The Moment The Worlds Were Won

Mathieu van der Poel launches uphill and passes Alberto Bettiol. Wout van Aert, Mads Pedersen and Tadej Pogačar chase but before the top of the climb Van Aert can’t close the gap and sits down as Van der Poel powers away. This was the moment the race was won.

The race started in Edinburgh and rode out to the Firth of Forth. This early phase in the Worlds often sees lesser-known riders put themselves in the shop window but this move looked a more traditional early breakaway in a World Tour classic, among them Matthew Dinham, an Australian from DSM who’d just finished the Tour de France and little did we know but he was on his way to seventh place. The exotic touch came from riders trying to bridge across, like the Vatican’s Rien Schuurhuis or Hasani Hennis, Anguilla’s answer to Geoffroy Soupe. Still it helped flush out the teams with ambitions and we saw the Belgian, British, French and Slovenian teams chasing.

The break had no menace leaving viewers to watch the supply of tourist sites fed into the TV productio, or compare some of the national kits, many of which look like they were last designed in 2003. The biggest drama saw protestors blocking the road to pressure the Scottish government not to issue oil and gas exploration licences. Whether halting a bike race achieves anything remains to be seen but it did reveal a few social media accounts showing their green credentials by recycling a video from Germany last year and passing it off as live from the Carron reservoir. Similarly rider union boss Adam Hansen showed a tendency to pick fights in the name of defending the riders but found himself spending the evening having to explain himself several times over and as he ventures into sports politics, one slogan to remember is that “if you’re explaining, you’re losing”. It took the best part of an hour to unglue and unchain the protestors and yet it didn’t seem to affect the sporting outcome a jot although while plenty stopped to urinate by the road, Van der Poel doubled back through the convoy to visit a local house for their facilities.

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The Crow Road climb flew past and amid the highland scenery several World Tour level riders were being dropped, a sign the pace was up. We were trainspotting in Glasgow as the big teams competed to be at the front the idea being that if you were beyond 20-30th place then you’d be stuck.

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The circuit saw the Danes on the rampage. It was the first lap and the TV graphics said there were 140km to go, not 40km or 4km when Michael Mørkøv hit the front with Mads Pedersen on his wheel. But you could see exactly why they were doing this as the field was strung out. Julian Alaphilippe attacked and had Søren Kragh Andersen for company. As just seconds later as if to stress the value of being at the front several riders had to put a foot down on a climb after a tangle including the two Dutch riders Pascal Eenkhoorn and Dan Hoole and it was game over. Was this going to ruin Mathieu van der Poel’s chances? With hindsight of course not but he’s coped fine with a weak Alpecin team in other races too. Alaphilippe’s attack hadn’t burned himself up but it was clearly a softening move on behalf of the French team only their plans came unstuck when Christophe Laporte punctured. Again and again the sporting Glasgow effect was in action, a banal event like a puncture was disastrous and to lose 20 seconds ruinous even if there was three hours left, gaps that could be coasted across elsewhere were a chasm on this course. This urban alleycat circuit with the allure of a course around multi-storey garage wrecked our reference points and time frames.

With 120km to go Alberto Bettiol surged up the Scott Street “wall” with Mads Pedersen on his wheel and behind them, a fluo green Slovenian jersey that could only be Tadej Pogačar. Wout van Aert led the charge across marked by Matteo Trentin and going through the pit lane you could count 21 riders were away, the last of whom was Mathieu van der Poel; the big absentee was Remco Evenepoel but he’d bridge across soon after. It was hard to tell who was where, at times TV viewers were like riders without their race radios. No sooner could a moto camera line up a shot of the group they had to move away for the next corner, all while the helicopter shots were at altitude to ensure they were clear of the Glaswegian skyline.

Mathieu van der Poel made his first move on Scott Street with 92km to go but his long look back over the top suggested it was about surveying the damage rather than making the break. More moves went, Pedersen was active again. Among them with 74km, Van der Poel again and this time Van Aert on his wheel and then Pedersen, Bettiol and Pogačar… and Dinham and with this a glimpse of the strongest riders in the race. Pedersen again launched solo but it all came back. Evenepoel began to attack but it was never incisive, was he on an off-day or playing team mate with these softening moves?

