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The VeloVeritas Years – 2019: The Elite Road World Championships

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HomeOtherThe VeloVeritas YearsThe VeloVeritas Years - 2019: The Elite Road World Championships

We didn’t realise when we made our way to the Civic Hall in Leeds for the sign-on of the 2019 Elite World Road Championships just what an epic day we were in for; emergency purchasing of umbrellas in the local outdoor centre didn’t quite cut it as the deluge lasted almost the entire race.

But we didn’t mind; the biggest one day race of the season was in our country and no amount of rain ad wind was going to stop us having a ball. Ed stalked the buses and finish line area to grab riders as they called it quits early whilst Martin walked the entire circuit (it took five hours) protecting the cameras from the elements and capturing the action as he went. It took Martin a few days to get the blue shoe dye out of his feet – but it was great to be there, to witness Mads Pederson step up on such levelling conditions to take the rainbow bands. It was a day that will be talked about for years and is our 2019 memory for ‘The VeloVeritas Years’ collection.

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This article first ran on 29th September, 2019

Denmark’s Mads Pederson drops to the wet Yorkshire tarmac, a hundred metres past the finish line, he can’t take in what he’s just accomplished.

He has out-sprinted one of the foxiest and fastest men around, Matteo Trentin of Italy – the hot pre-race favourites for the title on this horror of a day.

Elite Road World Championships
Mads Pederson in the media scrum at the Elite Road World Championships. Photo©Ed Hood
Elite Road World Championships
Mads Pederson takes an unexpected win at the World Road championships. Photo©Martin Williamson
Elite Road World Championships
Silver medallist Matteo Trentin (r) concentrates on a tricky descent on the 2nd lap of the finishing circuit. Photo©Martin Williamson

In third spot was the tall, handsome young man who forced the break, former World Pursuit Champion and Swiss Time Trial Champion Stefan Küng.

Elite Road World Championships
Stefan Küng. Photo©Martin Williamson

In fourth spot was Trentin’s Italia team mate, Gianni Moscon who was in the Küng break but cracked.

Elite Road World Championships
Gianni Moscon leads the break on the 7th lap. Photo©Martin Williamson

But the man who cracked in most spectacular style was the man who many felt was world champion in waiting with a lap to go – even the Belgians in the bar I had to take shelter in – Mathieu Van Der Poel.

The young talent reckoned he’d eaten enough but hadn’t bargained on the cold which ate into everyone as they hammered around the sodden streets of Harrogate.

Elite Road World Championships
The break on lap seven of nine. Photo©Martin Williamson

It’s arguable that it was VDP who won the medals for Messrs. Pedersen, Trentin and Küng with his power house spells dragging them clear, out of the clutches of the Belgian and French teams.

I can’t actually remember the last time the Worlds was won with a move which went clear before the last lap.

But on this day it was a ‘Paris-Roubaix-esque’ situation where the chasers are just as damn wasted as those in the break.

Mads Pederson
Mathieu Van Der Poel drives the break. Photo©Martin Williamson

Fifth place went to the irrepressible Peter Sagan who, by his own admission got it wrong, thinking the race would come together on the last lap for a sprint; like it usually does – but not today.

His late chase to bridge to the banditos up front came, well, just too late.

Mads Pederson
Peter Sagan tried in vain to get across to the break. Photo©Martin Williamson

It was another Dane who took sixth, Michael Valgren – reminding us of his talent and the strength of the men in red and white.

Wet and cold, from start to finish today. Photo©Martin Williamson

We reckoned before the race that ‘an old warhorse’ like Degenkolb or Kristoff may well flourish on such a long, tough parcours – never mind the horror weather endured on the day.

Kristoff took seventh and the German 15th.

Mads Pederson
Alexander Kristoff. Photo©Martin Williamson

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Leeds, 07:30 am and the best bike riders on the planet are here among the old sandstone Victorians and ultra-modern glass buildings under a sky just waiting to deliver.

One of two impressive carved and gilded clocks by Potts & Sons projecting on brackets from each side of the Civic Hall. Photo©Martin Williamson
Mads Pederson
John Degenkolb shares a joke with (trade) teammate, Frenchman Julien Bernard. Photo©Martin Williamson