The Belgian Remco Evenepoel (22) won the world title in the road test, this Sunday in Wollongong (Australia), after a solo incursion of 25 kilometers. Christophe Laporte is in second place.
two weeks later his triumph in the Vuelta a EspañaRemco Evenepoel offered an authentic recital, on Sunday in Wollongong (Australia), to conquer the title of world champion en route at the age of twenty-two.
The Belgian, who thus succeeds Julian Alaphilippe, managed the perfect race: discreet during the first two thirds of the race, continued the good counterattack as the final breakaway approached, took advantage of the undermining work of the French to widen the gap in the peloton, then went off, alone, a lap and a half from the end, to win alone.
He became the first cyclist since Bernard Hinault in 1980 to win a Monument (Liège-Bastogne-Liège), a Grand Tour (the Vuelta) and the rainbow jersey in the same season.
The French have wreaked havoc…
Before falling into their own trap, the Blues wreaked havoc far, far at the end of this Sunday: shortly after the incredible abandonment of Mathieu van der Poel, Pavel Sivakov, Bruno Armirail and then Romain Bardet sped up Mount Keira in succession, with more than 200 kilometers remaining in the race. These attempts resulted in the reduction of the main peloton to barely thirty components, a group that came to count up to more than two minutes ahead of a second platoon of trapped runners, among whom were Alaphilippe and Evenepoel. Up front, Tadej Pogacar himself tried to attack but everything returned to normal about thirty kilometers later.
It was a more classic race pattern that later settled in, with a breakaway of sixteen runners (including Sivakov and Ben O’Connor) holding a lead of up to seven minutes. After a long break, the French team, decidedly very offensive, set fire to gunpowder 75 km from the finish line: an attack by Quentin Pacher caused the formation of a countergroup of about twenty runners, including Romain Bardet, Florian Sénéchal , Jai Hindley, Jan Tratnik, Nairo Quintana… and Remco Evenepoel, whom the Blues had just unknowingly put into orbit.
… but he was cheated
The presence of the Belgian at the front caused a wave of panic in the peloton, forcing several heavyweights to discover themselves in the laps of the circuit to reduce the distance in this new royal breakaway. But two laps from the end, taking advantage of a moment of carelessness by Bardet that until that moment marked him as his shadow, Evenepoel decided to take matters into his own hands with Alexey Lutsenko. Then, from the foot of the penultimate ascent of Mount Pleasant, the phenomenon of Schepdaal gained a new acceleration and moved away alone, 25 kilometers from the finish line.
The Blues can blame themselves: they themselves put Evenepoel up front launching the counterattack, rolled to help him widen the gap, then, realizing their mistake, ended up making the effort to try and get back on the Belgian nugget. Julian Alaphilippe and Benoît Cosnefroy, the two most beautiful French cards, didn’t even get a chance to shine. The other favourites, apart from Wout van Aert who launched a futile attack with two laps to go, made no attempt.
Laporte, unexpected money
The French team saved its weekend by taking an unexpected 2nd place thanks to Christophe Laporte, who dominated the sprint of a peloton that overcame all the runaways in the last few hundred meters and offered coach Thomas Voeckler a third medal in three editions. of the Worlds (two in gold, one in silver). Australian Michael Matthews completes the podium, Van Aert is fourth.
Thanks to his extraordinary shooting skills, Evenepoel never worried in a final that flew to the line, crossed with his finger in his mouth, as if to imply that he had definitively silenced the criticism born of a turbulent start to his career, because some expected to see this former junior world champion shine even faster, even stronger.
Five years after discovering cycling and two years after nearly losing his life in the Tour of Lombardy, the Belgian prodigy is now on top. The party promises to be great in Schepdaal, the town on the outskirts of Brussels where he grew up and to which he has yet to return since his coronation in the Vuelta. Above all, it is likely that they will continue to be numerous, because the Belgian’s dominance in world cycling is already effective and his track record, already rich with 38 successes among professionals, probably has not finished growing.