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Bettiol went clear with 55km as the rain began to fall harder but only places, some of the parts of the course were deluged while others were sunshine, more of the Glasgow effect. Once he’d got ten seconds his was away and built this up into 30 seconds. Tiesj Benoot led the chase while Van der Poel sat at the back and got caught out by a split, his frugal style risky but he spotted the danger and got across.

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As they descended the ramp down to George Square, Benoot led with Van Aert, Pedersen, Pogačar and Van der Poel behind, then Jhonathan Narvaez (pictured moments before on the left above, the same order). This would prove a crucial moment as Narvaez slid out on the wet corner forcing Jasper Stuyven to clip a foot out the pedals and Stefan Küng behind him to brake and suddenly there was a gap with five riders away and then down to four once Benoot had done some final work.

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From here on the final 40km became more predictable. A past Ronde Van Vlaanderen winner Bettiol was out alone and tiring while being chased by the top four from this year’s Ronde in Van Aert, Pedersen, Pogačar and Van der Poel. Who was going to win? For all of them second place would be little comfort.

With 22km to go Bettiol was in sight on a back section of the course. Here Van der Poel attacked and Van Aert chased, both of them them stomping on the pedals but suddenly the Belgian had to sit down, an act of surrender. Van der Poel was now clear. Van Aert, Pedersen and Pogačar were chasing but it did seem more like a collection of individual efforts, each doing a turn but hoping someone else would pull harder.

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Van der Poel was well clear and away only to slide out on a corner in a moment that must have given Dutch fans cardiac chaos. Luckily for him and them it was more of a slide than a slam and with clothing lacerated and a shoe damaged he was up and away. It could have been so much worse if he’d damaged his bike and needed a spare. As it was even a crash couldn’t stop him and again just a few second’s lead was enough, all while the chasers behind didn’t know he’d crashed either as this might have given them more motivation. But with a lap to go the Dutchman had 30 seconds and the trio where left with the awful problem, none of them wanted to finish second but they really didn’t want to be fourth. As Van der Poel celebrated, Van Aert was away to take second place leaving a sprint for the final podium spot between Pedersen and Pogačar and the Slovenian taking it, an upset on paper but given the Dane’s action throughout the race and the effect of all the hills, no surprise.

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The Verdict
The worlds is a totemic event. Sometimes you can have a good race but with a surprise winner, or a bad race but at least a satisfying victor who’ll make a worthy wearer of the rainbow bands. Glasgow delivered everything, a thriller and satisfying outcome. Even if the breakaway was toiling the ride over from Edinburgh was like the longest neutral zone ever. There were attacks throughout the Glasgow circuit and even when Van der Poel looked to have made the decisive break he slid out on a corner to ratchet the tension back up. He was clearly the strongest and picked his moment to attack but was able to line up this moment through some crafty racing before, he was often discreet in the streets of Glasgow compared to his rivals.

There’s a lot to be said for urban racing for a sport so used to the countryside. For all the criticism of the course with its corners it didn’t prove too dangerous, even in the deluge although Narvaez’s crash was tactically crucial in creating the split for the lead four. Above all it was just monstrously tiring, a tarmac mountain bike course that kept the peloton in single track.

The race got the Hollywood outcome, the big names on the bill in the star roles on the last laps, even crossing the line in the predicted order. Bettiol never seemed a threat so there was no underdog contender as the surprise. The TV production was one of the negatives but as said already it was a hard course to film, but this wasn’t helped by bugs with the on-screen time gaps and distance graphics.

For Van der Poel what a difference a year makes, last Worlds he’d spent the night with the police. He doesn’t have any plans to race on the road, the next goal is a good qualification for the Paris Olympics mountain bike on Saturday. Come 2024 he’ll be even more suited to the road race, a chance to reunite the rainbow bands and circles, like Paolo Bettini in 2004. In the short term he’s likely to find himself obliged to do a road race, if only so his sponsors can get the rainbow photo opportunity they crave, perhaps the Benelux Tour, aka Renewi Tour.

Van Aert is the runner-up again, there’s a story of patience and appliance here if he can finally land a one-day win to top the likes of Sanremo and the E3 but as consistent as he proves, Van der Poel keeps bettering and battering him. Pogačar’s third place adds some colour to the podium and not just the lime green of Slovenia, a Tour de France star who gets credit for racing.

