LEUVEN, Belgium, Sept 26 (Reuters) – France’s Julian Alaphilippe retained his men’s road race title at the cycling world championships in design following attacking relentlessly in the finale, capping a impressive group overall performance on Sunday.

Alaphilippe designed the decisive transfer on the brief climb up to the Sint Antoniusberg 17km from the line and never appeared again, getting only the seventh rider to win consecutive titles.

Alaphilippe reaped the benefits of the team’s ways immediately after the French shook up the race all through to put on down their opponents, notably the Belgians, whose odds-on favorite Wout van Aert finished up finishing empty-handed.

It was also Alaphilippe’s instinct that created the difference as he beat Dutchman Dylan van and Denmark’s Michael Valgren, who came household 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

“In the finale the followers have been inquiring me to slow down and they failed to have wonderful terms… I want to thank them because it genuinely enthusiastic me,” mentioned the 29-12 months-previous, who also won solo in Imola, Italy final yr.

“I just desired to shake it up, I did not imagine it would ultimately stick.”

Though early assaults by the French were being aspect of the approach, Alaphilippe’s late moves were not.


“I instructed Julian to stick to the assaults and then counter. He did the reverse, he attacked quite a few occasions on his own. So it was his intuition that spoke. He terrified me in any case, the idiot,” stated group manager Thomas Voeckler.

Benoit Cosnefroy was the initially noteworthy rider to attack with 180km left, aiming to use his rivals down and stay away from a dash complete that would have favoured Dutch Mathieu van der Poel, Van Aert or Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli.

It was then Valentin Madouas who upped the tempo and he fashioned a group of a dozen breakaway riders such as the prodigiously proficient 21-calendar year-previous Remco Evenepoel.

But the younger Belgian sacrificed his individual odds for Van Aert, who simply did not have the legs to abide by Alaphilippe when it mattered and finished a disappointing 11th.

Alaphilippe, who had currently attacked before, tried out to go solo on the Wijnpress hill but the go was foiled and when he went once again on the Sint Antoniusberg, the group of favourites was blown to items.

Four guys – Van Baarle, Valgren, Belgium’s Jasper Stuyven and American Neilson Powless – lagged 10 seconds powering and it appeared Alaphilippe would be caught. But the Frenchman discovered his next wind in the closing stages, riding away to turn out to be the initially person to keep his title since Slovakian Peter Sagan won his 3rd consecutive rainbow jersey in 2017.

“I came in this article calm, being aware of I had good legs. But I was not even dreaming of winning a rainbow jersey yet again,” stated Alaphilippe after the 268.3km trip among Antwerp and Leuven.

Only 68 of the 180 starters concluded the study course, which was marred by early crashes that also finished the likelihood of 2019 champion Mads Pedersen.

Reporting by Julien Pretot Enhancing by Hugh Lawson

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