Yorkshire’s reputation enhanced by UCI Road World Championships showcase

Annemiek Van Vleuten wins the elite women road race.Annemiek Van Vleuten wins the elite women road race.
Annemiek Van Vleuten wins the elite women road race.
YORKSHIRE’S REPUTATION as a hotbed of competitive cycling has been enhanced by a successful UCI Road World Championships.

The Tour de France may have a higher profile among the general public, but for bike enthusiasts the Worlds is the pinnacle and the eight days’ racing in Yorkshire produced a host of memorable moments.

It was a bumpy road at times, or more accurately a flooded one, as the autumn weather had a major bearing, but that – and a series of challenging courses – led to some thrilling, unpredictable racing in front of big and enthusiastic crowds.

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Every race finished in Harrogate, but Leeds, Bradford, Doncaster, Ripon, Northallerton and Richmond hosted starts and the county was displayed to a global audience.

Tom Pidcock celebrates his bronze medal in the Under-23s men's road race.Tom Pidcock celebrates his bronze medal in the Under-23s men's road race.
Tom Pidcock celebrates his bronze medal in the Under-23s men's road race.

The week’s most outstanding performance came in the competition many local fans were most looking forward to, the women’s elite road race.

Otley’s Lizzie Deignan was aiming to become world champion for the second time, just a year after the birth of her daughter Orla.

Though she rode a bold race, Deignan and the rest of the field came up against one of the greatest performances in the championships’ history, when Dutch ace Annemiek van Vleuten attacked 104 kilometres from the finish and powered to a stunning solo victory.

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Fourth place went to American Chloe Dygert, better known as a track rider, who announced her arrival as a star of the road with a brilliant display in the elite time trial, averaging 43.8 kilometres per hour over the 30km course.

Lizzie Deignan.Lizzie Deignan.
Lizzie Deignan.

That was as fast as the men’s under-23 time trial winner Antonio Tiberi.

The United States had a good championships, topping the medal table with three golds, one silver and two bronze.

The Netherlands were second (two gold, four silver, two bronze) and Italy third (two gold, two silver, one bronze).

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Great Britain’s three bronze medals gave them 10th place on the table and tripled their tally from Innsbruck last year.

Based on all performances across the 11 races, Great Britain were ranked fifth, behind Netherland, Italy, USA and Denmark.

Two of Britain’s medals were won by Yorkshire riders.

Harry Tansfield, from West Ayton, was part of the squad which finished third in the inaugural team time trial mixed relay, opening the championships.

Leeds-born Tom Pidcock was at the centre of the biggest controversy, after being fourth rider across the line in the men’s under-23 road race.

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He was promoted to third after Nils Eekhoff, who had won the sprint, was disqualified for riding in the slipstream of a team car earlier in the race.

Pidcock, 20, rode with a badly gashed knee and had been in training just two weeks following a huge crash at August’s Tour de l’avenir. He is set for a huge future and Leeds-born – and sometimes based – Alfie George, seventh in the men’s junior race, is also someone to watch out for.

The other home medalist was Elynor Backstedt in the women’s junior time trial.

The full list of medalists was: team time trial mixed relay - 1 Netherlands, 2 Germany, 3 Great Britain; women’s junior time trial - 1 Aigul Gareeva (Russia), 2 Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands), 3 Elynor Backstedt (GB); men’s junior time trial - 1 Antonio Tiberi (Italy), 2 Enzo Leijnse (Netherlands), 3 Marco Brenner (Germany); men’s under-23 time trial - 1 Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark), 2 Ian Garrison (USA), 3 Brandon McNulty (USA); women’s elite time trial - 1 Chloe Dygert (USA), 2 - Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands), 3 Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands); men’s elite time trial - 1 Rohan Dennis (Australia), 2 Remco Evenepoel (Belgium), 3 Filippo Ganna (Italy); women’s junior race - 1 Megan Jastrab (USA), 2 Julie de Wilde (Belgium), 3 Lieke Nooijen (Netherlands); junior men’s race - 1 Quinn Simmons (USA), 2 - Alessio Martinelli (Italy), 3 - Magnus Sheffield (USA); men’s under-23 race - 1 Samuel Battistella (Italy), 2 Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland), 3 Tom Pidcock (GB); women’s elite race - 1 Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands), 2 Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands), 3 Amanda Spratt (Australia); men’s elite race - 1 Mads Pedersen (Denmark), 2 Matteo Trentin (Italy), 3 Stefan Kung (Switzerland).