Remco Evenepoel goes solo for sensational UCI Road World Championship victory

Evenepoel doubles up Vuelta a España title with barnstorming ride into rainbow bands as Van Aert, Alaphilippe, Pogačar miss the key move.

Photo: Getty Images

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Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) rampaged into the rainbow jersey at the UCI Road World Championships.

The Belgian ace slipped into the crucial split in the middle of the race before riding Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) off his wheel at 25km to go to score Belgium its first world title since 2012.

The rest of the race’s top favorites like double defending champion Julian Alaphilippe (France), Wout van Aert (Belgium), Michael Matthews (Australia) and Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia) were caught out early in the race.

The bunch of five-star favorites missed the split before chasing back in the closing kilometers to sprint for podium positons.

Christophe Laporte (France) won the sprint for second, 2:21 back, while Matthews punched into third, denying Belgium a one-three as Van Aert finished fourth.

The rainbow jersey caps off a phenomenal season for Evenepoel after victories with Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl at Liège-Bast0gne-Liège, Donostia San Sebastian, and the Vuelta a España. The 22-year-old is the first rider to win a world title and grand tour since Greg LeMond did the double in 1989.

“It’s something I’ve been dreaming of. After a monument, a big classic a grand tour, and a world championship, I think I won everything I could have this year. I think I will never have another season like this,” he said. “It will be a big party tonight, I’m not going to see my bed I guess.”

Evenepoel’s final 25km solo TT closed the circle after he did similar when he stunned the bunch with his ride to victory in the junior worlds in 2018.

Evenepoel was surrounded by Belgian teammates at the finish. Co-captain Van Aert was one of the first to congratulate his compatriot as he became first Belgian world champion since Philippe Gilbert.

“I think how we raced today really like a team. Like I said before, we wanted to become a world champion as a team, it didn’t matter how,” Evenepoel said. “It was Wout’s chance or my chance, it was my chance to go from early and Wout was to follow along and sprint. I guess the early attack mde it today. But I just think we deserve it. We really deserve it.”

Also read: UCI Road World Championships: Mathieu van der Poel arrested ahead of road race

Drama for Van der Poel

There was drama before the race even rolled out this morning.

News broke Mathieu van der Poel was arrested and held by police until 4am Sunday after a hotel room altercation with two teenagers. The Dutchman started the race just a few hours later, but abandoned after around 40km.

Unlike the slow grind attrition of most road worlds, the first 100km of Sunday’s championships was flat-out.

An early break of 11 got away early before a strong chase of five – including French star Pavel Sivakov, Belgian domestiques Pieter Serry and Aussie duo Luke Plapp and Ben O’Connor – got across to make 16 up the road.

France, Spain and some solo antics by Pogačar squeezed the pressure in the peloton over the early Kiera climb. The forced saw a large split in the bunch that came back together as the race started working through the 12 punchy crit-style Wollongong circuits.

Evenepoel in action

The race went into a slow burn before kicking back to life in the final 80km.

France started to turn the screw, and the bunch again broke into two. Evenepoel and two Belgians, Bardet and two from France, two Brits, and Neilson Powless (USA), were among the dangerous 20-rider split that took one minute over the rest.

The lead group latched onto the breakaway at 60km to go and rolled almost two minutes ahead.

Evenepoel began showing his intentions early. The Belgian cop-captain was eager with a series of accelerations before reeling himself back as the Swiss took control of the front group.

The peloton started to move at 40km to go. Pogačar and Valentin Madouas (France) sparked the action on the Mount Pleasaant climb and just it kicked off in the led group just minutes later.

Lutsenko attacked out of the group at 40km to go before Evenepoel dived across and the two rode tandem at the front of the race.

Four riders – Pascal Eenkhoorn (Netherlands), Mattias Skjelmose Jensen (Denmark), Lorenzo Rota (Italy) and Mauro Schmid (Switzerland) – chased but looked unlikely to ever make the catch as Evenepoel towed the leading twosome clear.

Evenepoel had been relentless all day long and didn’t stop as the race went deep into its final. The 22-year-old rode Lutsenko off the wheel on the circuit’s kicker climb at 25k to go and settled into his typical time trial style.

The group of favorites of Van Aert, Pogačar, Alaphilippe and co. was two minutes off the pace and the race looked lost. Van Aert tried to make the difference but the gap was too big.

Evenepoel untouchable

Once Evenepoel escaped, there was no bringing him back. The 22-year-old galloped away from Lutsenko who dug deep to hold off the four-rider chase.

Lutsenko faded and was caught by Skjelmose Jensen, Rota and Schmid in the final 4km before the peloton rampaged back into the frame and sprinted for the podium slots, with Laporte squeezing past Matthews to score a consolation second-place for France.

