Alaphillipe gives fillip to French Cycling with World Championship win

Frenchman Julian Alaphillipe is the 2020 Elite Men’s road race World Champion after taking a solo win in Imola. The 28 year old is the first French World Champion since Laurent Brochard in 1997.

Alaphillipe took the win after launching a solo attack on the last Cima Gallisterna climb crossing the line 24 seconds ahead of Belgian Wout Van Aert with Swiss Marc Hirschi edging Pole Michel Kwiatowski by a wheel rim to claim the bronze.

The new holder of the rainbow stripes, added to a palmares that includes Milano San Remo, Strade Bianchi and five stages of the Tour de France, said:

“For this moment it’s really hard to say something. I want to say ‘thank-you’ to all my teammates who really believed in me today. Everybody did a great job. It was a dream of my career. Sometimes, I was so close, and I was never on the podium. I came here with a lot of ambition and it’s just a dream day for me.”

The 258.2 km race featured nine laps of a circuit that the ladies had already tested and proved a tough challenge the previous day. Each 28.8km lap featured two climbs, Mazzolano (2.8km at an average gradient of 5.9%, with a maximum of 13%) and the Cima Gallisterna (2.7km at 6.4%, 14% max.) whose summit is placed 12km from the finish line. There was hardly a respite between the two summits and with 550 metres of ascent each lap, the day offered 5000 metres of climbing.

Elite Men’s Road Race Profile, Imola UCI World Championships 2020

Representing 43 countries 174 riders started the race at 10am from the Autodromo and almost immediately there was a seven man break. Jonas Koch (Germany), Torstein Traeen (Norway), Marco Friedrich (Austria), Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan), Yukiya Arashiro (Japan), Eduard-Michael Grosu (Romania) and Alfredo Ulises Castillo Soto (Mexico) with the latter three their countries sole representatives.

One lap down and the break had gained 5’54’’ on the main group led by the Slovenian, Swiss and Belgium national teams. The gap between attackers and peloton fluctuated during the first part of the race: 6’34’’ after the second lap, 5’07’’ after lap three, 7’07’’ at the end of the fourth and 5’41’’ after lap five. By now Friedrich and Grosu had been distanced by the breakaway group.

During the sixth lap the complexion of the race was changing fast as the main group increased its pace. The break had disintegrated leaving Jonas Koch and Torstein Traeen out in front with Arashiro bravely flying the flag for Japan in no-man’s-land. 2’37’’ behind him the bunch was in one long line driven by Denmark national team.

The breakaway finally ended with 68km to go, just after the seventh passage on Cima Gallisterna thanks to a powerful acceleration by the French national team.

Slovenian hopeful, 2020 Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar, gave his country a pause when he had to go for a bike change but promptly got back into the favourites’ Gruppo Compatto of around 50 riders. The next lap he was off the front making a daring attack on Cima Gallisterna about the same distance from the line as Anna van der Breggen did for her win the day before.

Chased by Belgium, Pogačar gained 10 seconds with 40km to go and then increased his advantage to 25 seconds with one lap remaining. It wasn’t enough though as he was caught by Dutchman Tom Dumoulin and then all the main group on the Mazzolano ascent.

After a day staying quiet in the bunch the Italian national team attacked with Damiano Caruso and then with Vincenzo Nibali with 20km to go hoping to make the World Championship a home win.

The day had taken its toll and after 240km the field had been culled ruthlessly ahead of the last Cima Gallisterna climb. Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet pushed hard on the first part of the ascent, then it was the turn of the Swiss Marc Hirschi and 2014 UCI World Champion Michał Kwiatkowski from Poland.

It was Frenchman Alaphilippe who finally seized the day, chased by Hirschi, Giro di Lombardia winner Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Van Aert, Primož Roglič (Slovenia) and Kwiatkowski. With 5km to go, Alaphilippe had taken a 12-second advantage and pushed full gas until the end, claiming his first UCI World title in front of Van Aert and Hirschi, 23 years after Laurent Brochard in San Sebastián, Spain.

2020 Elite Road World Champions:

Women Elite ITT @AnnavdBreggen, Netherlands

Men Elite ITT @GannaFilippo, Italy

Women Elite RR @AnnavdBreggen, Netherlands

Men Elite RR @alafpolak1, France

2019 UCI World Road Championships – Women’s Elite Road Race

Van Vleuten solos to Gold in Women’s Elite Road Race

Annemiek van Vleuten turned the women’s elite road race into a 100km time trial to take the rainbow jersey for the Netherlands. Second spot went to teammate and defending champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team) with Australia’s Amanda Spratt taking bronze.

2019 UCI Road World Championships – Women’s Elite Road Race – Yorkshire, England – Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands wins the Women’s Elite Road Race.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/

In front of massive crowds enjoying a day off from the inclement weather the 36 year old Mitchelton-Scott Pro took off on the Lofthouse climb to spend the next three hours holding off a determined pursuit that never really looked like making the catch.

2019 UCI Road World Championships – Women’s Elite Road Race – Yorkshire, England – Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands attacks.