106 thoughts on “The Moment The Worlds Were Won”

  1. The moment the race was perhaps saved was when MVDP got his foot out of the cleats and onto the ground as he lost traction on the corner. He was quick as lightning and may have saved himself from a more severe fall.
    Very respectable ride by Dinham in a race that was fairly epic.

    • Yes I completely agree. The CX star had his foot down on the ground so fast! I repeated the highlight multiple times it was so incredible watch. Insane instincts he has from a lifetime of racing cross.

  2. Mads P. mentioned post-race that he couldn´t quite trust his tires once the rain started. Mattias Skjelmose – who by that time was no longer in contention – stopped twice to lower the tire pressure.

    Mind you, it was a choice the team made in concert with the riders – and it could well have paid off, had the race not been neutralised etc…but that, too, is racing.

    PS I rank both the course and the race in Leuven higher, but Glasgow was not as bad as I´d feared 🙂

    • More precisely, he is quoted saying he didn’t trust his tires enough, not that he couldn’t. It might be semantics but it is a vital difference; he deliberately chose not to push the envelope.

  3. Thank you for round up.

    Enjoyed yesterday. Always love seeing best rider win which isn’t always the case in Worlds (although has been recently). Feel genuinely privileged every time I get to see Pog, WVA, MVDP racing.

    Also have no issue with course, seemed like a great race and confused with those who had issues. Far better than Richmond or the Spanish one that Kwito won? Or the one that Valverde won for that matter – I enjoyed the winners of those races but felt like I was watching paint dry until the final lap of all.

    Admittedly hard to say if it was the course or riders who made things happen from so far out this year though…

    Also loving all World Champs in same place and weeks.

    Also loving the Worlds after Tour. Much better place. They should move all races after Tour to before and cut Giro/Vuelta to two weeks so this was the end of the season as it feels like a much more natural end to the year than normal where it just peters out. Maybe do what football does and start the season preXmas to fit everything in. Would be much better.

      • Saved my hot take till the close…

        But you and probably everyone knows my frustrations with calendar overall! I’ve bored everyone many times over with rambling monologues so won’t do so again!!

        I will watch Vuelta and Lombardia and other races and enjoy all, in fact Lombardia is one of my favourite races! But well aware many fans or would be fans do not continue with World Tour past the TDF because it’s so obviously the natural end to the year and everything after feels like an epilogue but a season closer with the Worlds after TDF would be perfect and yesterday felt like this.

        • I think there is merit in your idea, including the hot take bit…except shortening of Giro & Vuelta, thats a hard no from me….climate change may dictate a change whereby racing in summer becomes impossible, so having the season be october to June for example might be favourable. Having the TDF then worlds as season climax makes a lot of sense!

        • Oh yes, I guess that you and the rest won’t be watching the upcoming Vuelta… One of the main reasons of interest being Vingegaard’s presence. Despite of, or thanks to, the way the calendar works. Making of the Giro and the Vuelta two further Tirreno and Itzulia won’t make them more interesting than the latter already are (and they’re good, but not as good as a GT, nor as successful in terms of audience, not even by far). Why exactly would you throw into the bin two races which are each worth, let’s say, “half TDF” (the Giro was actually a 65%, but it’s recently on the down, admittedly, still well over the rest of the cycling season), given that such a decision would hardly make the TDF twice greater? Besides, disconnection from cycling in two key areas (and it’s already happening in Italy) would actually hinder *even* TDF. It’s the same old story of believing that you can neglect grassroots and places were cycling has got a real social importance, hoping that so you’ll make things more appealing or likeable (all as pure theory, of course, never ever the shade of a fact) for an imaginary global public. It happened with Lance and later the McQuaid “band”, and the process nearly killed the Giro, the Classics and, well, cycling as a whole. Think to this season (and this generation), then imagine what we would have lost if the sport had actually sacrificed the Classics as many “consulting agencies” defended when some years ago stage racing looked to be the only thing which interested “the general public”… Just let things grow at their pace, experiment little by little and keep what’s good. The Autumn calendar has long been a solid one, and it obviously needs the Worlds to make sense. After some complicated years due to aggressive UCI policies against some traditional races (Paris-Tours anyone?), which happened in order to work on the WT concept, an Italian Autumn version of the Belgian Spring semiclassic narrative was taking shape and becoming effective again (as a proxy, just check Tre Valli Varesine 2015-2022 vs. 2007-2014…), mainly thanks to Emilia and the Piemonte races (if they go back to a decent Mi-To). Strengthen that, or play variation on that *already working* model, instead of risking everything for the sake of nothing but abstract ideas about what “wannabe fans” (???) *might* prefer. Throw in a bit of “gravel” if you fancy, or an alternative short stage race, but I see as a conceptual failure the idea of building on thin air and on sheer ignorance about the fact that cycling is an interconnected and complex environment rather than a circus (“let’s create some events in winter… where you can race… maybe in some place where nobody could care less about cycling… and damn CX, we don’t owe anything to CX in recent years, do we?…”). It would make much more sense to worry about the parts of the heritage which finally got recovered and in good health but could easily be shaken again, like Lombardia (ill-treated by RCS…), instead of doping up what is already on steroids, further altering the balance of the sport.

