Mathieu van der Poel followed in the footsteps of dad Adri with a World Championship win today in Florence. The 18-year-old Dutchman bridged on the circuits main climb, attacked on the steepest one and rode solo to the junior road title.
“It was not a prepared attack,” said van der Poel, “but I felt it was the right moment on the long climb.”
Van Der Poel had time to zip up his orange jersey and grab a Dutch flag from a fan to celebrate his win. It closed six climbing circuits around the north of Florence and a run from Montecatini Terme to start the day, totalling 140.05 kilometres. A group sprinted in just three seconds after him, Mads Pedersen (Denmark) won the sprint for the silver medal and Iltjan Nika (Albania) took bronze.
Adri van der Poel raced and won classics like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Flanders, and two Tour de France stages.
Great Britain’s Scott Davies took seventh. “It was a great result; a top ten in the worlds is always good to have,” head coach, Matt Winston told Cycling Weekly. “He paid somewhat after his work earlier for Tao Geoghegan Hart, who snapped his chain on the steep climb.”
“It would have been nice to get on the podium but I can’t complain to be honest,” Davies told Cycling Weekly.
“Coming into the last lap I was starting to cramp up and van der Poel and Pedersen hit it up that climb. I was gapped a bit but fortunately, there were a few behind and we caught up on the descent. We got gapped again on the steep climb and did the same again, chased back on, just jumped from rider to rider and it worked out all right in the end.”
Van Der Poel shot free in pursuit of Frenchman Franck Bonnamour on the climb to Fiesole. He descended, bridged and went free on Via Salviati, with 16% grades and at 5.02 kilometres to race.
“My dad said it would be a tough race. Normally, I’d go earlier but the race was 140 kilometres, a long distance for juniors,” van der Poel added. “He gives a lot of advice but in the end, it’s me that has to push the pedals.”
The rainbow jersey he earned today adds to two others in cyclo-cross. His dad won the elite ‘cross title in 1996.
UCI Road World Championships 2013: Junior men’s road race
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) in 3-33-14
2. Mads Pedersen (Denmark) at 3 secs
3. Iltjan Nika (Albania)
4. Logan Owen (USA)
5. Lorenzo Rota (Italy)
6. Lucas Eriksson (Sweden)
7. Scott Davies (Great Britain)
8. Artem Nych (Russia)
9. Sergey Shemyakin (Kazakhstan)
10. Benjamin Brkic (Austria) all same time
Van der Poel goes clear
Mathieu Van der Poel wins the junior men’s road race
Pedersen, Van der Poel and Nika on podium
Road World Championships 2013: Coverage index