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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Monday, September 30, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Stupidity has a knack of getting its way. - Albert Camus

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Elite Men's World Championships race reports

We posted the organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from race winner Mads Pedersen's Trek-Segafredo team:

Mads Pedersen finished second to Mathieu van der Poel in the Junior world championships in 2013. And on Sunday, six years later in the 2019 World Championships in Harrogate, Yorkshire the two would meet again, fighting for another world title, but under very different circumstances.

Jr men road race finish 2013

The finish of the 2013 Junior World Championships. Van der Poel wins and Pedersen was second. Sirotti photo

All the talk ahead of the elite men’s race was about pre-race favorite van der Poel. And Pedersen?  He wasn’t even the leader for Denmark, who had more experienced and decorated riders in Michale Valgren and Jakob Fuglsang.

But it was van der Poel who cracked with just over 12 kilometers remaining, and Mads Pedersen – not even on the radar for victory – who would ride on to claim the biggest achievement of his life: World Champion at the tender age of 23 in a rain-soaked, epic race in Yorkshire where the only the hardiest survived.
“It’s unbelievable. I didn’t expect this when we started this morning. It was an unbelievable day,” said Pedersen, at a loss for words for what he had just done.

In a three-up sprint for the coveted rainbow stripes, it wasn’t even close. At the end of a cold, wet and grueling 262 kilometers, Pedersen showed he was the strongest.

Mads Pedersen

Mads Pedersen wins in 2019. Sirotti photo.

When it was looking likely the breakaway that formed on the final laps would stick, everyone thought the race was certainly van der Poel’s. And when the Dutchman suddenly cracked, then everyone pointed at Italian Matteo Trentin, another favorite. No one really considered the young Dane. But in a classics-style World Championships, Pedersen showed his incredible talent again – he finished second in the Tour of Flanders in 2018, after-all.

“The team plan was to get me out in the early final (laps) and then (teammates) Valgren and Fuglsang would come from behind. But in the end, they didn’t follow van der Poel and Trentin when they came to my group. From there on it was just survive, survive, survive and then hope for the best in the sprint,”  explained Pedersen.

Coming into the final lap, five men led the race: van der Poel, Pedersen, Trentin, Stefan Küng of Switzerland, and Gianni Moscon, who gave Italy what seemed to be an advantage. When van der Poel shockingly exploded at the start of the final circuit and Moscon – who earlier had been dropped and fought back to the group – lost grip for good on the climb, it was down to the trio to fight out the medals. Pedersen was assured a medal, but everyone thought Trentin would win the three-up sprint.

After six and a half hours in atrocious conditions, with Pedersen leading out the sprint, Trentin jumped first and opened over a bike length lead.

But the young Dane had the final say. “I just hoped that when I saw the finish line, all the pain would be gone, and I could do a good sprint. It’s six and a half hours on the bike so everyone is on the limit and so anything could happen in that sprint,” said Pedersen.

“You had to be focused all day and stay in the front all the time. But it’s one of the last races of the season, so it’s all about keeping that focus for six and a half hours and don’t have any bad luck and hope for the best. This is every rider’s dream to wear this jersey – for me to do it now? It’s unbelievable.”

Pedersen struggled in the early part of the 2019 season, but his form and confidence have grown in the last month. One week ago, Pedersen finally won his first race of the season, the Grand Prix d’Isbergues.

And on a wet, wet Sunday in Harrogate he won his second.

Second-place Matteo Trentin's Mitchelton-Scott team sent me this report:

Italian Matteo Trentin had to settle for the silver medal in the UCI Road Race World Championship after brutal day in the saddle in Yorkshire.

Matteo Trentin

Matteo Trentin earned a silver medal at the Yorkshire World Championships. Sirotti photo

The former European champion made it into a select group in the closing laps around the Harrogate finishing circuit, but he couldn’t hold off Mads Pedersen (Denmark) in the sprint for the line.

Torrential rain forced the race organisers to shorten and reroute the course, with the climbs of Buttertubs and Grinton Moor removed and two extra laps of the finishing circuit added to the day.

The rain began to fall as the peloton rolled out of Leeds and after a several kilometres an 11-rider breakaway eventually went clear of the pack. However, the escapees were never allowed much leeway and they were eventually hauled back in on the opening lap in Harrogate.

The bunch then settled down for a number of laps until two riders jumped clear before Pedersen bridged across in a small chase group. The escapees were eventually whittled down to four riders, while the race burst into life behind as pre-race favourite Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) attacked with 34-kilometres to go.

