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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Mads Pedersen tops Matteo Trentin to take a stunning victory in a rain-soaked elite men’s road race at Yorkshire Worlds, Bahrain-Merida terminates contract with Rohan Dennis, Euskadi-Murias is running out of time to find a new sponsor. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Pedersen wins the elite men’s world road title
Mads Pedersen is the new elite men’s world road champion.
The 23-year-old Dane out-sprinted Italy’s Matteo Trentin and Switzerland’s Stefan Küng to win the rainbow jersey in the stunning finale of a rain-soaked day in Yorkshire.
— UCI (@UCI_cycling) September 29, 2019
The trio battled for the win after a long stretch off the front of the race in a group that, for most of the final half hour of racing, contained pre-race favorite Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) and Italy’s Gianni Moscon.
As it became clear the winner would come out of the lead quintet, all eyes were on van der Poel—but the Dutchman cracked suddenly with 13 kilometers to go and dropped out of contention entirely. With Moscon working for fast-finishing teammate Trentin before dropping off the back, the race came down to a three-rider sprint.
Despite Trentin’s proven kick, Pedersen took a clear win at the Harrogate finish line to become the youngest men’s world road champ since Óscar Freire won the title in 1999.
“I didn’t expect this when we started this morning,” said Pedersen, who rides for Trek-Segafredo in trade team events.
“This is every rider’s dream to wear this jersey – for me to do it now? It’s unbelievable.”
The elite men took on 261.8 kilometers of racing from Leeds to Harrogate after organizers made last-minute changes to the route in the face of inclement weather, cutting the Buttertubs and Grinton Moor climbs from the early goings and adding two more trips around the Harrogate finishing circuit. Despite the alterations, the peloton spent plenty of time on Sunday riding through abysmal conditions, with heavy rain, low temperatures, and wind buffeting the race throughout the day, especially in the early goings.
An early break featuring a few big names – including Colombia’s Richard Carapaz and Nairo Quintana and Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic – worked out to a decent gap that held for a while as the peloton slogged on in the tough conditions on the way to the finishing circuit, where nine laps of 14 kilometers awaited.
Philippe Gilbert hit the deck with around 120 kilometers to go and his Belgian teammate Remco Evenepoel went back to try to help him rejoin the peloton; neither rider would make it back up to the front despite a long chase on the Harrogate circuit. Both ultimately abandoned the race. Also on the list of high-profile riders pulling out before the final hour of racing was defending champion Alejandro Valverde (Spain).
At the head of the race, the last remnants of the initial break were reeled in with 100 kilometers still to go, and for a long stretch after the catch was made there were no big attacks off the front. Then, with around 65 kilometers to go, Küng and Lawson Craddock (United States) jumped clear.
The duo rode to a gap of around 30 seconds, but then Craddock began to fade. As he lost touch, a handful of other riders jumped from the pack to bridge to Küng. With 45 kilometers to go, Pedersen, Moscon, and Mike Teunissen (Netherlands) arrived at the front to form a new lead group, before Trentin and van der Poel joined forces to pull clear of the dwindling pack, setting off alarm bells for rivals teams missing the move.
Trentin and van der Poel made the bridge and Teunissen lost touch, making for a five-man group leading into the last 30 kilometers, with a much-reduced peloton struggling to form a coherent chase. The Belgian squad put Tim Wellens and then Yves Lampaert to work at the front of the pack but few others contributed to the task, and the quintet out front gradually grew the advantage larger and larger.
The escapees hit the final lap with around 45 seconds in hand and an increasing likelihood of staying clear for the victory, with van der Poel seemingly in prime position to deliver on his status as pre-race favorite. With 13 kilometers to go, however, the world cyclocross champion cracked, shaking his head as he suddenly fell off the pace in the escape group. He was caught by the pack and then shelled out the back, ultimately finishing more than 10 minutes down.
Trentin, who has won stages in all three Grand Tours and sports a handy finishing kick, led out the final sprint. He worked up to top speed with around 200 meters to go on the uphill drag to the finish, but Pedersen blew past the Italian well before the line and took a convincing victory, earning himself a year in the rainbow jersey.