          • Not exactly sure what you’re on about here Gabriele, I make many spelling mistakes so am not criticising but I can feel the vitriol of the post, I’m just losing what the arguments actually are in the wording. Anyway. I’m not looking to open a can of worms, let’s agree to disagree and leave it at that, neither of us can be completely right or completely wrong so no need for a long back and forth that’s irrelevant to the weekends race.

          • +1

            Grass roots is everything. The success of cycling depends on kids racing around locally – whether organised or unorganised – and dreaming of being like the big stars they see on the TV and sometimes see flash by in a major race near them.

            And in a lot of places that’s happening less and less.

          • Spot on, gabriele.
            oldDAVE, what gabriele has written is perfectly comprehensible.
            The ‘vitriol’ you say that you (and maybe you alone) see in gabriele’s post is – from my perspective – being frustrated at people (it has been going on for decades) trying to make dramatic changes (such as shortening grand tours) that are clearly (to those who have watched the sport for many, many years) detrimental to the sport. And all in the name of what is essentially capitalism – i.e. the idea that the sport must ‘grow’; must attract more viewers; and, for many – probably not you – therefore make more money.

            The simple question to as yourself is, what benefit would your changes have?
            Also, why are you so concerned with how many people are watching the sport? Why do you want it to grow in popularity – how would that make it better?

            Also, as gabriele has explained, the changes you suggest would be very bad for cycling.

          • From my own selfish point of view, the only thing I would change is the date of the Vuelta. I’d make it the last race of the year – in October. That’s because, for me (and possibly me alone), I’m a bit ‘grand-toured-out’ following the Giro and the Tour, and I’d like a longer break before the Vuelta. (Might attract more people to do the TdF-Vuelta double too – although there have been a fair few of those in recent year – or maybe even the trifecta… ) Would be cooler weather too. (And maybe even the big finale to the season that some want?)

          • It’s fine to disagree J Evans.

            I guess you say ‘why do you want the sport to grow, how would it be better’ and I find that unfathomably daft.

            Surely you discovered cycling at some point? Many people reading here probably came to cycling when it grew in the UK post the Olympic success in 2008 leading up to 2012.

            Giving more people the opportunity to enjoy the sport we’re fortunate to have found seems like a pretty reasonable objective especially when I’m sure most of us can agree it’s a slightly embarrassingly white pro peloton currently…

            For me personally the UCI making all the World Champs happen in the same few weeks means I will watch more disciplines than I ever have before and I’m thankful for this and it’s a great example of how a more logical calendar allows me along with others to find and watch races I might not have previously.

            I’m happy to be shouted down by you and Gabriele but we’ll have to agree to disagree as giving more people the chance to find cycling isn’t a stupid dream and I generally find sharing the things you love is one of life’s joys.

          • Nice to actually fully agree with J Evans – I don´t even think that making the Vuelta the last race of the season – with the late season Italian one-races running concurrently -is a daft idea 🙂

            I cam to cycling as a spectator roughly at the same time as I came back to it as a MAMIL/wannabe rider. It seemed like a good idea to watch the races so I would know what my mates were talking about.

            It took me quite some time to learn and to recognize the names and even longer to begin to appreciate the tactics and the various objectives teams and riders could have in stage races, but that didn´t stop me from getting – and staying – interested. And watching a spring classic on a rainy day in Belgium or a mountain finish in the Pyrenees turned me into a huge fan for forever. What the calendar was like or wasn´t played absolutely no role!

