Drama on day six as Yorkshire’s Tom Pidcock makes the podium
Doncaster’s new outdoor cycling track was built to act as a legacy of the UCI Road World Championships being held in Yorkshire, so it was only fitting that it got to celebrate that by hosting the start of two races on day six of the event; but they were not without their fair share of drama.
Stars, stripes and rainbows as USA takes gold again
Megan Jastrab added to the USA’s medal haul at this year’s world championships with a strong showing in today’s Women Junior Road Race.
Setting off from Doncaster early this morning, the first attack of the day came from Kazakhstan’s Diana Bukanova who opened up a 25 second gap that soon doubled to 50 seconds thanks to a brisk 43kmph pace.
The day, it would turn out, would see more than its fair share of crashes and a mid-pack crash early on in the chase led to a few tangled bikes by the side of the road; with Spain’s Irati Puigdefabregas Ariz having to abandon.
With around 50km the solo break was reeled in and, one of the pre-race favourites, Jastrab decided to push the pace. With the Americans in such top form, the other riders at the front knew the danger and followed the attack; and soon enough, so did the peloton.
Cedrine Kerbaol (France) and Catalina Anais Soto Campos (Chile) went away and grabbed a 28 second lead with under 20km to go. Once again, a smart move was made by the peloton to close the gap on the two leaders with Italy and Britain pushing hard at the front.
Campos tried her best to evade the peloton’s advances, but with 3km to go an attack came from Jastrab once again, joined by Junior Women ITT champion Aigul Gareeva (Russia) and the pair went away.
The broken peloton was still advancing and although they would go on to catch Gareeva and push her into fourth, just outside the medals, they could not stop yet another American win as Megan Jastrab confirmed her position as pre-race favourite to take the gold medal and the rainbow jersey. Julie de Wilde (Belgium) finished just behind in second, ahead of Lieke Nooijen (the Netherlands) in third.
Disqualification for the Dutch as Eekhoff’s result is nilled
Late drama struck the Men U23 Road Race as Dutch rider Nils Eekhoff was disqualified despite crossing the line in first place.
Judges held a meeting directly after the race and the team celebrations of the Netherlands were cut short, as it was deemed that the 21-year-old had illegally drafted behind a team car to get back into the bunch after an early crash.
Even before the dramatic final scenes, the story of the Men U23 Road Race was filled with thrills, spills and everything in between.
The weather conditions once again added to the spectacle of the race and made for exciting conditions and a few strong riders decided to use this as a chance to open up a lead.
The Americans missed the move and they immediately set about trying to rectify that mistake by pulling extremely hard on the front of the peloton.
British riders Stuart Balfour and Fred Wright both managed to make the move into 13 man breakaway and gave a great account of themselves throughout.
Things then went from bad to worse for the Americans who saw the rider they had been protecting, Kevin Vaermarke, go down in a crash, alongside home favourite Tom Pidcock; who needed a bike change.
Over the top of Greenhow Hill, the race blew apart and a move that would prove decisive was made by a select group including riders from Denmark, Norway, Great Britain and the Netherlands. Once again, the USA missed the move and it would prove to just not be their day.
Idar Andersen (Norway) and Szymon Sajnok (Poland) attacked on Parliament Street and were soon joined for the final lap of the circuit by Samuele Battistella (Italy), Tobias S. Foss (Norway), Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland) and Yorkshire’s Tom Pidcock; who had spectacularly managed to overcome a crash and bike change to ride up to the lead group; spurred on by rapturous applause.
This lead group were caught by two chasing riders that included Dutchman Nils Eekhoff who would go on to cross the line in first. As the group approached Parliament Street, the chess game began and it was Pidcock who went for the checkmate.
However, the young rider’s legs gave way just before the line and he could only finish fourth, agonisingly it would appear, close to the medal places.
Eekhoff retained enough energy to power his way to a sprint victory ahead of Battistella and Bissegger and celebrated arms aloft.
The result would not stand though, as despite the celebrations, it was announced almost immediately that there would be an investigation by the commissaires. Their decision would take over half an hour and would eventually disqualify the Dutch rider, pushing the positions up a place to see Battistella take gold, Bissegger take the silver and, much to the crowd’s delight, Pidcock take bronze.