portuguese ITT title, the Lampre-Merida rider completing the four laps of a 9km course in 44 minutes 5 seconds, just four seconds ahead of Tiego Machado.

“I’m very happy, because it’s always something difficult to repeat a victory, especially on this year course, which was very demanding,” Oliveira said. “I managed my energies in the first part of the race, then I increased my pace and I had the energies to be very fast in the last lap.”

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Slovakia – Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) will wear the Slovakian national colours on stage 1 of the Tour de France on Saturday after winning his national ITT title in what proved to be a great weekend for the ‘sprinter’.

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Spain – Jonathan Castroviejo

Movistar claimed a clean sweep of the podium in the Spanish ITT titles with Jonathan Castroviejo taking his second victory in the event.

Castro

“Just like two years ago, the biggest goal of the season for me is the Tour de France, and the Spanish Championships, just one week earlier, force you to profit from your good fitness,” Castroviejo said.

“It was a horrible day: I spent almost the whole TT without any water. Obviously, after taking this jersey, you only think about wearing it at the Tour: should health and injuries respect me, I hope to do really well.”

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Switzerland – Silvan Dillier

Silvan Dillier (BMC) took his first victory of the season by winning the Swiss ITT title, covering the 39.4km course more than a minute faster than his fastest rival.

“This is a nice victory for me,” Dillier said. “The title is always nice to have and it is a good push for the season because I have had some bad luck in a few races. Now it is all coming together.”

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Road races

Austria – Marco Haller

Marco Haller (Katusha) won the Austrian road title after attacking from a four-rider lead group on the penultimate lap and riding away to win the 192km race solo. He will wear the Austrian colours in the Tour de France.

“This is my first pro title. It is especially nice to me as I won the race after a real elimination race. I am a sprinter, but I didn’t want to take the risk to wait for the sprint.

“Every lap some riders dropped. In the end we started the penultimate lap with just four riders left. That’s when I attacked on the penultimate climb. It was the right moment and nobody was able to chase me down,” said Haller.

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Belgium – Preben Van Hecke

Topsport Vlaanderen’s Preben Van Hecke took a surprise victory in the Belgian road title, outsprinting Jurgen Roelandts in a two-man lead group at the end of 240km (see feature image above).

Belgian national championship race elite men road 2015

This is by far the biggest win of the 32-year-old’s career.

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Canada – Guillaume Boivin

After an aggressive race that saw several breakaways get clear, it was Guillaume Boivin (Optum Kelly Benefits) that took out the Canadian road race title in a reduced bunch sprint.

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Czech Republic – Petr Vakoc

Petr Vakoc ensured that the Czech national colours will remain with Etixx-Quick-Step for the next 12 months, after winning his first national title this weekend. Vakoc was in the final selection with Leopold Konig and Peter Sagan (the Czech and Slovak titles are decided in the same race) before attacking with 500m to go to leave Konig behind.

Rund um Koln 2015

“It’s amazing,” Vakoc said. “It’s the first time I became national champion on the road in all my life, so it’s a really great feeling.

“I really can’t wait to ride with this jersey. I was often 2nd and 3rd in these championships in the past, but a national championship is another level. I want to celebrate this big achievement now with my family.”

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Denmark – Chris Anker Sorensen

Chris Anker Sorensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) took his first win since 2010 when he won the Danish road race title in a two-up duel against Cult Energy’s Martin Mortensen.

“It was just what I needed,” Sorensen said. “I am without a contract for next season.”

He and Mortensen broke clear from a nine-man lead group with 6km to go and weren’t caught before the line.

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Eritrea – Natnael Berhane

MTN-Qhubeka’s Natnael Berhane took a solo victory after attacking alone from a group of 11. Berhane had been part of an initial four-rider break that got clear after 15km but when another seven riders joined the group, Berhane attacked solo and wasn’t seen again.

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France – Steven Tronet

Steven Tronet (Auber 93) left behind his more fancied rivals to take victory in the 247.7km French road race title over the weekend.

“For the last month I’ve been telling myself it’s possible,” Tronet said. “I did everything to win, I really believed in it.”

“This is my reward, I’ve been struggling for nine years.”

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was widely tipped to win but he crashed in the final. Anthony Roux (FDJ) was blamed for the incident and was later stripped of his second place. Bouhanni is likely to miss the Tour de France as a result of the crash.

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Germany – Emanuel Buchmann

Bora-Argon 18’s Emanuel Buchmann took a surprise victory in the German road race title, winning the day after a late attack.

Bora-Argon 18 went into the race wanting to avoid a bunch sprint (which would favour the likes of Andre Greipel) and rode accordingly, putting in plenty of attacks towards the end. The German squad had five riders in the final group of 16 before Buchmann attacked.

“I was also really strong today, so that’s not an undeserved victory,” Buchmann said. “I knew that it would have been difficult in a sprint and therefore Björn Thurau and I alternately attacked. I was lucky that they let me go.”

Buchmann will line up at the Tour de France on Saturday and will get to wear the German national champion’s colours from stage 2.

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Great Britain – Peter Kennaugh

Team Sky claimed three of the top-four places in the British road race championships as Peter Kennaugh defended his victory from 12 months ago.

Image: Team Sky
Image: Team Sky

Kennaugh animated the early stages, getting clear with trade teammate Ian Stannard, but they were hauled back by Luke Rowe and Mark Cavendish. Kennaugh again got clear, this time with Cavendish, in the closing stages, and was able to distance the former world champion on the cobbled Michaelgate climb.