            In other words: I seriously doubt that a new revised calendar is needed to bring us more spectators and fans. Or sponsors and team owners, for that matter.

          • Absolutely agree. I’d say most people find cycling via the Tour, and then discover the rest from there. That discovery, figuring it all out, is the best bit. When I was a kid watching the Tour highlights on Channel 4 I always wondered why the world champion was some back marker who always got dropped in the mountains. You’re probably only a true cycling fan when you’ve realised that April and May are the real highlight of the season!

          • Ha – I’m sorry, I respect all comments and happily will take on arguments and think them over but I just firmly disagree at this point! I hope you don’t mind.

            I personally feel there’s a failure to appreciate we’re in the minority – I love Lombardia and I also love the Vuelta but it’s plainly obvious to see fan interest drops off a cliff at this point of the season outside of the hardcore, with or without the worlds – you can see it here in the comments, you can see it in the crowds on the roads.

            We uber fans enjoy the discovery of cycling and it’s nuances then find our way to a niche cycling blog but many people don’t and for me it’s the selfish side of our better nature talking when we say let’s have a barrier to entry for the thing we love rather than help it be more accessible.

            These Worlds are just a brilliant example – I would not have watched the MTB Short Course event but the rescheduling alongside the road/track worlds, that’s allowed MVDP and Pidcock to take part is going to make me watch and I think that’s good thing. Sorry that’s just how I see it and feel that cycling as a whole could learn and benefit a lot such a big swing idea as these Worlds have been – as admittedly calendars have changed many times over the years and it’s really not a big deal.

            I just think our objective should be to grow the sport and part of that’s organic and part of that’s structural. Most of it will never happen but I actually applaud the UCI for this 5-year-all-the-worlds-in-one-place master plan however hard it must have been to implement and have loved what we’ve had the chance to see in Glasgow.

          • oldDAVE, no I don’t have any desire to get people into cycling: that’s entirely up to them.

            I also disagree with this: ‘most of us can agree it’s a slightly embarrassingly white pro peloton currently’ – it’s a patronising notion that white liberals have. Non-white people do not need your (or anybody else’s) help to get into sport. Have a look at other sports if you’re in any doubt about this. If people choose not to be interested in cycling, I’m fine with it – it’s their choice.

            Taking cycling out of the countries where people are interested in it and shoehorning it into places where people are not interested won’t gain cycling more fans. It’ll kill it in the countries where people are interested.

            You’re not being shouted down: you said, ‘Not exactly sure what you’re on about here Gabriele’, so I tried to explain it to you. Maybe read what Gabriele actually said – it’s perfectly comprehensible.

            It doesn’t matter what changes you make, you won’t make people like cycling – they’ll do what they want.

            In the meantime, the suggestions you make would be detrimental to cycling. The races wouldn’t all fit before the TdF, and there’s a lot of winter you can’t race in.

          • @J Evans +1.
            “I also disagree with this: ‘most of us can agree it’s a slightly embarrassingly white pro peloton currently’ – it’s a patronising notion that white liberals have. Non-white people do not need your (or anybody else’s) help to get into sport. Have a look at other sports if you’re in any doubt about this. If people choose not to be interested in cycling, I’m fine with it – it’s their choice.”

          • ‘Taking cycling out of the countries where people are interested in it’ – by which I mean downgrading certain bike races (as gabriele pointed out, Paris-Tours) and forcing World Tour teams to go to races in countries where the public aren’t interested.

    • Never ever cut the Giro and Vuelta to 2 weeks. As for epilogue, more like prologue this year – an amazingly different Worlds and a Vuelta that may be even more competitive than the Tour.

  4. Well, it is part and parcel of racing that a puncture at a bad moment or a gap that is created when a rider is caught behind a crash or just hindered by a slower rider in a small group – but it was in my opinion rightly feared that far too many riders would be effectively eliminated in such incidents.

    One can design an interesting course with hills and corners that isn´t as unforgiving as Glasgow.

    What if van der Poel had crashed like and where Trentin did? 🙂

  5. Is there a luckier man alive than MvdP? He’a got genes right from the top drawer. His dad was a top classic rider, his grandad was a legend. When he falls off he doesn’t even get hurt. He has bikes that can bounce off tarmac unscathed.
    There’s no real need to say how impressive his ride was really, its become the norm from him in one day races. It’s getting to the point where if he targets a one day race that suits him he will win it.

