Peloton with Kooij comes just too late: Fedorov new world champion at World Cup for promises

Peloton with Kooij comes just too late: Fedorov new world champion at World Cup for promises
Peloton with Kooij comes just too late: Fedorov new world champion at World Cup for promises

Yevgeniy Fedorov has crowned himself world champion among the promises men. After an interesting final on the difficult course around Wollongong, he was the strongest in a sprint-á-deux against Mathias Vacek. The peloton – including a very strong Olav Kooij – came a few meters too late. The Dutchman eventually finished fifth.

Slippery: that was it in Wollongong, where the rain came pouring down. The juniors were already acquainted with this well into the Dutch night, as the Dutch and Belgian shadow favorites Max van der Meulen and Duarte Marivoet dropped out together with world champion time trial Joshua Tarling. In the end, the German Emil Herzog won, but you can read that report here.

In the U23 race it wasn’t much better in the first few hours: you could clearly see that it was getting used to the wide, wet Australian roads for the majority of the peloton. Early in the race, Leo Hayter, among others, was introduced to the asphalt, but it was mainly the Danes who added it remarkably often: shadow favorite Jacob Hindsgaul immediately disappeared from the game, while Carl Frederik Bévort and Adam Holm Jorgensen also fell to the ground. By the way, the Netherlands had to deal with a big blow before the start with shadow favorite Mick van Dijke not starting. De Zeeuw tested positive for corona, so TeamNL started with only four people.

Strong leading group takes the lead

All those falls created some chaos, which benefited five men. Fabio Van Den Bossche (Belgium), Fabian Weiss (Switzerland), Petr Kelemen (Czech Republic), Mathis Le Berre (France) and Hannisch Wilksch (Germany) took the trail, with Fran Miholjevic from Croatia following in their footsteps. Six of them got ahead, with both large countries (France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland) and shadow favorites (especially Van Den Bossche and Miholjevic).

Nevertheless, this sixsome got a three-minute pre-gift on the soggy course, after which the Netherlands just got going. Axel van der Tuuk was the right man to reduce the lead of the men in the front. He received some support from the British, but mainly had to fix it himself. As a result, the lead of the six continued to fluctuate around three minutes.

At 75 kilometers from the finish, the Germans (despite the presence of Wilksch in the leading group) and Italians became a bit restless, so that the lead suddenly decreased somewhat. However, the nervousness increased somewhat, which was the basis of a new series of crashes: French favorite Eddy Le Houtize, among others, was introduced to the Australian asphalt in a hard way.

Wave of attacks brings back early flight

In the next phase we saw several counter-attacks, including Casper van Uden in the firing line. Shadow favorites such as Samuel Watson (Great Britain) and Mathias Vacek (Czech Republic) also showed up. It had no real direct influence, but indirectly this was the reason that the front runners with about 45 kilometers to go were already being chased by the large group. That caused some separation, as Van Den Bossche, Wilksch and Le Berre drove away from the rest.

While Tim van Dijke had a material breakdown just before the offensive and with Romain Grégoire as the favorite on behalf of France, it was Van Den Bossche, Wilksch and Le Berre who took a nice gap. To neutralize things, a chasing group of ten riders arose, including Jumbo talent Michel Heßmann. He had a teammate in the front with Wilksch, but nevertheless did not hesitate to make many head turns with the pursuers.

Despite the fighters’ work, the wide road around Wollongong fell silent again, just like the entire game. The thinned out peloton became one group again, half a minute behind the three leaders. When Mount Pleasant was approaching again 16 miles from the line, all scenarios were open. Who seized the penultimate climb to attack? It was Le Berre who was the only one to stay ahead on the climb, as the peloton thinned further and further. A group of about thirty riders remained after the top, with five (!) Belgians and one Dutchman with Olav Kooij.

Vacek and Fedorov keep Kooij away in the final

At the start of the last lap – and thus still seventeen kilometers before the wheels – a new leading group emerged, including the Belgian Alec Segaert, the strong Le Berre, Mathias Vacek and Yevgeniy Fedorov. A strong group, with a Belgian and Frenchman on board. It was therefore not up to them, but up to Germany to keep the gap small with two males. The four leaders held a nice lead for a long time, and even saw the elastic break with the Germans a bit when there were still twelve kilometers to ride. Twenty seconds, was it enough to stay ahead?

It all depended on the last Mount Pleasant. On the first bit of climbing it was Le Berre who released at the front, which was bad news for the leaders. France now had no man ahead of them and so they could play out the surplus. However, it was Alexandre Balmer on behalf of Switzerland who was the first to try. At the front, the second steep climb left Vacek and Fedorov, two top talents from the WorldTour. Vacek already won a stage in the UAE Tour this season, Fedorov still drove the Vuelta in preparation.

One more climb for the two in front, with France trying something in the peloton. Bastien Tronchon pulled everything together and for a moment the connection seemed to be made. However, when the Frenchman kept his legs still, the course was decided. The fear of fast men like Kooij was too great, so that Vacek and Fedorov kept a decisive gap towards the finish. Who was the fastest of the duo in the difficult finish? The answer was obviously Fedorov. The Kazakh started from the front in the ascending last straight and drove the tired Vacek out of the wheel. The peloton eventually finished in just three seconds, with Norwegian Søren Wærenskjold taking bronze.

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