Cycling Road World Championships Review
The 2019 UCI Road World Championships took place last week with racing between Sunday 22 and 29 of September. It was a thrilling renewal of an event that has grown in popularity dramatically in recent times, especially amongst a British audience.
The spotlight was on this event to do its bit to help further boost the profile of cycling road races in this country and we’re delighted to report the results and action more than did the job. Yorkshire provided the backdrop to this year’s event and fans turned out in their numbers to support the racing and cheer on their favourite competitors. There was also many more watching the live coverage that was available on TV, streams and mobile apps.
There has never been a better time to be a fan of cycling due to the ever-increasing amount of coverage of the sport now available. That also extends to the betting and major bookmakers now allow members an opportunity to back their opinions with hard cash and get their money down on a number of exciting markets. Pre-race, sports bettors could wager on the winner of the 2019 Cycling Road World Championships or try their luck on one of the many interesting specials available.
Live sports action is enjoyable, but it doesn’t quite compare to making a profit from the play and the opportunity to bet on cycling helps promote it to the wider audience, including casual fans eager to boost their betting account balance with a winning bet. You may be an avid supporter of British cycling or a punter with a passing interest, the joy of landing a winning bet feels the same regardless.
Yorkshire Stands as the Host County
Last week signalled the 92nd renewal of the Cycling Road World Championships but it was only the fourth time the event had been held in the United Kingdom. That was surprising but it does go to show how far the sport in this country has progressed in recent times. The London 2012 Olympics helped set-up the facilities for a number of usually niche sports to be promoted to the wider public and there can be no doubt the summer of 2012 has had a sporting legacy in this country.
Usually, a single town or city would stand as the host of this competition, but times are changing and this year we saw the county of Yorkshire was the official host. North Yorkshire did play an important role, however, and each race finished in Harrogate. Other locations in 2019 were Beverley, Doncaster, Leeds, Northallerton, Ripon and York. This gave organisers the chance to really push the sport of cycling to a larger audience, bringing it directly to the British people and presenting more members of the public with an opportunity to come out and watch live cycling on their doorstep. It had the desired effect and the crowds filled the Yorkshire streets to watch the best in the business speed past as they aimed at glory.
The schedule also gave an exciting mix of different styles of racing. On Sunday 29 September the mixed relay race took place over a distance of 17.1 miles and that finished in Harrogate. Next was the individual team trial events. On Monday we saw the junior women and junior men races also start and finish in Harrogate before the under 23 men and elite women raced from Ripon to Harrogate on Tuesday.
Flying Dane Mads Pedersen Wins Men’s Event
The elite men took to the stage on Wednesday and that race began in Northallerton and was decided over a painful 34 miles. That’s the one much of the crowd came out to see and they weren’t left disappointed. The road race events were next and these pulled in a big audience on each of the days of play. The junior men raced on Thursday, the junior women and under 23 men taking place on Friday to kick-start the weekend. It was then that things got serious.
Saturday 28 September brought us the elite women’s race which began in Bradford and finished in Harrogate over a distance of 92.8 miles. The star of the show and main attraction was reserved for Sunday when the elite men’s race challenged the best cyclists in the world over a gruelling trip of 162 miles between Leeds and Harrogate with no less than nine laps standing between the opening field and this year’s champion.
The results show Mads Pedersen of Denmark was the men’s elite champion and he was joined on the podium by Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands who won the women’s road race. The winning time of Pedersen was 6h 27m 28s and that saw him finish ahead of runner up Matteo Trentin of Italy and third-placed Stefan Kung of Switzerland. Annemiek van Vleuten posted a time of 4hrs 06m 05s in the women’s elite road race, enough to see off runner-up Anna van der Breggen, also of Holland. Aussie Amanda Spratt crossed the line back in third to take a well-deserved bronze medal.
USA Top the Charts
Britain may have been the host nation, but the team performed poorly at this event and finished bottom of the medal table, with a return of no gold medals, no silvers and three bronze. That placed them down in 10th, behind the likes of Switzerland, Belgium and Russia, proving just how much work lies ahead of Team GB if they are to close the gap on the main players at this level of competition. The USA topped the charts with a return of three gold medals, one silver and a couple of bronze.
The six gained meant they didn’t claim the most medals of the week, but they did finish with the best results. Team USA edged the Netherlands who did bank more prizes than any other nation on eight medals. That haul was made up of two golds, four silvers and two bronze. The nation performed admirably in most races and would have returned home disappointed not to have finished on top of the medals table. The Italians were back in third with two gold, two silver and one bronze, more than holding their own over the course of the week, as was expected.
Holland won the mixed relay and that event was met with much interest. The team of Lucinda Brand, Riejanne Markus, Amy Pieters, Koen Bouwman, Bauke Mollema and Jos van Emden were crowned champions, seeing off a spirited German side who finished in second with Great Britain crossing the line in third. There were some real positives for Team GB in that race and they will be eager to pick out encouragement from that, rather than the fact they finished bottom of the medal charts. British cycling is improving but organisers will want to see results in the near future.
Pedersen Surprised Himself and His Team
The men’s elite race was won by Mads Pedersen, as mentioned, with the top 10 places reading as follows…
1 Mads Pedersen 6hr27sec
2 Matteo Trentin +0
3 Stefan Kung +2
4 Gianni Moscon +17
5 Peter Sagan +43
6 Michael Valgren Andersen +45
7 Alexander Kristoff +1min10sec
8 Greg van Avermaet +1min10sec
9 Gorka Izagirre Insausti +1min10sec
10 Rui Costa +1min10sec
Speaking to the press following his impressive win, Mads Pedersen called his win unbelievable and a result that came as a shock to him and the team. The champion told fans his initial aim was just to survive the race in difficult conditions but admitted it was his dream to wear the jersey and he was glad his body was able to hold off the pain of over six hours on the bike to put in a sprint finish to seal victory against all the odds.
It was a thrilling finish to a race that proved an enjoyable watch from the start., Mads Pedersen stuck with the leaders, remaining on the wheels of Italian rival Matteo Trentin heading for the finish line. The champion then found the change of gear needed to accelerate away to the finish line and that proved to be the difference in what was a tight contest. The 23-year-old victor kept something in the tank and delivered his assault perfectly, leaving Trentin behind with no chance of challenging in the final few yards.
Trentin Should have Gambled
Conditions also made racing difficult and the runner up looked to adopt a sensible approach that cost him victory. He allowed his rivals to take a lead going into a tight corner and we’d imagine he now wishes, with the benefit of hindsight, that he’d been a little braver and took on the risk of a late crash in an attempt to win gold.
We’re sure the Italian would have learned a few lessons from that day and will come back stronger for the experience. Pederson would have also learned a thing or two about himself and is sure to be popular with punters in the next big event.
Staging the Cycling Road World Championships helped secure £15m worth of funding towards the construction of more than 25 off-road racing venues around the UK and that will be the legacy of this event for years to come.