photo credits @ UEC
Christophe Laporte (France) claimed an impressive victory in today’s European Championships Elite Men’s Road Race, fending-off Wout van Aert (Belgium) in the closing meters to seize the title.
The Frenchman launched a daring solo attack with 12 kilometers remaining before holding off a late surge from Jumbo-Visma teammate Van Aert, who finished less than a bike length behind on the climb to the line.
Meanwhile, Olav Kooij(Netherlands) finished third, completing a Jumbo-Visma clean sweep of the podium, a common theme for the team of late having achieved the same feat at the Vuelta a España.
“It’s still hard to believe,” Laporte reflected after the race. “It was a crazy finale. I felt good and I thought if I go to the sprint with people like Wout it will be difficult, so I tried and it worked.
“It was more by heart [the decision to attack]. It is hard to predict a race like this and I didn’t think so much, I just tried.”
On a day that Jumbo-Visma riders once again dominated, Laporte partly dedicated the title to another of his teammates, Nathan Van Hooydonck, who was recently forced to retire due to heart problems.
“I’d like to give the victory to the French team and to my family. Also to Nathan, I think he would be happy to see me in this jersey, I’m very happy.”
The 199 kilometer course saw the riders tackle a mostly flat course that was punctuated by six laps of the Col du VAM circuit, wherein a group of five riders managed to escape the peloton early-on.
From there, the escapees went on to build-up an advantage of around two minutes, with Joshua Tarling (Great Britain) and Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland) featuring prominently in the group, before they were reeled in as the group entered the final lap of the finishing circuit.
Italy led the field onto the Col du VAM during the last lap, with Filippo Ganna accelerating over the top, forcing splits in the field that forced Van Aert to react.
Mike Teunissen (Netherlands) counter-attacked with Ben Turner (Great Britain) on his wheel, prompting Laporte to commence his winning move.
At first, La Porte was alone out front, before being joined by Dujardin, De Lie, Van Aert, Pedersen, Kron, Kooij, Teunissen, John Degenkolb and Tiller.
But, La Porte’s long-range move proved decisive, enough to hold-off his rivals at the line to claim the day’s honors.
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