1 PEDERSEN Mads (Denmark) 6:27:28
2 TRENTIN Matteo (Italy)
3 KÜNG Stefan (Switzerland) 0:02
4 MOSCON Gianni (Italy) 0:17
5 SAGAN Peter (Slovakia) 0:43
6 VALGREN Michael (Denmark) 0:45
7 KRISTOFF Alexander (Norway) 1:10
8 VAN AVERMAET Greg (Belgium)
9 IZAGIRRE Gorka (Spain)
10 COSTA Rui (Portugal)
Chris Froome (Ineos) is back on the road.
The four-time Tour de France winner, who has spent the last few months recovering from injuries sustained in a bad crash during a recon of the Critérium du Dauphiné time trial, has been training indoors and on the track over the past few weeks. If the photo he has posted to social media is any indication, he’s finally back to riding outdoors now—and probably enjoying weather that sure looks a lot better than the way things have been in Yorkshire this week.
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) September 29, 2019
Bahrain-Merida terminates contract with Dennis
Rohan Dennis is no longer with Bahrain-Merida.
The team released a short statement on Sunday – just as the elite men’s road race at Yorkshire Worlds was ending – announcing that it had terminated Dennis’s contract on September 13.
“This termination has not previously been made public to allow Mr Dennis an undisturbed preparation for the UCI 2019 Road World Championships,” read the statement.
“Mr Dennis has referred the termination to the UCI Arbitral Board. Against this background, no further comment will be made at this time.”
Dennis’s strained relationship with his now-former trade team has been more or less public knowledge since the 29-year-old Australian pulled out of this year’s Tour de France during stage 12 on the eve of the time trial, with a dispute over equipment reportedly causing tempers to flare. That would be his last racing appearance for Bahrain-Merida.
Dennis raced at Worlds with the Australian national selection, however, defending his world time trial title this past week and riding not on a Merida TT bike but instead on a BMC, another sign of the rift with his squad.
Apparently as of two weeks ago now, however, he’s free to sign elsewhere for next season.
Van Vleuten after long-range Worlds attack: “All day I thought it was super stupid”
A daring long-range attacked worked out well for Annemiek van Vleuten in Saturday’s elite women’s race at Yorkshire Worlds, but even the 36-year-old Dutchwoman wasn’t sure it was a great idea until she took the victory.
As van Vleuten explained after her Worlds win, the initial plan for the day had been for her and teammate Ann van der Breggen to try to force a selection on the Lofthouse climb. When van Vleuten found herself solo off the front, she just kept pushing, despite the many kilometers still remaining until the Harrogate finish line.
“All day I thought it was super stupid, what I was doing,” she said.
“I thought my national coach would say ‘this is stupid, stop and wait for that group,’ but she said ‘no it’s super good for us, continue.’”
Ultimately, the attack worked to perfection, and Vleuten rode to a dominant win by more than two minutes, with van der Breggen securing a silver medal for the Netherlands for good measure.
Euskadi-Murias on the brink of folding
Basque Pro Continental squad Euskadi-Murias is in dire straits, with no sponsor secured for 2020, according to Basque Country newspaper Deia.
As Deia reports, team manager Jon Odriozola had been optimistic at the end of the Vuelta a España that the team would ride on into next season, with a new backer in place and a deal all but signed. With a UCI deadline for team registration fast approaching, however, the team still has no sponsor committed for next year, leaving the team in danger of folding.
Euskadi-Murias has won stages at each of the past two Vueltas, with Óscar Rodríguez winning stage 13 in 2018 and Mikel Iturria nabbing stage 11 this year.
Hucker wins Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen
Australia’s Robbie Hucker (UKYO) topped the final podium at Indonesia’s Tour de Banyuwangi Ijen, which finished on Sunday in Ijen.
Hucker climbed to the top of the overall standings on the fourth and final stage of the UCI 2.2-rated race, won by Frenchman Thomas Lebas (Kinan). Kiwi Michael Vink (St. George) secured runner-up honors as Sapura’s Jesse Ewart, who led the race from stage 2, rounded out the final podium in third overall.
Thanks to the CyclingTips team on the ground at Worlds, you can take a closer look at a few of the many eye-catching bikes ridden in Saturday’s elite women’s race …
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Mads Pedersen wins the elite men’s world road title in Yorkshire. Photo: SWPics/Cor Vos © 2019