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The sun shone down on the first road races of the 2018 world road championships in Innsbruck, Austria and the juniors definitely put on a show. The home country got its first rainbow bands of the week and a Belgian solidified himself as a name for the future. Plus, in today’s least surprsing news, Gianni Bugno beat David Millar in the rider’s union election.
Story of the day: Evenepoel the magnificant
Eighteen-year-old Remco Evenepoel has only been riding his bike seriously for just about two years. He only started racing in premier junior races during the summer of last year. So, how has he faired?
Well, the Belgium press have nicknamed him the mini-Cannibal after the legendary Eddy Merckx.
Over the last 18 months, Evenpoel has won 35 of the 45 races he has entered. Wins just this year include cobbled classics such as Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and Gent Wevelgem, the Belgian national TT championship, the European TT and road race championship, and, as of this week, two world titles as well.
— UCI (@UCI_cycling) September 27, 2018
The former captain of the U17 Red Devils, Belgium’s national soccer team, put on incredible performances this week to sweep the junior men’s world road race and TT championships. He had such a massive lead in the road race that he started pumping his fist and waving to the crowd with still 3.5 kilometres to go. That’s not to mention he was two minutes behind at one point after a crash and long wheel change. It’s no wonder Team Sky and Quick-Step Floors fought this summer to sign him.
Speaking after the race, Evenepoel was confident and bullish about what he hopes to achieve in cycling. He said he dreams of winning a Grand Tour. With such high ambitions, the next years will be vital in his development.
Choosing between Sky and Quick-Step, Evenepoel choose to stay close to home with Quick-Step. In doing so, he also chose a classics-oriented squad over a GC-oriented squad. This could very well be the beginning of Quick-Step shifting into a GC contender at Grand Tours. 23-year-old Enric Mas finished Vuelta runner-up at La Vuelta. It will interesting to watch the make-up of Quick-Step’s roster in the coming years.
Bugno defeats Millar in CPA election
Gianni Bugno won a third four-year term as president of the CPA rider’s union, defeating David Millar 379 votes to 96 votes. The election and the process surrounding it has been a point of contention in recent weeks with riders even sending a letter in protest asking for the vote to be postponed until 2019. The conflict dealt with the voting process and the lack of an electronic voting system in place. As a result, many riders did not cast a vote in the election because it had to be done so in-person in Innsbruck if a rider was not from a country that voted in a block with a delegate.
Stigger takes junior women’s title
It may have only been her second road race, but Austria’s Laura Stigger wasn’t going to let that put her off. The junior mountain bike cross country world champion added a second set of rainbow stripes to her collection on Thursday, sprinting for victory from a select group to take out the junior women’s road race at the 2018 UCI World Road Championships.
— UCI (@UCI_cycling) September 27, 2018
A well-positioned Stigger started off the sprint with less than 200 metres to go. Living up to her saying of “there is only one speed, flat out” she continued to power through to the line to take a narrow victory in front of an ecstatic home crowd. In second was French rider Marie le Net and Canada’s Simone Boilard took the bronze medal.
Evenepoel wins, Mayrhofer and Facellu round out podium
While Remco Evenepoel soloed to the victory, there was a tough chase behind him for the silver and bronze medals. Germany’s Marius Mayrhofer had the honour of holding the wheel of Evenepoel the longest. The duo entered the final lap of the Olympic circuit with a minute on the chasers.
With 19-kilometres to go, Evenepoel set off alone and Mayrhofer was left to suffer to the finish. He had been in the breakaway, which Evenepoel bridged up too and his legs were fatiguing. The German was able to hold-off a two-rider chase in the final kilometres to take the silver medal. Alessandro Fancellu (Italy) outsprinted Alexandre Balmer (Switzerland) to take the final podium spot.
Switzerland to host 2020 Worlds, Flanders in 2021
Switzerland will host the world road championships on two occasions in the span of four years. The 2020 world road championships will take place in the Vaud and Valais cantons of Switzerland, the French-speaking region of the country. Four years later, Switzerland will host the championships again, but in the German-speaking region of the country between the Jura and Alpe mountain ranges.
The 2021 world road championships, which will be the 100th anniversary of the event, will take place in the Flanders region of Belgium. It will be interesting to see if the race organisation opts to include any of cobbled climbs that dot the region. The last time the cycling-crazed nation of Belgium hosted the world road championships was in 2002 when Mario Cipollini (Italy) and Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden) took the elite titles on a sprinter-friendly course.
The UCI also confirmed the locations of future world championships in other disciplines. Those locations can be found here.
BMC Racing will be known as CCC Team in 2019
General Manager Jim Ochowicz confirmed BMC Racing would continue in 2019 at the Tour de France after the polish brand CCC came on board to become the team’s title sponsor, as well as the owner of the program’s UCI license. However, media and fans have been left in limbo about what the team would be called.
CCC Team. Short and simple.
CCC is also taking over title sponsorship of the WaowDeals Women’s WorldTour team and the current CCC Sprandi Polkowice Pro Continental squad will be a Continental development team next year. The three CCC-sponsored teams will all be run as separate entities, Ochowicz said at a press conference.
The under-23 men line-up for their road world championship in Innsbruck, Austria tomorrow. The espoirs’ race is usually watched closely by the directors and riders of the elite men’s race, as it can be a good indication of how the elite event will unfold. However, it will be tough to compare the two as the under-23 men do not contest the brutally steep “Hell” Climb at the end of the race as the elite men will.
Junior Women’s RR highlights
In case you missed it …
Elite Women’s Road Race Preview: Simone Giuliani takes a look at the elite women’s road race and examines if anyone can beat the nearly unbeatable Annemiek van Vleuten on Saturday.
The Keys to CyclingTips: Our new Editor-in-chief Caley Fretz writes about how and why he decided to join the Beauty of Cycling family about a year ago.
Wheel Review: Our Tech Editor James Huang checks out the new Wake6560 wheelset from Princeton CarbonWorks. The young company’s staff doesn’t consist of established cycling wheel engineers and developers, but is run by mechanical and aerospace engineering graduates from Princeton University who boldly claim they can do aero carbon road wheels better than cycling’s main companies.
Today’s feature image: Remco Evenepoel raised his bike over his head and walked across the line to claim the junior men’s road race world title. The celebration reminded many of when Philippe Gilbert did the same at the Tour of Flanders in 2017 when he was the Belgian national road champion.