    • Different question then… should WVA move team?

      WVA is an amazing rider and performing in a way we can all see makes him amongst the best in the world, possibly ever.

      But he’s won two races this season. He focus on working for his team at the Tour and didn’t even win the Green jersey which he should’ve been nailed on for.

      Currently I think Sagan is retiring with fewer classic wins than he should be an 7 green jersey’s aren’t really that much compared to Cancellara and Boonen’s palmares – WVA is looking like he’ll win less than even Sagan as it stands and it’s hard to argue he’s actually a better rider.

      Can he continue down this path and end his career with the palmares his talent deserves.

      • I suppose there’s an argument that he may be better served on a team that revolves solely around him. But said team probably wouldn’t have the budget of JV. Also, MvdP would probably still beat him. Take MvdP out of history and WVA has a palmares that will stand up to anyones. All he needs is for Roborider (MvdP) to miss one classics season and it will probably suddenly look a lot better.

        • A hot take I heard somewhere was that the lack of pressure and role that MVDP had at the Tour was much better preparation for the Worlds than the critical team role that WVA is obliged to fulfil (even if he seemingly overdoes it at times). MVDP could put out some high wattage lead-out efforts, as well as test himself on a few random climbs, while WVA was often a turbo diesel domestique. Does that preparation make a difference when you need to do everything to maximise that top end 20 sec power?

          • I don’t think this is a hot take. This is exactly what happened?

            There’s even whispers that MVDP was doing intervals on some of the TDF hills.

            I agree with Richard S that MVDP would likely still win in their duels but I still wonder whether WVA could set himself up better by not being a work horse at the TDF.

            I mean… he’s currently losing every time to MVDP surely it’s worth changing something in an effort to beat him?

          • Wout is an incredible rider. Just cursed with competing against MvdP at almost every stage of his career (he had, what, 2 years in his youth where he dominated CX before MvdP came along?).

            Wout is better at stage races and climbs. Maybe he should look in that direction? Wout’s ’22 Tour was an outstanding achievement, and that – with his Tour record generally – puts him equal to MvdP for me in terms of absolute achievements, for me.

            One wonders if, with the right course (i.e., a more old school one), Wout could follow Kelly as a GT winner… Problem is of course that GTs these days are heavily tilted towards the mountain goats.

      • You have to wonder about the rider transfer merry-go-round: Remco gets bought out for a grand tour focused team (Ineos?), opening the door for WvA to go to Quickstep, opening the door for MvdP to go to Jumbo Visma.

        • MVDP parts owns the Alpecin team does he?
          He’d be insane to leave either way.
          He has everything he could ever need, a team focused on him but not dependent on him
          as Philipsen takes away the pressure. His results tell the story.

          I think Ineos would be making a mistake buying Remco personally but I may live to regret saying that. For me he’s not on V or P’s level and they’d basically be paying crazy money for 3rd just like they’ve basically got now.

          WVA to Quickstep though would be great so I’d like to see it happen just for this.

  6. Thanks for the round up – admit to checking your predictions after!! 😂 Very accurate inring!! Loved the race, got to be one of the most brutal races I have ever seen. Don’t remember seeing riders look quite so knackered. Chapeau Scotland for such a race! MvDP seems to have WVA’s number at the mo. Kind of nice to see Pogacar and Evenepoel look human for once. Pogacar is so sporting – his post race reaction every time just says ‘I love racing, win or lose’. Though I am quite sure he prefers winning!

  7. Great Race and a worthy champion! Hopefully he will line up for one race this year in the stripey jumper and black shorts 🙂

    The way they race the worlds and other races in general has changed so much now, you can’t do the slow burn, pick up speed as the laps count down and bonkers last lap because they will ALL be strong on that last lap and you end up in big group finish, they have to race from so far out now to ensure that just the very best on the day are left for the finale.

    The Top 10 is like a heavyweight Flanders classic contest apart from the 2 welterweights (Pog and Dinham), both of whom punched way above their weight! Pog we all know about, but kudos to Dinham for making the break and then still hanging in there when it was going crazy at the pointy end – certainly earned his beer and pizza tokens.

  8. Many thanks to the host for the first rate preview and review of the race, nice job

    “……or compare some of the national kits, many of which look like they were last designed in 2003.”

