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The World’s Gone Mads & Van Vleuten Victorious | GCN’s Cycling Race News Show


Welcome to the GCN Racing News Show. Coming up this week, we wrap up the UCI Road
Race World Championships, and answer the question, just who is Mads Pedersen? We also look back at some quite incredible
performances from Annemiek van Vleuten and Chloe Dygert Owen, and we’ll also be discussing
the GCN predictions, which, ahem, didn’t go too well, surprisingly. We shall start, though, with the Elite men’s
world championships in Yorkshire from yesterday. The weather forecast for most of the week
had been bad, and the forecast was right. On the morning of the race, they had to cut
20kms from it, and with it, a couple of the biggest climbs that were supposed to lead
them to the finishing circuit. Those omissions didn’t make the race any
easier, though. So bad was the weather, so deceivingly tough
was the circuit, it was one of the hardest world championships we’ve had in years. In fact, in the end, there were only 46 finishers
– it’s been 23 years since we had fewer – Lugano in 1996. An early break which included three Grand
Tour winners, Roglic, Quintana and Carapaz, was caught on the finishing circuits, and
it took a while for the next move to go. Lawson Craddock went with a little under 50kms
remaining, soon joined by Stefan Kung. A little later, Mads Pederson jumped across,
and then Moscon. Soon after, though, the big move came. Pre race favourite Mathieu van der Poel attacking
on a climb, Trentin glued to his wheel, Alaphilippe unable to follow. That gave us 5 out front, and as it would
turn out, it was the race winning move. Most so called experts, including myself,
then decided it was a two horse race between Trentin and van der Poel. Until 11kms to go, that is, when the latter
was distanced. I, and many others, were sat there wondering
what was wrong with his bike. And the answer, as we soon found out, was
nothing, his bike was fine, but he wasn’t. He’d just gone through what every single
cyclist has been through at some point. The lights had gone out, completely. As bonking goes, it was pretty spectacular. He went from being race favourite, to being
caught by the main group, to getting dropped, eventually rolling in close to 11 minutes
down and one of the last finishers. All that in the space of 11kms. What we can conclude from this is that van
der Poel IS human, after all, just about. It meant that the race was then Trentin’s
to lose. But, lose it he did, to the strongest man
in the race, Mads Pedersen. In what was a battle between who had the most
energy left, rather than who was fastest on paper. Pedersen became Denmark’s first ever Elite
Men’s World Championship winner, and the youngest winner of the event since Oscar Freire
in 1999. So just who is Mads Pedersen? It seems a lot of us want to know – over 33,000
people clicked on his procyclingstats page yesterday, a record for their website. Well, he was born in Lejre, in Denmark, and
he still resides in his home country now. Mads won Paris Roubaix as a junior in 2013,
a year in which he also picked up the silver medal at the World Championships. He turned pro in 2017 with Trek, winning his
national championships, the Tour of Denmark and the Tour Poitou Charentes. Big results, but he first came on to many
people’s radar at the Tour of Flanders last year, where he finished runner up to Niki
Terpstra. This year, his only win came in his last race
before the World Champs, the GP d’Isbergues, and you wonder whether that race is going
to become the preparation race of choice. As the Inrng pointed out, in 2016 and 2017,
the winners, Kristoffer Halvorsen and Benoit Cosnefroy, both went on to win the junior
championships, albeit in the U23 category. Apart from that, he’s a really easy going
guy that just enjoys riding his bike, he also owns a very fast motorbike, and he’s getting
married later this year. So, what next for Mads Pedersen? Well, you would imagine that, with the rainbow
jersey on his back, he’ll be able to command much more of a leadership role with Trek Segafredo
at the classics, and given his previous performances, you’d not put it past him winning the Tour
of Flanders or Paris Roubaix, or at the very least, a cobbled semi classic. What he’ll be hoping for, though, is rain
– he clearly excels when the races are long, hard, and grim. Also, interestingly, Mads Pedersen is younger
than Mathieu van der Poel, and so is yet another example of a whole new generation taking over
at the helm from the likes of last year’s winner, Alejandro Valverde. He pulled out with around 100kms to, and said
