Van der Poel not sure why he faded in Worlds finale: Daily News Digest

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Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:

Mathieu van der Poel says he doesn’t have an explanation for his sudden struggles in last lap of the elite men’s road race at Worlds, Annemiek van Vleuten set to race Superprestige Gieten, Euskadi-Murias will shut down at the end of the season. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.

Story of the Day: Van der Poel is not sure why he faded in the Worlds finale but plans to get over it

Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) looked to be in prime position to deliver on his favorite status in the elite men’s road race at Worlds on Sunday as he rolled into the final lap on the Harrogate circuit with the select lead group. Minutes later, he was not only no longer at the front of the race, but shelled out the back of the chasing group as well after suddenly cracking completely.

After crossing the finish line more than 10 minutes down on race winner Mads Pedersen (Denmark), van der Poel could not offer a clear reasoning behind his unexpected implosion.

“It happened suddenly, even for myself. I don’t have an explanation,” the 24-year-old world cyclocross champ said.

Mathieu van der Poel after the elite men’s road race at Yorkshire Worlds. Photo: Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2019

Coming in the closing stages of a race spanning more than 260 kilometers, van der Poel’s struggles may have seemed fueling-related, but he said otherwise after the race, instead pointing to the conditions and distance as possible factors.

“I think I ate enough,” he said. “I was eating and drinking, but I could not get warm. The last lap was too long. The cold had something to do with it. At least I finished my first Worlds.”

With Worlds in the rearview mirror, van der Poel will close the book on his 2019 road campaign as winter approaches and the cyclocross season picks up. It wasn’t the way he wanted to finish an otherwise impressive season on the road, but van der Poel said he wouldn’t linger on it too long.

“Of course I am disappointed, but I rode a good race,” he said. “I made no mistakes and I was with the right group. I’ll get over this pretty quickly.”

Beauty of Cycling

The 2019 UCI Road World Championships delivered plenty of action, with compelling racing, wild weather, and no shortage of surprises.

That meant plenty of opportunities for some fantastic photography from Kristof Ramon …

… and Cor Vos …

Check out the gallery here.

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Pedersen: ‘I’m finished with playing the underdog’

After his surprise Worlds win, Denmark’s Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) knows things are going to be pretty different for him in 2020.

The 23-year-old may have been able to fly under the radar before this weekend, but those days are over now. Before Sunday, Pedersen was perhaps seen as an up-and-coming talent, whose runner-up ride at the Tour of Flanders in 2018 suggested a bright future. Now, he’ll be wearing the rainbow jersey for the next 12 months.

“I’m finished with playing the underdog. I think that’s going to be pretty much impossible from now on,” he said. “That’s a new situation and I have to race in another way from now on.”

Mads Pedersen recovers from his rainbow jersey-winning effort. Photo: Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2019

Pedersen, whose skill set makes him a strong bet for the Classics, will hope his upcoming spring goes better than his 2019 cobbled campaign. He does not shy away from admitting that things went poorly this past spring, when he didn’t land in the top 10 of any of the big Classics. Then again, he’s still just 23, and as he proved on Sunday, he’s pretty good at racing long distances on lumpy roads in bad weather. Although he’ll have more attention on now, he’ll also have some newfound confidence thanks to those rainbow stripes.

However things play out, an interesting 12 months lies ahead for Pedersen. As he put it, “Winning the world title would change a lot for every guy who has been a world champion, and so it will change a lot for me also.”

Van Vleuten to race Superprestige Gieten

After her dominant Worlds performance on the road at the head of the impressive Dutch national squad, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) is planning a short foray into cyclocross this fall.

“Don’t take this too seriously but I will be at the start of Superprestige Gieten (just because I like crosses!),” she wrote on Twitter.

The Gieten round of the Superprestige series takes place on October 13.

It won’t be the first time van Vleuten has raced ‘cross as a pro, nor the first time she has started the Superprestige Gieten, competing there in 2017 as well. After Gieten, her 2019 calendar also includes a start at Cyclocross Rhenen on November 2.

Before she hit the ‘cross circuit, however, van Vleuten will debut her rainbow jersey on the road this coming weekend in Italy, where she will ride the Giro dell’Emilia on Saturday.

Amador set to break Movistar contract to join Ineos

According to Marca, Andrey Amador is set to break his contract with Movistar to join Ineos.

Andrey Amador drives the pace on stage 14 of the Tour de France. Photo: Nico Vereecken/PN/Cor Vos © 2019

The 33-year-old Costa Rican, twice a top 10 finisher at the Giro d’Italia and a key member of Movistar’s Grand Tour lineups in recent years, recently signed a contract extension with the Spanish WorldTour squad. Marca reports, however, that he will head to Ineos with Giro winner Richard Carapaz next season. For now, the specifics of the contractual split and potential transfer remain unclear.

Euskadi-Murias will shutter at the end of 2019

After weeks of uncertainty, Basque Pro Continental outfit Euskadi-Murias has announced that it will indeed close its doors at the end of this season.

“We can officially confirm today that the Euskadi-Murias team will not continue next season,” read a statement released by the squad on Monday.

Founded five years ago as a Continental team focused on the development of Basque cycling, Euskadi-Murias jumped up to the Pro Conti ranks last year. Despite the team’s successes in the Vuelta a España – Óscar Rodríguez won stage 13 in 2018 and Mikel Iturria won stage 11 this year – management was unable to find sponsors to secure to the squad’s financial future into 2020.

Euskadi-Murias at the Vuelta a España team presentation. Photo: Luis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2019

“Our ongoing success saw us continue to grow, but faced with the impossibility of continuing to do that by our own means, we now must stand aside,” the team said.

“We are enormously grateful for the enthusiasm with which the Basque fans and fans around the world have received us in every one of the races in which we’ve participated.”

In case you missed it …

Feature Image: Mathieu van der Poel at Worlds. Photo: ©kramon

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