Worlds Race Report: Two more road races today in Yorkshire: The junior women and the Under 23 men fought it out in wet conditions again. Both races were tough battles with rainbow jerseys going to Megan Jastrab of the United States and Samuele Battistella of Italy.
World’s Men Under 23 Road Race
Dutchman, Nils Eekhoff won the men’s Under 23 World championship race. In a thrilling final, the Dutchman remained icy cool in the finalé and out-sprinter a leading group of seven. Samuele Battistella of Italy took the silver medal and Stefan Bissegger from Switzerland, the bronze. Home rider, Thomas Pidcock, just missed out in fourth place. Or so we thought! Eekhoff was DQ’d and everyone moved up a place.
But it was not to be
Men Under 23 Road Race – Doncaster to Harrogate – 173km
This race is a tale of two halves with a flat opening 90km being followed by a tough and testing finale. The parcours might look easy between Doncaster and Ripon, but the riders will have to be alert to potential crosswinds before the climbing begins in be alert to potential crosswinds before the climbing begins in earnest. The Blazefield Bank ascent comes just after Ripon, and a sharp descent into Pateley Bridge follows before the main climb of the day up Greenhow Hill. Averaging an 8.6% gradient over 2.8km, this rise has proven selective during the Tour de
Yorkshire and will no-doubt do so again here. Any riders that drifted back on the climb will have time to battle their way back into contention as the route drops gradually into Harrogate. The peloton must then take on two laps of the tough and technical Harrogate circuit before they muster one last push on the punchy drag to the finish line.
The first attack went from the start, with Patrick Gamper and Matis Louvel being the first to make a gap. The Austrian from Tirol KTM and the French trainee from Groupama-FDJ got 30 seconds away from the peloton, but they responded immediately. Rwandan Samuel Mugisha tried to cross over, but after 30 kilometres everyone was caught again.
A wet day in the north of England
It started to rain and the wind was already blowing, with the Norwegians and the Dutch putting the pressure on. After the peace had returned to the peloton, Jonas Iversby Hvideberg and Patrick Haller escaped. They were joined by Johan Jacobs, Alessandro Covi, Marijn van den Berg, Stuart Balfour, Petr Kelemen, Ben Healy and Stanislaw Aniolkowski. Ludvik Aspelund Holstad, Stan Dewulf, Andreas Lorentz Kron and Fred Wright also successfully made the crossing. Initially, their lead stuck around 15 seconds.
The first break of the day
The leading group slowly moved further away
The slippery roads caused a few crashes, including Nils Eekhoff, who will ride for Sunweb in the coming season. He was able to return to the peloton between the following cars, and there was the problem. At the front; Hvideberg had a flat tire, the leading group was down to 12 riders. After that, the lead of the escape increased steadily to 1 minute.
The rain and wind made the day harder
Most of the favourite teams had a man up front, while France and the United States were left behind in the peloton and had to chase. European champion Alberto Dainese, his compatriot Alexander Konychev and World time trial champion Mikkel Bjerg retired.
With more than a minute in hand, the leading group started the last 75 kilometres, and they hit the hilly section. On a descent there was a crash which included Brent van Moer, Jaakko Hänninen and the British hope, Tom Pidcock.
The front group
After two-thirds of the race, the lead group had 45 seconds, when they hit Greenhow Hill. Alessandro Covi was first over the line in the leading group, chased by Stan Dewulf. Covi, Dewulf, Balfour and Kron had a small gap on the leading on the climb.
The rain did ease off a little
In the peloton Norway and Germany caused several riders to run into problems. Jasper Philipsen, Andreas Stokbro and Kevin Vermaerke, among others, were in trouble. Because of the echelons, the groups got together at just under 50 kilometres from the finish. Favourites such as Stefan Bissegger, Jonas Rutsch, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Sergio Higuita, Kaden Groves and Szymon Sajnok were all ahead. This first group rode away from the second echelon for a maximum of 30 seconds. Slowly the difference narrowed and several riders tried to make the crossing, but at the first of the two laps around Harrogate the lead of the first group was still only 17 seconds.
Sajnok and Andersen
Favourites start to move
The last 26 kilometres was the signal for Sajnok to join forces with Idar Andersen and they took 20 seconds on the other escapees. Behind; the strong men came forward. First Stefan Bissegger and Samuele Battistella joined, later Tobias Foss and Tom Pidcock also came across.
Eekhoff was looking cool for the win
On Parliament Street it started to rain again, while Idar Andersen disappeared from the front due to bike failure. The five remaining started the final circuit with a lead of 16 seconds on the first chasers. The group with Jasper Philipsen was already at 1:45.
