French cyclist Gilles Alafilip triumphed in Imola on Sunday in the group’s World Highway Cycling Championships in a group ride, while the best of the three Latvians was Toms Skujins, who won the 29th position.
On Sunday, cyclists had to cover a 258.2-kilometer-long, high-rise and heavy distance to the finish line at the Imola Autodrome.
A large part of the distance was led by a large group of seven cyclists, whose dominance over the peleton at one point reached seven minutes. True, there were no contenders for the title, and about 70 kilometers before the finish, the last refugees were caught.
Next, the French demonstrated active performance at the forefront of the leader group. Alafilips drove to the decisive peak at the peak of the last ascent about 12 kilometers before the finish.
The Deceuninck – Quick Step cyclist celebrated the victory at the solo finish, finishing the distance in six hours 38 minutes and 34 seconds. After the finish, Alafilips burst into tears.
24 seconds later, five cyclists finished, winning silver for Belgian Vout van Erts and bronze for Swiss Mark Hirsch.
Alafilips is the first Frenchman since 1997 to win the World Championship group race. 23 years ago it was possible for Loren Brochure.
“I have dreamed of my whole career for this moment,” said Alafilip, 28. “I have been close to it so many times, but I have never climbed the podium. I came here with great ambition. This is a day of dreams for me. I want to thank everyone who supports me and follows my performance. The French team was very strong today.”
Alafilips has won previous tours in Great Britain and California, as well as in one day in Milan-Sanremo, Wallonia, San Sebastian and Siena. Last year, he won the Tour de France in the mountain king’s competition.
Herringbone lost three minutes and 34 seconds to the champion, giving him 29th place and 20 UCI points. Four places below were this year’s Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar from Slovenia.
Krists Neilands was 16 minutes and 20 seconds behind Alafilips, taking the 58th place and reaching three UCI points, while the Latvian champion Viesturs Lukševics did not finish in the group race.
Initially, the World Cycling Championships were to take place in the Swiss mountain town of Eagle, which is also home to the International Cycling Union (UCI). In August, however, the Swiss government decided to tighten restrictions to combat the rapid spread of Covid – 19. The decisions made made it impossible for the World Cup to take place in Switzerland.
Operationally, the UCI worked on the transfer of the championship to another country. The important competition was moved to the Italian city of Imola, near Bologna. The competition took place this week from Thursday to Sunday. This year, the titles of the champion were determined only in the elite group, but previously junior and U-23 group athletes also competed in the world championship.
Latvia was represented at the World Championship by five athletes.
Last year, Skujiņš won the 21st place, which is the highest in Latvia since 2000, when Roman Vainstein triumphed.
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