Last week, the world’s best cyclists headed to Yorkshire, England for the UCI Road World Championships. The events included both road races and individual time trials for Junior Men and Women, U23 Men, and Elite Men and Women, as well as a new Mixed Relay Team Time Trial.
Americans led the Medal Count with a total of six across the events, including two rainbow jerseys for Quinn Simmons (Junior Men), Megan Jastrab (Junior Women), and Chloé Dygert (Elite Women). The U23 men were not far behind, with Ian Garrison and Brandon McNulty taking silver and bronze, respectively, in the time trial. But arguably the biggest surprise of the championships was Chloé Dygert smashing the Elite Women’s field to win the time trial by over a record 1:32 over Dutchwoman Anna Van Der Breggen. Dygert is only 22 years old, and would go on to take an impressive 4th in an ultra-aggressive Elite Women’s Road Race, won by another record-setting performance: Annemiek van Vleuten’s 104 km solo attack.
The final race of World’s week was the Elite Men’s Road Race, shortened by 20-odd kilometers because of rain and flooding that plagued Yorkshire during most of the week. All eyes were on Mathieu Van Der Poel, the 24 year-old Dutchman who can do just about anything of the bike. After competing in the MTB World Cup during the summer, Van Der Poel jumped into road racing again at the Tour of Britain where he won three stages and the Overall, confirmation of his incredible road performances in the spring. With 20 km to go, Van Der Poel was in the winning move, along with Matteo Trentin, Gianni Moscon, Stefan Küng, and Mads Pedersen. But just a few miles later, the Dutchman cracked. The world gasped, and the pundits suddenly turned their attention to Trentin, the experienced Italian with a World’s-winning sprint. Surely.
But fate is cruel, and the Italian’s legs gave out with just 100 meters to go. 23 year-old Mads Pedersen of Denmark shot to the front and crossed the line first, his arms spread wide, and a look of disbelief on his face. Pedersen is the first Danish man to win an Elite World Championship, and he will ride in the rainbow jersey in 2020 for Trek- Segafredo.
Bright Future for the USA
Only hours after his solo win in the Junior Men’s Road Race, it was announced that Quinn Simmons will be joining Trek-Segafredo in 2020. Few riders have ever made the jump from the junior ranks straight into the WorldTour. Immediate success can be difficult, if not impossible. It could take years for younger riders to get used to increased training loads, race distances, professional travel schedules, and team duties and responsibilities.
But, one needs not to search very hard for a recent success story: meet Remco Evenepoel, the 19 year-old Belgian who joined Deceuninck-Quick Step in 2019 straight out of the junior ranks. In his first year racing at the WorldTour level, Evenepoel won the Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián, Baloise Belgium Tour GC, European Championships ITT, and was 2nd in the Elite Men’s World Championships.
Two other Americans recently announced their plans to join the WorldTour in 2020: Brandon McNulty will join UAE-Team Emirates, and Matteo Jorgenson will join the Spanish outfit, Movistar.
Cyclocross Season Openers
CX is here. And already there has been beer, mud, bent derailleur hangers, and plenty of barrier-hopping attempts. The first two World Cup of the season took place in September, first at Jingle CX in Iowa, and second at Trek CXC in Wisconsin. Canadian Maghalie Rochette took the biggest win of her career in Iowa, winning the opening round of the Women’s World Cup ahead of Katerina Nash and Clara Honsinger. Nash got her revenge the following week in Wisconsin, turning her silver into gold, with Jolanda Heff and Evie Richards rounding out the podium in 2nd and 3rd, respectively. American fans, keep an eye on Clara Honsinger – after finishing 3rd and then 4th in the opening rounds of the World Cup, the 22 year-old then went on to finish 3rd and then 1st at FayetteCross, a ProCX event serving as test grounds for the CX World Championships in Fayetteville in 2022.
Eli Iserbyt won both of the opening rounds of the Men’s World Cup, with Toon Aerts taking 2nd on both occasions. The Belgians stacked the top of the results sheets, but there were still a few strong Americans who were able to finish in the Top 20 in both World Cups – Curtis White, Gage Hecht, Lance Haidet, Stephen Hyde, and Kerry Werner – with White taking the honors of best American with 15th at Jingle CX.
Road Season Continues
As the hype from Yorkshire fades, the eyes of the road racing world turn to Italy for 11 one-day races in the fall. These ‘autumn classics’ have been growing in popularity over the years, and 2019 has been no exception. Grand Tour champions, and Classics specialists, and newly-minted World Champions convene for a couple of weeks in October, all culminating in the final Monument of the season: Il Lombardia.
Nicknamed the “race of the falling leaves,” the race is now in its 113th edition, and holds a winners list of all-time greats: Fausto Coppi, Eddy Merckx, Phillipe Gilbert, and Vincenzo Nibali, just to name a few. Set for October 12th, 2019, it is shaping up to be an instant classic, with all three of this year’s Grand Tour winners on the start line for 243 km of racing from Bergamo to Como.