Picture by Pauline Ballet/

Her lead held to around the two minute mark over the closing 30 km and despite determined efforts by several strong riders including 2015 Champion Brit Lizzie Deignan, who is from Yorkshire, Anna van der Breggen and champion from the Individual Time Trial American Chloe Dygert-Owen to take back some time her lead bent but did not break.

2019 UCI Road World Championships – Women’s Elite Road Race – Yorkshire, England – The Netherlands ride up Norwood Edge.

Picture by Pauline Ballet/

As the race neared the circuits of Harrogate and Van Vleuten grasp on gold became increasingly certain it turned into a competition for the silver and bronze out of a group of just four riders, van der Breggen , Spratt, Elisa Borghini of Italy and Dygert-Owen. When the race entered its third and final 14 km lap of Harrogate just van der Breggen and Spratt remained in contention. Van der Breggen proved the stronger dropping Spratt on a small hill to take silver 2’15” behind her compatriot, with Spratt taking bronze at 2’28”. Borghini took fourth, Dygert-Owen fifth with Marianne Vos leading home the peloton 5’20” after the winner.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/ – 28/09/2019 – Cycling – 2019 UCI Road World Championships – Women’s Elite Road Race – Yorkshire, England – Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands, Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands and Amanda Spratt of Australia on the podium after the Women’s Elite Road Race.

Netherlands rider Annemiek van Vleuten said: “That was crazy. I knew the climb was really far from the finish but once I’d attacked my coach told me to keep riding hard and I was lucky I had really good legs. It was definitely not planned but I’d trained so hard for this – put in so many hours on the bike – and I thought ‘if anyone can do this, it’s you’. As I was riding I was thinking ‘maybe I could make history today’, and if it didn’t work out I knew Anna [van der Breggen] was in a great position behind.

“So many emotions, my mother was here, that’s really special for me. It was such a big dream for me to be world champion, I’ve been world champion in the time trial, but on the road you can wear it so much more often.

“It was only towards the end that I dared to believe, and I was being cheered on by so many fans. The crowds in Bradford were huge at the start and I had so much encouragement out on the course as well. British fans are amazing and I want to thank them all for helping make this win so amazing.”

86th World Championships Women’s Elite Road Race Results:

2019 UCI World Road Championships

Men’s U23 and Women’s Elite Individual time Trials

BJERG AND DYGERT find gold in the rain and wind

Picture by Alex Broadway/ – 24/09/2019 – Cycling – 2019 UCI Road World Championships – Women’s Elite Individual Time Trial – Ripon – Harrogate, Yorkshire, England – Chloe Dygert of the United States of America.

Heavy rain and roads mimicking lakes couldn’t dampen the action on the third day of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships with Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) and Chloé Dygert Owen (USA) taking victory in the Under-23 Men’s and Elite Women’s 30.3km Individual Time Trials.

Women’s Elite Individual Time Trial

The USA’s Chloé Dygert Owen had almost nothing left in the tank as she crossed the line completing the 30.3 km course in a time of 42:11.570. The 22 year old who rides professionally for Sho – Air TWENTY20 had to be helped off her bike before slumping to the soaking wet tarmac after arriving 3’15” faster than the the previous pace setter Lucinda Brand. The results were all the more remarkable for being achieved in conditions that were near-apocaplyptic and had forced the race to be delayed by almost an hour.

Nobody really threatened the time. Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands/Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team), adrift by 1:32 took silver while Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands/Mitchelton-Scott) took bronze.

USA rider Chloé Dygert Owen said: “It’s always special to wear the rainbow stripes and I worked really hard for this. I had a concussion which forced me to miss last year’s Championships so I prepared specifically for this one and to win is really special.

“Being here in Yorkshire is really cool and it’s a really neat place to be. I’ll enjoy this moment tonight but I’ll be competing in the road race on Saturday so it’ll be back to work tomorrow.”

Picture by Alex Whitehead/ – 24/09/2019 – Cycling – 2019 UCI Road World Championships – Women’s Elite Individual Time Trial – Ripon – Harrogate, Yorkshire, England – Anna van der Breggen of The Netherlands, Chloe Dygert of the United States of America and Annemiek van Vleuten of The Netherlands on the podium after the Women’s Elite Individual Time Trial.


Men’s U23 Individual Time Trial

The U23 Men had to endure heavy rain and flooded roads in their morning event. which saw riders skidding into puddles the size of ponds. this did not faze Mikkel Bjerg. The Dane was the final rider down the start ramp and produced a time-trialling masterclass as he navigated his way successfully through the tricky parcours.

The 20 year old was fastest at the 14.2km split and consolidated his advantage to claim victory by a 26.45sec cushion over USA’s Ian Garrison. It was Bjerg’s third successive triumph in the Men’s Under-23 Individual Time Trial event and he seemingly has the world at his feet as he prepares to turn professional in 2020. 

Denmark rider Mikkel Bjerg said: “Today was really, really crazy and they were very difficult conditions out there today. I was told to hold my handlebars tight, keep looking ahead of me, and go full gas through the water. I didn’t have any slips or slides so I am over the moon to have pulled off this third victory.”

Johan Price-Pejtersen crashes in the rain
U23 Mens and Womens Elite 32km ITT Route