that the race was for mad men. More prophetic words you are unlikely to hear. Now, what I particularly loved was this video
taken by Sven Jonker, of Ken Sommer’s reaction to Pedersen’s win. He, along with my former teammate Joao Correia,
are Pedersen’s agents, and have looked after a lot of young riders over the last few years. I just love the combination of joy and disbelief. Trentin’s reaction at missing out was an
admirable one – he just said that he’d done everything he could, that he was disappointed,
but that he’d lost to a stronger rider. Stefan Kung, meanwhile, could be happy with
a bronze medal, Switzerland’s first medal at the Elite men’s road champs for a long
time. So what about our predictions? And, not only did we not predict Pedersen,
we also mentioned about 115 riders for the Elite men’s race, but not him. Not even once. That said, those of you who follow me on social
media will know that I had a cheeky little bet on Pedersen at 160-1, so I was a happy
many yesterday! Although probably not quite as happy as Annemiek
van Vleuten had been the previous day at the Elite Women’s Road Race, held, incredibly,
under blue skies, at least for some of it. The pace was high from the start, particularly
on the climbs, and on the toughest of them all, Lofthouse, Annemiek van Vleuten went
on the attack. Nobody would, or could go with her, and there
was still 105kms to go. It was an audacious move, even potentially
stupid, as she herself admitted afterwards, but she quickly eeked out a 2 minute advantage,
despite the best efforts of the likes of Lizzie Deignan behind. And that, as they say, was that. Chloe Dygert Owen tried to get across with
30kms to go, closing the gap before it ballooned again, and in the end, her closest challenged
was teammate and last year’s world champion, Anna van der Breggen. It was a ridiculous impressive ride, really,
I mean you hardly ever see a 105km solo attack succeed in any pro race, let alone at the
world championships. But, having thought about it, maybe it wasn’t
as silly an attack as it initially looked. I mean of course it wasn’t in hindsight,
she won, but bear with me here. The Dutch were the team to beat, we knew it,
they knew it, and van Vleuten knew it. So, rather than stupidity, her move was genius,
in my view. Two or three of her key rivals for the title
were in her own team, and so in going ahead early, it meant that, behind, she had the
likes of Vos and Van der Breggen chasing down any of the attacks from her rivals in other
teams. I mean, 105kms is still a bit excessive, but
it clearly worked. That said, for it to work, you had to have
one of the strongest racers we have ever seen. Van Vleuten is an inspiration to all of us
– continuing to improve year after year through sheer hard work and determination. That was one of the most impressive performances
I have ever witnessed at any race, and it’s made our choice for GCN Rider of the Week
an easy one, well done Annemiek. Well done too, to Amanda Spratt, who took
a fine third place on the day. Before we move on, I wanted to let you know
what we’ve got coming up for you this week on GCN Racing. At the weekend, we have the next two Italian
one day races, the Giro dell’Emilia and GP Beghelli, live to those of you in North,
Central or South America, with commentary from yours truly. We also have some international cyclocross
from Meulebeke and Pelt on Saturday and Sunday, with Marty joined by Helen Wyman and Jeremey
Powers respectively, both of those available in most countries. Right, on to the time trials, and in the men’s,
we had an expected surprise, if such a thing is possible. Rohan Dennis hadn’t raced since pulling
out of the Tour de France in July, and so his form was unknown to us, if not him. He obviously wasn’t lying when he said he’d
been training very hard for this event back at home – it was a lesson to us all in remaining
focussed on a goal. His win didn’t come on a Merida bike, though
– he’d already stated before hand that he’d be using a bike supplied by the Australian
Cycling Federation. Although actually, it was kind a team bike,
from the previous year, an unmarked BMC Time Machine. Although he went on to ride the road race
with a fully stickered up BMC. His team, Bahrain Merida, released a statement
last night, saying that his contract had been terminated a few days previously, something
which he is contesting. Anyway, his time trial performance was absolutely
brilliant. Dennis would win the event by over a minute
ahead of Remco Evenepoel, who took a silver medal in his first year as a senior rider,
which was incredible in itself. Although perhaps not as incredible as the
ride by Chloe Dygert Owen the previous day. Now this is a rider that we DID talk about
