WORLDS’22 U23 Men’s Road Race: Rainbow for Fedorov & Kazakhstan

Race Report: Yevgeniy Fedorov is the new U23 World champion. After a wet race of almost 170 kilometres in Wollongong, the Kazakh was the first across the finish line. He beat Mathias Vacek (Czech Republic) in a two man sprint. Søren Wærenskjold sprinted to bronze 3 seconds later.

Win for Astana’s Yevgeniy Fedorov

Six men were in the early break on this rainy World championships for the Under 23s: Fabio Van den Bossche (Belgium), Hannes Wilksch (Germany), Petr Kellemen (Czech Republic), Mathis Le Berre (France), Fabian Weiss (Switzerland) and Fran Miholjević (Croatia). Their lead was a maximum of 3 minutes. In the peloton it was mainly the Netherlands that chased with Axel van der Tuuk as the main worker. The team around leader Olav Kooij had to do without Mick van Dijke, who had tested positive for the corona virus. As the final approached, the Netherlands had help from Germany and Great Britain in the pursuit.

Not the Australian weather we were expecting

The final was opened with three laps to go. After the climbs of Mount Ousley (700m at 6.7%) and Mount Pleasant (1.1km at 7.7%) Van den Bossche, Wilksch and Le Berre remained off the front. Not far behind the three leaders, the first favourites were starting to look keen, but no one escaped. The peloton had thinned out considerably. Jakub Toupalik and Alexandre Balmer counter-attacked together and they had four riders with them: Lorenzo Milesi, Nicolo Buratti, Sam Watson and Yevgeniy Fedorov. The six came together on Mount Ousley and behind the other three at the top of Mount Pleasant. Just as they were about to catch them, a group from the peloton also came across. Everything was together with 20 kilometres to go, for the 40 remaining riders. Going into the final lap of 17 kilometres, Alec Segaert, Mathias Vacek, Le Berre and Fedorov had a 7 second lead over the peloton. The pursuit started slowly, partly due to the Belgians stopping any chasing. The gap grew to more than 20 seconds.

Not a day for the sprinters – Sam Watson

Fedorov and Vacek had the best legs on the two hills. First, Le Berre dropped out on Mount Ousley, after which Segaert couldn’t hold on, on Mount Pleasant. From the peloton, Swiss rider, Balmer tried to make the jump, but he was unable to make the connection. Balmer was swallowed by the first group, who came closer and closer to Fedorov and Vacek on the descent. Sprinters such as Olav Kooij, Sam Watson and Søren Wærenskjold managed to survive Mount Pleasant and that caused a stalemate in the chasing group. No one wanted to lead and Fedorov and Vacek were able to take 15 seconds again and dream of the World title. Fedorov was forced into the lead by Vacek, but the Kazakh was not deterred. In the sprint, the Astana rider turned out to be much too strong and won the rainbow jersey. The sprint for bronze was won by Søren Wærenskjold (Norway), ahead of Madis Mihkels (Estonia) and Olav Kooij (Netherlands).

The winning break – Fedorov leads Vacek

World champion, Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kazakhstan): “I knew I could win, even though the competition was strong. I raced the Vuelta of course with the Astana Qazaqstan Team. I was in good shape and came here with the aim of winning. It’s great that it works, ten years after the victory of Alexey Lutsenko (Valkenburg). I remember that well. I have indeed tried a lot. The climb was very difficult and I am not a real climber. But I did try it two or three times. In the last lap we came up with two men. Then I knew we had a good chance of making it. I still had a strong sprint left, the legs made the difference today. This is very nice for me and for the team. It was my last chance to win a U23 race as it is my last year as a U23. I’m very happy with this. Everyone said after the Vuelta that I could do it, but now I have done it.”

Worlds’22 U23 podium

World Championships 2022 – U23 Men’s Road Race Result:
1. Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kazakhstan) in 3:57:08
2. Mathias Vacek (Czech Republic) at 0:01
3. Søren Wærenskjold (Norway) at 0:03
4. Madis Mihkels (Estonia)
5. Olav Kooij (Netherlands)
6. Pavel Bittner (Czech Republic)
7. Matthew Dinham (Australia)
8. Paul Penhoët (France)
9. Matevž Govekar (Slovenia)
10. Jenno Berckmoes (Belgium).

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