“I didn’t think I’d won it until the last right-hand bend when I saw Cav wasn’t on my wheel,” Kennaugh said. “Up until then he’d been incredibly strong and hats off to him, I’m sure he’ll get this jersey again another year.

“Winning the race last year meant everything to me and it’s been a great 12 months. I couldn’t believe how quickly it came around again and I’m over the moon to be staying in the white jersey, with my white bike and white accessories.”

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Italy – Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has defended his Italy road race title, winning solo at the end of a hilly 219km race. Nibali helped to thin out the field on the Soperga climb in the closing stages, before attacking alone the next time around to reach the top solo.

“I thought: sooner or later they will get tired of chasing me,” Nibali said.

Nibali will wear the Italian tricolour as he attempts to defend his Tour de France title from Saturday.

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Latvia – Aleksejs Saramotins

Alexey Saramotins (IAM) claimed an impressive seventh Latvian title over the weekend, winning a sprint from a seven-rider group after several breakaway groups led proceedings early in the day.

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Luxembourg – Bob Jungels

Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing) completed the double on Sunday, adding the Luxembourg road title to the ITT victory he took earlier in the week.

Image: Trek Factory Racing
Image: Trek Factory Racing

Jungels was part of a four-rider group that got clear very early on. That group gradually fragmented with Jungels and Ben Gastauer (Ag2R-La Mondiale) the last two remaining, before Jungels went alone, winning by more than a minute.

“This feels really good!” said an elated Jungels. “It’s always nice to race at home and then to take both jerseys is always special. And now to take them to the Tour [de France] is overwhelming. It’s always nice to have it and then to show it in the Tour is really big.”

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Netherlands – Niki Terpstra

Niki Terpstra (Etixx-Quick-Step) took his third Dutch road title in a bunch sprint at the end of 253km. A group of eight riders had earlier led by more than 16 minutes but they were caught with roughly 7km to go. Terpstra helped to open a small gap in the closing stages, reducing the size of the group in the final.

Dutch National Championships road Men

“I am happy because this is the third national title on the road in my career, but probably the most difficult of the three,” Terpstra said. “No one wanted to work to close the gap. In the last laps we worked hard to bring these guys back.

“I went at a certain moment and fortunately I took advantage of our tyres that are super good in wet conditions. Then I came into the final sprint with the other guys, but when I looked around me it was only sprinters.

“So, I was thinking I will end up with another 2nd place, but I gave everything and in the end I passed Sinkeldam and I won.”

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Norway – Edvald Boasson Hagen

Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) capped off an impressive week of racing, adding the Norwegian road title to his ITT victory from a few days earlier.

BoassonHagenRR

The race split early on with Boasson Hagen making it to the front of three groups. A small group split off the front of that group but would eventually be reeled back in inside the final kilometres. As the race reformed, Boasson Hagen made his move and was able to stay ahead and take the victory.

“It came down to us chasing that small group at the finish and I was just going full gas for what seemed like a long time,” Boasson Hagen said. “I was feeling good though so yeah I must say I’m quite pleased with how things went today, eventually catching the group and getting the win by a small margin.”

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Portugal – Rui Costa

Former world champion took his first Portugese road race title over the weekend, ensuring the jersey would stay with the Lampre-Merida team for another year (Nelson Oliveira won it in 2014).

The 177.1km course featured 11 laps of a circuit that included the climb to Sameiro Sanctuary. Costa was able to find his way into the lead group before kicking to victory.

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Russia – Yuri Trofimov

Yuri Trofimov (Katusha) won the Russian road title after attacking in the final lap of the race and holding on for a comfortable solo victory.

“I was already on the podium in previous years and now everything went perfect for me to win,” Trofimov said. “In the second part of the race, after a number of attacks, a group of six riders, including me, was in front.

“With two laps to go I tried to attack just to see what would happen but in the last lap I attacked again, this time for 100%. I was able to get away, while my teammates supported me in the back.”
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Slovakia – Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) completed the Slovakian ITT/road-race double on the weekend when he won his fifth title in the latter.

As mentioned earlier, Sagan was part of a three-rider group (with Konig and Barta) in the combined Czech/Slovakian road race titles before he attacked on his own and rode away to victory. His brother Juraj was second in the Slovakian race.

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Spain – Alejandro Valverde

Seven years after winning his first Spanish road race title, and a year after winning the Spanish ITT title, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is again the Spanish national champion.

Image: Movistar
Image: Movistar

Valverde proved strongest on the uphill finish to Caceres after 189km in extreme heat.

“I leave Cáceres with many good memories: it’s been a pleasant three days here, calm and relaxed… and I was able to get this victory!,” Valverde said. “I don’t ride bad with strong heat, but it was a really extreme race today, just like when I won in Talavera.

“It was a finish that really suited me and I could use my top speed. Now it’s time to go to the Tour: I think we’re in really good form.”

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Switzerland – Danilo Wyss

Danilo Wyss (BMC) will get to wear the Swiss national colours at the Tour de France after winning his national road title over the weekend.

“I tried to attack Michael Albasini (ORICA-GreenEdge) with two kilometers to go because I knew he was really fast and really good on this type of finish,” Wyss said. “It was a tricky finish because the last kilometre was a bit downhill and then there were two 90-degree turns. I knew I had to take one of the last turns in the front.

“I took all the risks and sprinted before the turn. Albasini did the same and we entered too fast and he crashed.”

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