Worlds Race Report: What can you say about Remco Evenepoel that hasn’t already been said? The young Belgian was in the break, attacked at his favourite distance from home for a solo win. Behind; the bunch caught what was left of the break for Christophe Laporte and Michael Matthews to take second and third.
What a season for Remco Evenepoel
Remco Evenepoel has crowned his season at the World championships in Wollongong. The 22-year-old winner of the Vuelta a España soloed to the world title on the road in Australia after he dropped Alexey Lutsenko with 25 kilometres to go.
Worlds’22 map and profile
In the flat early section towards Wollongong, a leading group of twelve men broke away. Among them were Simon Pellaud, Emils Liepins and Juraj Sagan. Vatican City debutant Rien Schuurhuis also showed himself briefly, but he was unable to join that early move. The French didn’t wait on Mount Keira. Bruno Armirail lifted the pace and took a large group of favourites with him. Among them Wout van Aert, Bauke Mollema, Wout Poels, Tadej Pogačar and Jai Hindley. They took 2 minutes from the peloton, but the Germans closed the gap.
Down the coast to the circuit
Only Pavel Sivakov, Pieter Serry, Ben O’Connor, Luke Plapp and Samuele Battistella made the crossing to the early escapees. After more than 100 kilometres they joined the front, there were now 16 front riders with a lead of 7 minutes. The Netherlands then decided to put Taco van der Hoorn on the front. He chased, together with the help of the Spanish team. Partly because of this, the difference at 80 kilometres had fallen to 2 minutes. That was the signal for the French to start things early on circuit, with Mount Ousley (700m at 6.7%) and Mount Pleasant (1.1km at 7.7%).
Through the finish line
Quentin Pacher was the instigator of a split. Some favourites were paying attention, including Remco Evenepoel and Romain Bardet, and managed to cross to the remaining early breakaways. That resulted in a leading group of 25 men. Evenepoel had Serry, Quinten Hermans and Stan Dewulf with him, while the French were in front with Sivakov, Bardet, Florian Sénéchal and Pacher. Pascal Eenkhoorn was the only Dutchman in the leading group.
Wout van Aert keeping out of the wind
Hindley, O’Connor, Ben Tulett, Lorenzo Rota, Samuele Battistella, Mauro Schmid, Jan Tratnik, Neilson Powless, Mattias Skjelmose, Alexey Lutsenko, Kevin Enjoys and Rasmus Tiller were also there. Almost all major countries had someone up front, which made it difficult to start the chase in the peloton. The gap grew, with three laps to go, to over 2 minutes.
The early move
Popular day out
With just under 50 kilometres to go, the peloton picked up speed. Valentin Madouas opened the action and all the favourites were at the front on Mount Pleasant. Because they eased off at the front, the gap was narrowed to 1 minute, but there was no serious chase. As a result, the leading group has 2 minutes again on the flat section.
Ethan Hayter and Tadej Pogačar
Mathieu van der Poel climbed off after 35 kilometres after spending the night with the police
Remco Evenepoel had trouble holding back. He had already made a few smaller moves without result, but 34 kilometres before the finish he put in the big move. Evenepoel escaped with Lutsenko. They immediately had a gap. Rota, Schmid, Skjelmose and Eenkhoorn gave chase, but couldn’t get close. The peloton followed at 2:25.
The fans were out on Mount Pleasant
Remco Evenepoel in the break
With a lead of 30 seconds on the group of Eenkhoorn, Evenepoel and Lutsenko started Mount Ousley. The Kazakh was able to follow the Belgian, but the Vuelta winner then put the pressure on, on Mount Pleasant. He left Lutsenko with a big effort for a solo of 25.8 kilometres. The difference to the other race favourites in the peloton was more than 2 minutes.
It was a fast day
Belgium also had Hermans up front
In the peloton, Van Aert also wanted to show himself on the penultimate climb of Mount Pleasant, but it didn’t come to much. Meanwhile, Evenepoel was unstoppable. He had the chase group at more than a minute and kept the gap to the peloton at 2:30. On the final lap, Evenepoel’s lead only increased. The man with the red Vuelta shoes and helmet was able to win his first elite World title without any big problems. With his arms wide, full of disbelief and with a big shout, Remco Evenepoel crossed the finish line after 266 kilometres.
It was Evenepoel’s race
Lutsenko managed to go with Evenepoel
Eenkhoorn, Skjelmose, Rota and Schmid were now chasing the silver medal as they caught Lutsenko on the final descent of Mount Pleasant. That was without Eenkhoorn, who was dropped on the last steep metres by his three fellow escapees.
Could Lutsenko hold on… no
Evenepoel made his move
In the final kilometre the pace dropped for the four leaders, allowing Eenkhoorn to come shooting past at high speed. However, the Dutchman didn’t surprise the others and the speed dropped again. The thinned out peloton then came storming up from behind.
There was no looking back for Evenepoel
The last climb for Evenepoel
A late jump by Jan Tratnik was pulled back in the last hundred metres, after which the Frenchman Christophe Laporte sprinted to silver. He was ahead of home favourite Michael Matthews, who took bronze. Wout van Aert was fourth 2:21 after Remco Evenepoel had taken the rainbow jersey.
The win for the young Belgian ‘Super Star’ – Remco Evenepoel
The sprint for second and third
World champion, Remco Evenepoel (Belgium): “This is unbelievable. This is a dream. I can’t compare this with my junior world title. This is three hours longer and the course was much tougher. The race was long and it was also a super long season. It’s great to close that way. I’m glad I had the legs today. We were two men ahead and I felt I was stronger than Lutsenko, but I just wanted to move on. There was no time to waste on this route. In the final lap I notice that Mount Pleasant was super heavy, I felt my legs really explode there. But I knew it was almost done, because after the descent it was only five kilometres to the finish. My lead only got bigger. I kept going, because it’s the World championships after all. You don’t want to take any chances and just win that jersey. We really raced as a team. We already said in advance: it doesn’t matter how, but we wanted to win this World championships as a team. It was Wout van Aert or me. I had to start early, and he would follow and wait for his sprint. And this time the early attack made it. We deserved this. It’s a shame that next year’s World championships is in August, so it will be one of the shortest years as a World champion. But I’ve dreamed about this for a long time. And now, after a Monument, a Classic and a Grand Tour, I also win the World championships. I won’t have a season like this very often. We are definitely going to celebrate big. I don’t think I’m going to see my bed.”
Worlds’22 podium: Laporte, Evenepoel and Matthews
# All the news from the World championships in EUROTRASH Monday. #
World Championship Men’s Road Race Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) in 6:16:08
2. Christophe Laporte (France) at 2:21
3. Michael Matthews (Australia)
4. Wout van Aert (Belgium)
5. Matteo Trentin (Italy)
6. Alexander Kristoff (Norway)
7. Peter Sagan (Slovakia)
8. Alberto Bettiol (Italy)
9. Ethan Hayter (Great Britain)
10. Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Denmark).