Trentin jumped straight onto the Dutchman’s wheel and the duo upped the pace, leaving the shrinking bunch behind. The duo eventually made it across to the earlier attackers to form a five-man group, with Gianni Moscon (Italy) there to aid his teammate Trentin.

The group worked well together and had an advantage of 25-seconds over the peloton as they crossed the line for two laps to go. The chasing pack were struggling to get organised and the Trentin group stretched their gap out to 48-seconds by the time they reached the final lap.

All eyes were on Van der Poel but the Dutchman blew up with 13-kilometres to go, with Moscon also finding the pace too much soon after, leaving just three at the front. Stefan Kung (Switzerland) then did his best to shake Trentin and Pedersen, but it was to no avail with a three-way sprint set to decide the medal order. Trentin was the first to kick for the line, but the Italian couldn’t hold off Pedersen as the Dane came around him to take the gold medal.

Matteo Trentin:
“A lot of emotions. I was just thinking about the sprint but after such a race it doesn’t really matter who you are.”

“Mads was just stronger. The cold has played a major role. It was a very tough course. I wanted the rainbow jersey. If you are then second, you will be disappointed. But when you see how Mads wins the sprint, you know he was the best today. "

"I didn't even notice that initially [that Van der Poel was dropped]. It was not that incomprehensible - this was a very tough course. I'm still cold. This feels like I'm out in the winter in my t-shirt. I have nothing to blame…I am proud of myself and the team."

And here's the report from fourth-place Gianni Moscon's Team INEOS:

Gianni Moscon finished fourth after a brutal day of racing in the men's elite road race at the Yorkshire World Championships.

Gianni Moscon

Gianni Moscon finishing fourth. Sirotti photo

The Italian bridged across to what turned out to be the winning move on the punishing finishing circuit around Harrogate with 40 kilometres to race and played a strong support role for teammate Matteo Trentin, who went on to finish second behind new world champion Mads Pedersen (Denmark).

Moscon slipped away from the leading quartet with five kilometres to race, but dug in to finish fourth, a one-place improvement on his fifth in Innsbruck last season.

Tao Geoghegan Hart was the first British finisher, crossing the line in 26th, with Ben Swift home in 30th having been distanced from the peloton on the final lap. Of the 196 starters, only 46 riders finished after a gruelling day out in almost constant rain.

The race was shortened before the start, with heavy rain causing parts of the course to be closed off, but at 261 kilometres it remained a serious test, twisting out of Leeds, over the Yorkshire Dales, and into Harrogate.

The day's early break, containing Grand Tour winners Primoz Roglic, Nairo Quintana and Richard Carapaz, was kept on a tight leash by the peloton, before being swept up on the first of nine laps on Harrogate's 14km finish circuit.

The race then settled into a steady rhythm, before attacks started to fire with 60km to race. Stefan Kung - who went on to finish third - and Lawson Craddock hit out, prompting Team INEOS rider Dylan van Baarle to put in a strong stint at the head of the bunch to keep the duo in check for his Dutch teammates.

Moscon, Trentin, Pedersen and Mathieu van der Poel eventually bridged across and with the peloton dwindling behind the chase lost impetus. It quickly became apparent the world champion would come from the leading quintet.

When Van der Poel cracked Trentin looked to be the favourite, but it was Pedersen who prevailed on the drag to the line in central Harrogate.

Ben Swift: "That was a hard day today. My body didn’t let me have it. I’ve been fighting something a little bit and gave it my best shot. It was a grim old day and I just had nothing left at the end. It’s what I wanted [the weather]. It was the best scenario for me really but in the end my body just didn’t have it.

"The crowds were incredible. The atmosphere was building and building each lap. It’s never nice to ride those last few kilometres on your own but they gave me amazing support.

"It’s not the result we wanted but it’s been a great week for cycling in the UK."

Team Bahrain-Merida terminates contract with Rohan Dennis

Editor's note: Rohan Dennis abandoned the Tour de France during stage twelve, on the eve of the individual time trial, an event Dennis excels at. He won his 2019 World Time Trial Championship on his BMC-made bike rather than the team-supplied Merida.

Here's the team's short statement:

The team terminated its contract with Mr Dennis on 13th September 2019. This termination has not previously been made public to allow Mr Dennis an undisturbed preparation for the UCI 2019 Road World Championships.

Mr Dennis has referred the termination to the UCI Arbitral Board.

Against this background, no further comment will be made at this time.

Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis riding to another Gold Medal at this year's World Time Trial Championships.

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