Two laps to go for the peloton
Andreas Kron, Georg Zimmermann, Nils Eekhoff and Sergio Higuita went after the leading group. Sajnok crashed at the front, so there was four with 4 kilometres to go, with Kron, Eekhoff and Higuita still chasing.
Eekhoff was the first over the line, but…
With 11 seconds the four up front had 3 kilometres to go. At the last kilometre the difference was almost nothing. The three pursuers joined in the next meters and suddenly seven riders had a chance to win the World title. The men looked at each other up to two hundred meters from the finish, until Higuita jumped first. Eekhoff hid behind the Colombian for a moment, with Pidcock trying to come alongside. The British home favourite, however, couldn’t pass the Dutchman, who then expertly completed the work. Battistella finished in second place, Bissegger came in third. But that was all to change. Over an hour after the finish, the jury disqualified the Dutchman for riding behind his team car after that mid-race crash.
Worlds U23 Men Road Race Result:
1. Samuele Battistella (Italy) in 3:53:52
2. Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland)
3. Thomas Pidcock (Great Britain)
4. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Colombia)
5. Andreas Lorentz Kron (Denmark)
6. Tobias Foss (Norway)
7.Pascal Eenkhoorn (Netherlands) at 0:38
8. Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)
9. Mathieu Burgaudeau (France)
10. Torjus Sleen (Norway).
The eventual podium
World’s Junior Women Road Race
Megan Jastrab is the new junior women’s World champion. The American managed to get away with Aigul Gareeva in the finalé and then jump away from the Russian before the finish in Harrogate. Julie De Wilde (Belgium) and Lieke Nooijen (Netherlands) caught and passed Gareeva to take the silver and bronze medals.
Junior Women Road Race – Doncaster to Harrogate – 86km
This route heads in a north-easterly direction out of Doncaster and follows a flat but rather exposed opening 60km where winds could play their part . It’s the gradual drag into Harrogate however that is likely to prove most decisive, especially given cumulative fatigue, and it could provide the springboard for a late attack . Expect to see the peloton thin out if the pace is kept high before a hard-fought finale in the centre of Harrogate.
On Thursday, Quinn Simmons rode to a convincing victory in the junior men’s World title, today it was the junior women’s turn. The first attack came from Diana Bukanova. The Kazakh managed to take 1 minute on the peloton, which was slowed by several crashes.
There were many crashes
Bad luck for the Netherlands
Shirin van Anrooij, Ilse Pluimers and Femke Gerritse were amongst the fallers, most were able to continue, although Pluimers and Gerritse had to chase. The two Dutch riders were behind the peloton for a long time, with 50 kilometres to go Bukanova had to give up.
Disappointment for Shirin van Anrooij
The peloton was still together with 30 kilometres left to race, despite attempts of the French and German teams to make the race harder. After more than 60 kilometres, two riders escaped; Cedrine Kerbaol of France was joined by Catalina Anais Soto Campos, but the Chilean rider didn’t help much.
Another day in the Yorkshire countryside
Eventually Soto Campos decided to it was time to ride and the lead went up to 40 seconds with 25 kilometres to go. At this point the thinned peloton started a solid chase and so the front two riders started the last kilometres with a 20 seconds lead.
The race was about to split
Gareeva with the last attack
Kerbaol had been doing most of the work, and it was Soto Campos who put in an attack. The Chilean managed to get away from the Frenchwoman with one perfectly timed jump, but she still had to hold off a chasing pack. This turned out to be a mission impossible as Soto Campos was pulled in by the chasing group 4 kilometres from the line.
It all happened in the finalé
It was Aigul Gareeva who made what looked like the winning move. The reigning junior World time trial champion was joined by the American, Megan Jastrab. The peloton didn’t look like it would catch them, so it looked like we would have a two-up sprint for the rainbow jersey. Gareeva tried to out-fox Jastrab, but the American clearly had the best sprint.
Another US World champion
Gareeva had the problem of De Wilde and Nooijen coming up fast behind. The struggling Gareeva was passed by the Belgian and the Dutch girls for the silver and bronze medals. The unlucky Russian had to settle for fourth.
The junior podium
Worlds Junior Women Road Race Result:
1. Megan Jastrab (United States Of America) in 2:08:00
2. Julie De Wilde (Belgium)
3. Lieke Nooijen (Netherlands)
4. Aigul Gareeva (Russian Federation)
5. Elynor Backstedt (Great Britain)
6. Noemi Rüegg (Switzerland) at 0:03
7. Kata Blanka Vas (Hungary)
8. Léa Curinier (France) at 0:05
9. Silje Mathisen (Norway)
10. Magdeleine Vallieres Mill (Canada) at 0:07.