ANALYZE.  How the French national team offered the title of world champion to the Belgian Remco Evenepoel

ANALYZE. How the French national team offered the title of world champion to the Belgian Remco Evenepoel

Without Christophe Laporte’s podium finish in Wollongong, Australia, the French-led World Cup might have looked like a flop. The second place of the runner Jumbo-Visma, behind an untouchable Remco Evenepoel, it must be said, will save the balance of a race where the Blues alternated the good in the beginning of the race, with the less good in the last part. of the exam.

A flag that releases the Belgian…

On the ascent to Mount Keira, difficulty put on the road to the Wollongong street circuit, Pavel Sivakov, then Bruno Armirail and Romain Bardet blew up the peloton. There are 230 kilometers left and the group splits in two, with 25 riders ahead of a second group or several trapped favourites. A time relegated to two minutes, this group eventually returns and the peloton then time out.

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However, the group of beaten had beautiful people, like Remco Evenepoel. But Julian Alaphilippe and Benoît Cosnefroy were also present. The French didn’t have to work to get in, but they put the Belgian back in the game when Tadej Pogacar and Wout van Aert were on the right wagon.

…another that puts it in the right group

After a delay, the first decisive offensive came 75 kilometers from the finish, during a new ascent of Mount Pleasant on the Wollongong street circuit. Quentin Pacher speeds up on the French side, taking out several cyclists in his wake (video below). He highlights a good group with two other French: Romain Bardet and Florian Sénéchal. Remco Evenepoel is present with two companions, on his side.

Although neither Julian Alaphilippe nor Valentin Madouas nor Benoît Cosnefroy are present, the gap quickly increases to around two minutes, partly under the impetus … of the French. Florian Sénéchal sets the pace. A dangerous choice when Evenepoel is in great form in this last part of the season. What’s more, the Habs stop circulating a few kilometers later, but the damage is already done.

a reaction too late

Behind, Florian Sénéchal, trapped, sets the pace for the peloton. And during the ascent of Mount Pleasant that follows, Tadej Pogacar tries to attack, but is timid. It is the acceleration of Valentin Madouas, more abrupt, that allows him to take almost a minute off the group, which in the meantime has returned to the morning break. But from behind, the platoon timed again and no one came to relieve the French. Evenepoel’s team can then make up time, and the Belgians put up a flag that only Alexey Lutsenko manages to follow in the last kilometer before starting the penultimate lap.

Always high and on the lookout for Remco Evenepoel’s attacks, Romain Bardet is late this time. The Auvergnat reacts at the wrong moment, but it is already too late for the French. The Belgian left and after dropping Lutsenko 25 kilometers from the goal, he was able to savor his first professional title, four years after that of the juniors.

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