World Championships ME - Road Race Results

1EVENEPOEL RemcoBelgium6:16:08
2LAPORTE ChristopheFrance2:21
3MATTHEWS MichaelAustralia2:21
4VAN AERT WoutBelgium2:21
5TRENTIN MatteoItaly2:21
6KRISTOFF AlexanderNorway2:21
7SAGAN PeterSlovakia2:21
8BETTIOL AlbertoItaly2:21
9HAYTER EthanGreat Britain2:21
10SKJELMOSE MattiasDenmark2:21
11GARCÍA CORTINA IvánSpain2:21
12TRATNIK JanSlovenia2:21
13ROTA LorenzoItaly2:21
14TULETT BenGreat Britain2:21
15HONORÉ Mikkel FrølichDenmark2:21
16TILLER RasmusNorway2:21
17SCHMID MauroSwitzerland2:21
18POWLESS NeilsonUnited States2:21
19POGAČAR TadejSlovenia2:21
20KÜNG StefanSwitzerland2:21
21GENIETS KevinLuxembourg2:21
22BARDET RomainFrance2:21
23VALTER AttilaHungary2:21
24LUTSENKO AlexeyKazakhstan2:21
25MOLLEMA BaukeNetherlands2:21
26COSNEFROY BenoîtFrance2:21
27VAN BAARLE DylanNetherlands2:21
28EENKHOORN PascalNetherlands2:21
29MADOUAS ValentinFrance2:31
30POLANC JanSlovenia2:31
31HIGUITA SergioColombia2:31
32NARVÁEZ JhonatanEcuador2:31
33CONCI NicolaItaly2:31
34HERMANS QuintenBelgium2:34
35CORT MagnusDenmark3:01
36ZUKOWSKY NickolasCanada3:01
37BYSTRØM Sven ErikNorway3:01
38DILLIER SilvanSwitzerland3:01
39ARASHIRO YukiyaJapan3:01
40SCHÖNBERGER SebastianAustria3:01
41SKAARSETH AndersNorway3:01
42ŠTYBAR ZdeněkCzech Republic3:01
43VAN HOOYDONCK NathanBelgium3:01
44OLIVEIRA NelsonPortugal3:01
45JUNGELS BobLuxembourg3:01
46BAGIOLI AndreaItaly3:01
47STUYVEN JasperBelgium3:01
48LAMPAERT YvesBelgium3:01
49HINDLEY JaiAustralia3:01
50CLARKE SimonAustralia3:01
51ALAPHILIPPE JulianFrance3:01
52ARNDT NikiasGermany3:08
53WRIGHT FredGreat Britain3:08
54GIRMAY BiniamEritrea3:08
55MØRKØV MichaelDenmark3:08
56FUGLSANG JakobDenmark3:08
57KAMP AlexanderDenmark3:28
58LIEPIŅŠ EmīlsLatvia4:50
59KUKRLE MichaelCzech Republic4:50
60ALMEIDA JoãoPortugal5:16
61MAAS JanNetherlands6:11
62BAYER TobiasAustria6:11
63BALLERINI DavideItaly6:11
64ŠTOČEK MatúšSlovakia6:11
65ČANECKÝ MarekSlovakia6:11
66QUINTANA NairoColombia6:11
67HAUSSLER HeinrichAustralia6:11
68PRIMOŽIČ JakaSlovenia6:11
69KUDUS MerhawiEritrea6:17
70CHARMIG AnthonDenmark6:20
71SEPÚLVEDA EduardoArgentina6:20
72STEIMLE JannikGermany6:20
73SWENSON KeeganUnited States6:20
74IMPEY DarylSouth Africa6:20
75EZQUERRA JesúsSpain6:20
76ANIOŁKOWSKI StanisławPoland6:20
77ADRIÀ RogerSpain6:20
78SHEFFIELD MagnusUnited States6:20
79SWIFT BenGreat Britain6:20
80PACHER QuentinFrance8:10
81POELS WoutNetherlands8:10
82SOLER MarcSpain9:31
83OLIVEIRA IvoPortugal9:31
84FOSS TobiasNorway9:31
85BATTISTELLA SamueleItaly9:31
86MCGILL ScottUnited States10:23
87PRADES EduardSpain10:23
88PELLAUD SimonSwitzerland11:28
89LIENHARD FabianSwitzerland11:28
90SÉNÉCHAL FlorianFrance11:28
91SCHULTZ NickAustralia11:28
92BJERG MikkelDenmark11:28
93PEÑA Wilson EstibenColombia11:28
94LEKNESSUND AndreasNorway11:28
95WIRTGEN LucLuxembourg11:28
96OWSIAN ŁukaszPoland11:28
97GALL FelixAustria11:28
98DEWULF StanBelgium11:28
99HOOLE DaanNetherlands11:28
100TURNER BenGreat Britain11:40
101SIVAKOV PavelFrance14:28
102STEWART JakeGreat Britain15:05
103SWIFT ConnorGreat Britain15:05

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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