Welcome to the GCN Racing News Show. This week, the rainbow jerseys get handed out in Innsbruck, we go through the winners and losers from the past week, plus we’ve got round 2 of the Cyclo-Cross World Cup from Iowa City.
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The new road World Champions have now all been crowned - for the next 12 months, they will have the honour of wearing the rainbow jersey in the discipline in which they won the event - except for the team time trial world champions!
The most dominant display of the week came on Saturday in the women’s Elite race. Pre-race favourite Anna Van Der Breggen of the Netherlands attacked with over 40km’s to go, and was never seen again. She caught and dropped Amanda Spratt, and although she held on for 2nd, the Australian was a full 3 minutes and 42 seconds behind. For Van Der Breggen, it erased the one blemish in her palmares - she’s won almost all there is to win in road cycling, but this was the one that was missing. That also means the Boels Dolmans have had the World Champion in their ranks for four years in a row.
Almost as dominant was Remco Evenepoel. The Belgian was the hot favourite in the junior men’s road race, having won the time trial, plus pretty much every other junior race of note this year. Things didn’t initially go according to plan - he was involved in a mass pile-up which meant that he had to close a minute and a half’s gap to the front. Which he did, with relative ease, and it wasn’t long before he’d regained contact that he’d gone on the attack, eventually going solo and winning by a minute and a half.
It spelt the end of Julian Alaphilippe’s chances, and by the end of it, three riders were locked together. Romain Bardet, Mike Woods, and Alejandro Valverde. Tom Dumoulin made it 4 with a couple of kilometres to go, but with nobody able to spring a surprise attack, it came down to a sprint, and there was only ever going to be one winner.
15 years after picking up his first medal at the Elite World’s, an emotional and elated Alejandro Valverde finally won the Gold medal and the Rainbow jersey. A lot has happened in those 15 years - Valverde has picked up 4 Bronze medals, 2 silver, 4 Liege Bastogne Liege, 5 Fleche Wallone’s, 11 stages and the overall at the Vuelta, and a 2-year ban for blood doping.
Let us know in the comments what you think of Valverde’s win.
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Photos: © Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images & © Bettiniphoto / http://www.bettiniphoto.net/
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