Alejandro Valverde wins the Rainbow jersey at the World Championships
Sep 30 2018 10:46 pm CET

Alejandro Valverde wins the Rainbow jersey at the World Championships
Alejandro Valverde wins the Rainbow jersey at the World Championships
Photo of Alejandro Valverde

Alejandro Valverde (Spain) has taken the victory at the road race of the World Championships of Innsbruck. The Spaniard beat Romain Bardet and Michael Woods at the final sprint.

The men's road race was 258.5 kilometres long between Kufstein and Innsbruck. The race started with the escape of a group of eleven riders that included names like Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Tobias Ludvigsson, Vegard Stake Laengen and Ryan Mullen, among others. These riders got an advantage of more than 14 minutes over the peloton.

As the climbs passed, the front group grew slimmer until only Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) and Laengen (Norway) remained. With 24 kilometres to go, Italy was setting the pace and then Steven Kruijswijk (The Netherlands) attacked and was followed by Ben Hermans (Belgium). Soon the peloton got together again.

A couple of kilometres later, the pace set at the front proved to be too high for Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) who was seen struggling behind. At 22 kilometres to go, the two remaining men in front were caught and The Netherlands' Sam Oomen took the head of the peloton to set the rhythm.

Moments later, Great Britain's Peter Kennaugh launched a strong attack and built a gap with the others. Soon he was joined by Michael Valgren (Denmark), who soon took the lead and left the British rider behind.

A group of chasers was formed behind the Dane and included riders like Thibaut Pinot (France), Rui Costa (Portugal), Gianni Moscon (Italy) and Kennaugh. During the rest of the penultimate descent, the peloton caught the chasers while Valgren kept riding at the front.

At the start of the last climb of the day, France took the lead of the pack and was followed by riders like Alejandro Valverde (Spain) and Michael Woods (Canada). With nine kilometres remaining, the chasers caught Valgren and soon dropped him while Woods took the lead of the group and had the company of Valverde, Romain Bardet (France) and Gianni Moscon (Italy), followed by Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands).

After the steepest part of the climb, Bardet attacked but Valverde and Woods remained at his wheel, while Dumoulin and Moscon went on to chase them. With 1.6 kilometres to go, Dumoulin caught the leading trio and the four of them arrived together to the last kilometre.

The four men had eyes on each other at the final metres and Valverde was the first to start sprinting. Even though he was leading the others, none of them was strong enough to beat the Spaniard.

Bardet was second, Woods was third, Dumoulin crossed the line in the fourth position and Moscon in the fifth.

The 38-year-old had already finished second at the World Championships road race twice and occupied the third step of the podium four times.




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