Ju­nior rid­ers bet­ter for world champ ex­po­sure

Waipa Post - - The Country -

The test­ing climbs of the moun­tains at the ski re­sort of Inns­bruck in the Aus­trian Alps proved a brutish test for Te Awa­mutu Sports Cy­cling Club’s ju­nior rid­ers at the UCI Road World Cham­pi­onships in Aus­tria.

Best of the Kiwi trio was Josh Lane (TA Sports) in 62nd spot, 18:54 from the win­ner, with Theo Gilbert­son 72nd over 20 min­utes be­hind, while Sam Cook (TA Sports), like many, did not fin­ish after he was stalled by one of the crashes.

The ju­nior men’s race over 132kms was split after a fast tail­wind start and two ma­jor crashes with rid­ers left in small groups lit­tered over the two laps of the Olympic cir­cuit, where mak­ing the fin­ish line in Inns­bruck proved a ma­jor achieve­ment in it­self.

Bel­gium’s out­stand­ing prospect Remco Evenepoel won in 3:03.49, 1m25s ahead of Mar­ius May­hofer (GER) and Alessan­dro Fan­cellu (ITA).

A ma­jor crash early on caught out many, in­clud­ing Cook who was un­able to catch back to the bunch on the super-fast flat tail­wind sec­tion.

A sec­ond sig­nif­i­cant crash halted the progress of Gilbert­son as the first lap of the cir­cuit splin­tered the race with small groups lit­tered over the course. Evenepoel, who has al­ready been signed by the Quick Step Floors World Tour team as a teenager, bridged up to the lead­ers and cruised away to an im­pres­sive win.

“This is the world cham­pi­onships and the cour­ses are tra­di­tion­ally very tough and it is a longer race than dur­ing the year. For young New Zealand rid­ers, it is an eye-opener,” said Cy­cling New Zealand’s Jac­ques Landry.

“They all stuck at it and I am sure it has been an ed­u­ca­tion on the strength of the Euro­pean rid­ers and where they need to get to if they want to have a pro­fes­sional ca­reer in this sport.”

The race com­prised an ini­tial lumpy tail­wind sec­tion from Kuf­stein be­fore the Olympic cir­cuit that fea­tured one mas­sive climb and a spec­tac­u­lar de­scent down to Inns­bruck to the fa­mous Ber­gisel ski jump, used for the 1964 Win­ter Olympics, and fin­ished by the Im­pe­rial Palace.

Photo / Sup­plied

World cham­pi­onships road race very much a learn­ing curve for Te Awa­mutu Sports Cy­cling Club rid­ers Sam Cook and Josh Lane.

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