in our preview show, as I think we were all really excited to see what this talent was
capable of in one of her first events against the biggest race in the world. And, my word, she didn’t disappoint, did
she? I arrived home from Yorkshire myself to turn
the TV on and see that she was three minutes clear of the next best rider, former World
Time Trial champion Lisa Brennauer. In the end, she’d win by a minute and a
half from Anna Van Der Breggen, with last year’s winner Annemiek van Vleuten in third. It was the biggest winning margin in an Elite
individual time trial since the event was introduced in 1994, and to put that into perspective,
the event was only 30kms long. In other races – Mikkel Bjerg took his third
straight title in the U23 time trial – he’ll move on to the pro ranks with UAE Team Emirates
next year. American Quinn Simmons won the junior road
race after a very strong solo move – he’ll join Evenepoel as one of the few juniors to
go straight into the pro ranks, as he’s been signed by Trek Segafredo. The most controversial race of the week, though,
was the U23 men’s. It was a REALLY exciting race, with loads
of attacking, and it came down to the wire. Crossing the line first was Nils Eekhoff of
the Netherlands, but some time later, he was disqualified. It turned out that after he’d been involved
in a crash, he’d put his dislocated shoulder back in on his own, and then spent a few minutes
drafting behind his team car to make his way back to the bunch, with over 100kms to go. Now, there has been quite the contrast in
opinions about this, and it’s something that we’re going to be talking about at
length in tomorrow’s GCN Show. The following day, Nils put out a very balanced
statement all things considered. I personally feel bad for the lad, but I’d
love to hear your thoughts on the matter which you can leave in the comments section below. In the end, it was Samuele Battistella who
would take the rainbow jersey. He also took to twitter, to say that even
though he crossed the line 2nd, he was the strongest in the race. He’ll be racing for Team NTT for the next
two seasons, currently known as Dimension Data. It was the USA who topped the medal table,
handily put into graphic format in this tweet from Jose Been. One of those golds came in the junior women’s
road race, won by Megan Jastrab, who took that ahead of Julie de Wilde after late break
with TT winner. Before we finish with the World Championships,
next year’s route has already been announced, and it looks like it’s even harder than
the Innsbruck course from last year. It’s in Martini, Switzerland, and will have
a total of 4000m of elevation gain over 250kms. There’s just one main climb on the finishing
loop, the Petit Forclaz, which is 4kms long at 10% average gradient. Here’s the graphic of the parcours from
La Flamme Rouge – sure to be one for the pure climbers again. And there is set to be another UCI World Championships
– last week the UCI and Zwift announced that the first ever Esports Cycling World Championships
will take place next year. There aren’t that many details out there
yet in terms of location, course, or qualification, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing more soon. In other news, it emerged last week that the
Israel Cycling Academy will be taking over the worldtour license from Katusha in a kind
of merger. Unfortunately, though, with the Israeli team
already quite full, it means they’re unlikely to be able to home the 11 Katusha riders who
have a contract running through next year. Before we get on to some other transfer news,
Brice Feillu has announced his retirement. He only took one win in his career, but it
was a mountain stage at the Tour de France, not too shabby! Marta Bastianelli will return to the Ale Cipollini
team next year, she is currently with VIRTU Cycling, a team folding at the end of the
season. Joining her at the Italian team next year
is Mavi Garcia, currently with. Elynor Backstedt, who finished 5th at the
junior road race championships, and 3rd in the time trial, has signed a three year deal
with TREK Segafredo. There’s also a rumour that Petr Vakoc will
move from Deceuninck Quickstep to Corenden Circus next year. OK, that’s all for this week – next week
we’ll be back with the Italian one day races and the next international cyclocross races
from the weekend. To remind you, we have all of those live in
certain territories here on GCN Racing. Right – in the meantime, if you haven’t
yet see us set a world indoor hour record, you can find that video down here. It’s on a penny farthing, believe it or
not!

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