European nationals: Démare delivers, van der Poel dominates, van Vleuten defeated

We wrap up the key results and reactions from a weekend of national championships in Europe.

Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

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This weekend saw a number of European nationals taking place, with action in Italy, France, the Netherlands and Spain among many others.

Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans), Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), and Lúis León Sánchez (Astana) were among some of the newly-crowned champions that will race with the national colors on their jersey for the next year.

After a relatively quiet road season so far this year, van der Poel roared into action to win the Dutch championships, attacking from the lead group in the final 45 kilometers to ride solo to the line, winning by 1:31.

Driving rain and wind had seen the race reduced from 27 to 25 laps, and many riders did not make it to the finish.

“I had a pretty good day today. It was very difficult and you didn’t get a moment’s rest,” van der Poel said. “It was one of the toughest races I have ever done.”

Pre-race favorite Démare delivered in France after over 15 of his Groupama-FDJ teammates dominated the peloton and controlled the race.

Démare withstood a series of attacks by Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) in the final five kilometers to win from a sprint of three, taking his third national title in the process.

“Collectively and individually, it’s really the most beautiful,” Démare told France 3 after the race. “Coming back as I did to Julian Alaphilippe, the best puncher in the world at the moment is exceptional … I have been confident since Milan-Turin and the Tour of Wallonie. Nothing can stop me at the moment. It’s great.”

Though being on red-hot form, the Groupama-FDJ sprinter will not be able to show his new tricolore jersey at the Tour de France this summer as his team goes all-in on its GC bid for Thibaut Pinot. Démare will instead race the Giro d’Italia.

Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT Pro Cycling) took his second Italian title having crashed early in the race, winning by a tires’ width in a reduced bunch sprint. Just the night before the race, Team Ineos withdrew its four riders after Leonardo Basso tested positive for coronavirus.

Sánchez took his long-awaited Spanish road title having won the time trial four times. In what was a dramatic end to the race, the 36-year-old overhauled lone leader Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) on the final climb just one kilometer from the line.

Garcia followed up on her impressive near-miss at Strade Bianche to take both the time trial and road race in Spain. Van der Breggen used the strength in depth of her Boels-Dolmans team to overpower Annamiek van Vleuten in the Dutch road race, ending her rival’s long unbeaten streak.

Trek-Segafredo riders enjoyed a victorious weekend, with Elisa Longo Borghini winning the Italian time trial and Audrey Cordon-Ragot taking the road race in her local region of France.

Longo Borghini’s victory was her first national title since taking the time trial and road race championships in 2017.

“It’s the fourth title, but it never gets old to wear the Italian jersey,” she said. “Unfortunately, for different reasons, the last two seasons I haven’t been able to express myself as I wanted, but this year I absolutely wanted to find myself again. I did! I want this success to be the first step in view for the next races, Giro Rosa first of all.”

Earlier in the week, Bob Jungels (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) made it six-straight time trial titles in Luxembourg, while Filippo Ganna (Ineos) crushed the Italian race against the clock, beating Alessandro Di Marchi by 50 seconds

Overview: Key Results

The Netherlands
Men’s road race – Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix)
Women’s road race – Anna van der Breggen (Boels Dolmans)

Men’s road race – Lúis León Sánchez (Astana)
Women’s road race – Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana)
Men’s time trial – Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren)
Women’s time trial – Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana)

Men’s road race – Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT)
Men’s time trial – Filippo Ganna (Ineos)
Women’s time trial – Elisa Longo Borgini (Trek-Segafredo)

Men’s road race – Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ)
Women’s road race – Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo)
Men’s time trial – Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck–Quick-Step)
Women’s time trial – Juliette Labous (Sunweb)

Men’s road race – Marcel Meisen (Alpecin-Fenix)
Women’s road race – Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling)

Men’s time trial – Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma)
Women’s time trial – Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal)

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