UCI Road World Championships | Cycling World Championship

Just like every year, The Union CyclisteInternationale (UCI) organizes road world championships for bicycle racing however this year it covered 2 main events, one of them was the road race and the other one was an individual time trial. There was no under-23 and team time trial this time due to the pandemic.

This 2020 UCI Road World Championship was the 93rd edition of road bicycle racing. The event was initially scheduled in Switzerland but due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, it was canceled and the event was shifted to Imola, Italy starting from 24th till 27th September. A total number of 19 teams were classified from the 1st division to compete in the UCI world tour.  The winner of these races gets to wear a rainbow jersey for a year.

The total distance for men’s race was 161 miles however for women’s race it was shortened to 89 miles. Moreover, the time trial was kept 20 miles for both male and female athletes. The UCI Championships program started on 24th September and each specific day was given to an event.

  • Day 1: Women’s Time Trial Race
  • Day 2: Men’s Time Trial Race
  • Day 3: Women’s Road Race
  • Day 4: Men’s Road Race

Women’s Time Trial Race

The championship began on the 24th of September in the city of Imola, Italy with the women’s time trial race. A total number of 51 athletes were present to start the race. ChloéDygert. A 10th-time world champion from the United States of America came into the UCI Road championship as a favorite. She was the defending champion as well however things didn’t go exactly as planned for her when she stumbled upon a barrier and crashed.

This resulted in favor of the Dutch athlete Anna van der Breggen, the runner-up of last year that won the title and captured the gold medal with a total time of 40 minutes 20 seconds. This turned out to be her second gold medal after she won the previous one at the road race in 2018 Austria.

The second-place i.e. silver medal was given to MarlenReusser of Switzerland covering a time of 40 minutes 25 seconds and Ellen Van Djik of the Netherlands came in third capturing the bronze medal with a time of 41 minutes 6 seconds.

The American cyclist ChloéDygert recorded the fastest time at the midway time point however she failed to complete the race after crashing down.

Men’s Time Trial Race

The men’s time trial race took place on the second day that was the 25th of September in which 57 bicycle racers from 38 participating nations were present. The professional Australian cyclist Rohan Dennis was the last year’s gold medalist that was held in England.

This year the host country’s very own Filippo Ganna secured the gold medal covering 161 miles in an astonishing time of 35 minutes 54 seconds. This proved to be the very first gold medal for Italy on these road races. The Belgium Wout Van Aert who was 26 seconds behind the winner won the silver medal and the Swiss Stefan Küng bagged bronze being 29 seconds behind.

It was a huge surprise to everyone that the defending champion didn’t even manage to get in the top 3. The Australian Rohan Dennis was going very well however he lost his pace and time in the second section managing to grab fifth place with 36 minutes and 26 seconds.

Women’s Road Race

The 26th of September was the third day of the event and it was in full swing as the women’s road race began. There were 143 motivated cyclists present at the race to complete the 89 miles race. Annemiek van Vleuten was the defending champion of the women’s road race. Since Chloe Dygert withdrew from the race after crashing in the trial time race, all hopes were on the two Dutch internationals Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten however it was the winner of the elite time trial race that showed her class and went on to win the women’s road race as well covering a spectacular 89 miles in 4 hours 9 minutes and 57 seconds.

It was Van der Breggen’s second gold medal in the space of just three days bringing her tally of gold medals to three. It was also the fourth world title for the Netherlands. Her Dutch companion Van Vleuten also managed to secure a silver medal with a minute and 2 seconds time difference meanwhile the host nation’s Elisa Longo Borghini secured the bronze medal. It was total domination from the Dutch athletes as they managed to assure three places out of the top four.

Men’s Road Race

After three days of elite cycle racing, it was time for the men’s road race to take place. The race had a total of 9 laps with 2 climbing setups to see who had the skillset to be the champion. The numbers of cyclists present in the race were 177 and there were a total of 39 participating nations.

The defending champion Mads Pederson of Denmark wasn’t participating so a new champion was pivotal. It was an up and down race throughout however the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe stamped to the top and managed to secure the gold medal and rainbow jersey.

Since 1997, this was the first time a Frenchman has won a Road World Championship. Julian Alaphilippe completed a prolonged 161 miles in a staggering time of 6 hours, 38 minutes, and 34 seconds. The second and third place battle was intensely close as Wout Van Aert of Belgium just squeezed through the Swiss International Mark Hirschi and managed to secure silver for his country.

Interestingly, the time taken to complete the race for both Van Aert and Marc Hirschi was 6 hours, 38 minutes, and 58 seconds. The racetrack was overall a lingering course and only 88 out of 177 managed to complete the full distance.

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