Are Cyclocross Riders Set To Dominate The Road World? | The Cycling Race News Show

Are Cyclocross Riders Set To Dominate The Road World? | The Cycling Race News Show


Welcome to the GCN Racing News Show – the
Tour de France might be over but the racing continues in earnest. This week we’re asking
if Cyclocross riders are set to dominate road cycling just as they did at this week’s
Tour of Denmark. We also look back at the Clasica San Sebastian, the European Championships,
the first two days of the Tour of Poland, the Transcontinental and the Northcape 4000. Are CX stars about to take over the world?!
Or at least the road world? The reason we’re asking is because they’ve just won 3 out
of the 5 stages AND the overall GC at the Tour of Denmark – OK, not the biggest race
in the world, but not an easy one to win. World CycloCross champion Wout Van Aert took
the leader’s jersey after a hilly stage 2, which he won, and cemented that position
with a solid 2nd place in the Individual Time Trial behind Mads Pedersen, and then finished
off with some confident riding in the crosswinds on the final day – it was a dominant display
and a victory he dedicated to his late teammate, Michael Goelaerts.
That final day, incidentally, was won in a sprint by Van Aerts teammate and fellow cyclocrosser
Tim Merlier, who had also won stage 3 in a sprint, taking the points jersey home for
good measure. With Van Aert due to go full time into the WorldTour from 2019 with Lotto
NL Jumbo, and Mathieu Van Der Poel currently holding national titles in cyclocross, mountain
biking, AND road, it makes you wonder just how far these wonder kids can go.
Are they going to dominate the sport? Could they win a Grand Tour? Or will they concentrate
on the one day classics? We’d love to hear your thoughts on exactly this subject – let
us know how far you think these CX specialists will go in the big wide world of road racing
in the comments section below. I personally think they’ll be winning a
lot of the one day classics – possibly as soon as next season – Van Der Poels team have
just applied for a Pro Continental license so we could potentially see him compete in
those races next year, which would be very very interesting, and exciting. Incidentally,
if you’re completely perplexed by that merger between Veranda’s Willems Crelan and AquaBlueSport,
don’t worry – so are we! Basically Aquablue Sport put out a press release to say the two
teams had merged, a release that was later rescinded, and we’ve not heard anything
since. Weird – more on that on tomorrow’s GCN Show if we get any more information. The Clasica San Sebastian used to be one of
the 8 one day race that made up the World Cup before the WorldTour came along – it’s
not a monument, but at 230km’s and in it’s 38th year, it’s certainly a prestigious
race to win. This year’s race, though, was marred by
a particularly bad crash that came just inside the last 20km’s – Ben King looked around
briefly, and in that moment, a rider from Lotto NL Jumbo cut in front and took him down,
setting off a chain reaction that brought down a whole host of favourites. Worst off
were Egan Bernal, who suffered serious serious facial trauma according to his team, Sky,
and Mikel Landa, who fractured his L1 vertebrae – both will be out of action for a significant
period and we wish them the best in their recovery. King later apologised on twitter,
although to be fair I think it’s debatable as to whether it was actually his fault.
The main race action came on the last climb, the brutal Alto du Murgil, with pitches upwards
of 20%. It served as a launchpad for Bauke Mollema – the Dutchman has competed at this
race 7 times and always finished inside the top 9, taking the win last year. And he was
looking good for a repeat, until man of the moment Julian Alaphilippe caught him right
at the crest. The duo quickly forged a 30s lead, with the
rest soon realising that they were riding for 3rd. Mollema, though, must have quickly
realised he was fighting for 2nd – he was no match for Alaphilippe in the sprint, the
Frenchman taking his first victory at a race that suits him down to the ground. There was
some good news from organisers of the race too – they are said to be running a women’s
event on the same day as the men’s next year. In the European Championships, the track racing
is in full swing right now, but we’ve also seen the women’s road race which took place
on Sunday. There, one of the most notable performance came from 19 year old Sophie Wright,
who found herself off the front solo for 80km’s. Wright also has a background in cyclocross
– national and European Junior champion 2 years ago, and also Mountain Biking, in which
she has also been national champion – watch out for her in the very near future.
