WOLLONGONG: Remco Evenepoel concluded a magnificent season with a solo breakaway to win the world road race title on Sunday, adding the rainbow jersey to his triumphs in the Vuelta a Espana and the LiegeBastogneLiege monument classic.
Two weeks after giving Belgium its first Grand Tour champion in 44 years at the Vuelta, the 22-year-old rider gave his country its first world road race champion in a decade since Philippe Gilbert won in Valkenburg.
Evenepoel rode the last 25km of the 266.9km race on his own, crossing the line with his fists pumping at the beach in the centre of the Australian coastal city of Wollongong in six hours, 16 minutes and eight seconds.
“It’s something I’ve been dreaming of and now after a monument, a big classic, a Grand Tour and now world champion, I think I’ve won everything I could this year,” Evenepoel said. “I don’t think I will ever have a better season than this. I’m not going to see my bed tonight.”
Christophe Laporte of France won a sprint for second place two minutes, 21 seconds behind Evenepoel, while Australian Michael Matthews took the bronze medal in third place ahead of Belgium pre-race favourite Wout van Aert.
Another favourite, Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel, abandoned the race early after he was charged with common assault late Saturday following an alleged altercation with two teenage girls.
French two-time defending champion Julian Alaphilippe, who had a chaotic build-up, missing much of the year with injuries, was 51st while Slovenian two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar came 19th.
The event brought down the curtain on a nine-day championships which included junior, under-23s and senior races for both men and women, as well as a mixed-team event.
Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2022