France’s Julian Alaphilippe retains cycling world championship’s road race title


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France’s Julian Alaphilippe retained his men’s road race title at the cycling world championships after attacking relentlessly in the finale of the 268.3 km ride between Antwerp and Leuven on Sunday.

Alaphilippe made the decisive move on the short climb up to the Sint Antoniusberg 17km from the line and never looked back, becoming only the seventh rider to win consecutive titles.

Alaphilippe reaped the rewards of the team’s tactics after the French shook up the race throughout to wear down their opponents, notably the Belgians, whose odds-on favourite Wout van Aert ended up finishing empty-handed.

It was also Alaphilippe’s instinct that made the difference as he beat Dutchman Dylan van and Denmark’s Michael Valgren, who came home second and third, respectively.

“In the finale the fans were asking me to slow down and they didn’t have nice words… I want to thank them because it really motivated me,” said the 29-year-old, who also won solo in Imola, Italy last year.

“I just wanted to shake it up, I did not think it would eventually stick.”

While early attacks by the French were part of the plan, Alaphilippe’s late moves were not.

Disappointing Van Aert

“I told Julian to follow the attacks and then counter. He did the opposite, he attacked several times on his own. So it was his instinct that spoke. He scared me anyway, the idiot,” said team manager Thomas Voeckler.

Benoit Cosnefroy was the first notable rider to attack with 180km left, aiming to wear his rivals down and avoid a sprint finish that would have favoured Dutch Mathieu van der Poel, Van Aert or Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli.

It was then Valentin Madouas who upped the pace and he formed a group of a dozen breakaway riders including the prodigiously talented 21-year-old Remco Evenepoel.

But the young Belgian sacrificed his own…

Source : france24

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