Once caught, it wasn’t long before we saw the big hitters make their move – the Netherlands
sent a particularly strong team, Anna Van Der Breggen amongst them. She attacked with
20km’s remaining, drawing Longo Borghini and Dani Rowe with her. They were later joined
by Floortje Mackaij. With two now in front, the Dutch looked to be in a great position,
but then, for some reason, they also decided to chase from behind. Nobody seems to know
why, but what they achieved was bringing everything back for a bunch sprint, in which they finished
2nd with Marianne Vos, behind the Italian Marta Bastianelli.
It was an incredible ride by Lisa Brennauer to get third, though, because just the day
previous, she’d qualified for and then won the final of the Individual Pursuit championships
on the track, with a very fast winning time of 3:26.878, a new German record.
Speaking of the track, there were some notable performances there, firstly from Ethan Hayter,
also just 19 years old – he won Gold in the Omnium and will be a stagiaire, which basically
means having a tryout, with Team Sky for the last part of this season.
Laura Kenny has made a successful comeback to competition after giving birth to her son
Albie 12 months ago – she has so far won gold in the team pursuit and elimination race. The first two stages of the Tour of Poland
would end up in bunch sprints, and both of them were won convincingly by newly crowned
German Champion Pascal Ackermann. The Bora Hansgrohe rider did veer from his line quite
dramatically on Sunday, but the race jury decided not to penalise him. Ackermann now
has 6 professional victories to his name, and the last 4 have come in his last 4 races,
which must be the very definition of form. Meanwhile, we are now four stages through
the 10 day Volta a Portugal, where the riders have faced excessive heat, in the mid-40’s
celsius, which is over 110 fahrenheit. Organisers came under fire, if you’ll pardon the pun,
for not shortening Friday’s 203km stage – firefighters have been using hoses to cool
the riders from the side of the road but that was far from an effective solution. Riders
have said it’s been liking riding in a sauna, or into air from a hair dryer, and it’s
had a severe effect – amongst those to abandon is Louis Bendixen, who collapsed through heat
stroke and kidney failure after spending three hours trying to pee in doping control.
You might be wondering why the extreme weather protocol wasn’t implemented, but the level
of the race as a 2.1 means it isn’t covered, but surely then it’s just a case of being
sensible? Sunday’s Queen stage was shortened, but only by 27km’s, whilst riders and The heat doesn’t seem to have affected last
year’s winner Raul Alarcon, who won stages 3 and 4 and now almost a minute clear in the
GC. If you haven’t already checked out Katherine’s
videos from the Transcontinental then I can thoroughly recommend them – I’ll link to
one at the end of the video – an update on the event, though – last year’s winner James
Hayden currently leads having completed the brutal CP4 section of the event, something
this photo from Camille McMillan perfectly encapsulates. Hayden has a lead of around
80km’s over Bjorn Lenhard as we record this. In the first few days, the competition was
close between experienced ultra endurance cyclists James, Bjorn and Bernd Paul, but
a fall for Bernd and injury put him out of the race, whilst Bjorn suffered a ripped sidewall
at CP3. At the Northcape4000, the front runners are
now well on their way to Santa Claus Office in Finland, with Ian Walker now in the race
lead having taken over from early pace-setter Karol Wrobleski. Walker has been surviving
on just 1-2 hours of sleep per night and, like all the competitors, has had to deal
with some pretty bad roads, particularly through Poland.
Before we finish and sticking with ultra endurance – it seems as though breakaway specialist
Thomas De Gendt is about to embark on some bikepacking with teammate Tim Wellens – that
is not a pairing that I would like to try and keep up with!
Also 3x winner of the Transcontinental Belgian Kristoff Allegaert is just setting off to
attempt the Lands End – John O Groats – Lands End record, completely self supported, aiming
for just 5 days for the 1880 miles! https://twitter.com/AllegaertK/status/1026147199548313601 Tune back in next week to see if he’s made
it. Right – that’s all for this week, next week
we’ll see the conclusion of the Tours of Portugal and Poland, plus the Tour of Utah,
the Vuelta a Burgos, the men’s European Championships road race and the Swedish round
of the Women’s WorldTour, so make sure you join us then.
In the meantime, here is the video I was talking about earlier, Why The Transcontinental Race
Is The New Tour de France. Click down here……