    More accuate than you’d think in fact. However, I did like the Vatican City kit, as worn by Rien Schuurhuis. Sadly, no replicas available, a one-off from Santini. M

    • What’s wrong with kits designed 20y ago?
      NZL never changes his unique kit and they still have one of the best. Why needs everything designed new every year?
      Rhetorical question. Money is the answer

  9. Great race and satisfying podium. Shame Mads couldn’t be up there too like Pogs mentioned. And Küng with a surprisingly strong 5th. The whole break deserves some kudos with 5 of them in the top 24. The course was fine once the field thinned a bit, or maybe the course thinned the field a bit early. Not sure. Entertaining race if watched from when they entered Glasgow. When’s the women’s race?

  10. It wasn’t the Scottish Government that issued the drilling licenses it was the British Government
    The issuing of licenses for offshore drilling is a reserved matter

      • Westminster controls the oil… the oil they repeatedly told the Scots during the independence referendum that had run out, and thus the Scots would never be able to survive as a country (as can be seen by the fact that no other country with a population of 5 million exists).
        These protestors were complaining that the Scottish government had made no protest over the British government’s decision (presumably because they too are a shower of neoliberal shysters).

        • Scotland has abundant resources. It’s a perfectly viable nation state.

          The only issue is that it’s economy is closely integrated with a certain neighbouring state, which delights in standing out from all the other neighbours. Exiting this union will cause various problems. As the other neighbour that previously exited its union with the same kingdom has discovered – despite having left much longer ago.

          • Apologies, sarcasm was deployed.
            Personally, being 0% nationalistic, I do want independence – because it’s the best route we have to being a less right-wing government (the UK currently has a far-right government, even if people don’t want to see it).
            Norway shows how much money a country can make from all that North Sea oil if it’s kept nationally owned and not all flogged off cheaply.

          • Ah, I’d understood – I was backing you up. 🙂

            It’s probably more that Scotland has different politics and different political needs. I think the case for Scottish independence would remain even if you had successive Labour governments in Westminster. The issue is Westminister is just always going to have an England-centric view of things. All the infrastructure ends up down there, spending and projects are always going to be skewed, Scotland will always have its own interests not quite properly looked after.

            I voted “yes” to Indy in 2016 mysel’… Won’t be able to vote in the next one, whenever it comes, but I hope Scotland has the confidence to stand tall, on its own feet, and take its seat at the various tables of nations around the place next time. 😉

          • Scotland is much more left-wing than the rest of the UK, and would undoubtedly benefit from being out of that union (as would all the other nations).

  11. Looking to the Vuelta, from the WC here; did Remco’s confidence suffer a blow?
    I think that this circuit again showed that his bike handling skills are not top notch. Crit riding is not for him – yet. He needs those long stretches and wide “virages” to deploy his trademark TT-cababilities.
    With his father apparently beefing it out with Lefevre, he (Remco) runs the risk of looking rather “daddy’s boy”-ish rather than the formidable bike rider he is. A little pathetic, I’d say.

    • Not so pathetic if the rumours of a €6 Million contract turn out to be true…It can’t be easy being a Belgian superstar with all that weight of expectation, then on top of it all you have family and worklife mixed together and having to deal with a personality like PL, and if there is in fact a tug of war for his services going on in the background then that must be stressful…without Covid he could have won the Giro then things might look a little different, as it is his plans have been disrupted, so let’s see what he can do in 2024

    • For me he won the Worlds last year with cornering skills, he went into one bend faster than the others and that made the break, he was away. This time though maybe it was more all the repeat efforts, he can put out lots of power for 4-40 minutes which is what he needs for the Vuelta but repeating 20 second efforts is much harder.

      His contract and transfer talk is turning into a saga and because the Belgian media are so interested there are all sorts of stories, quotes and angles going around.

      • I’ll have to disagree on the first part,
        1) the bends in 2022 were rightly bends not corners as in Glasgow, no need for repeated sort bursts
        2) he did hit the apex correctly, got 10 metres and the rest of the peloton hesitated just that spilt second too long and he was gone. That is, he was “allowed” to go as nobody would sacrifice their own chance going after him immediately
        Efforts were full on HIIT/Tabata here and that burned a lot of matches for everybody, yes. In the Vuelta longer sustained efforts are necessary and perhaps the “training” in Glasgow will pay off?
        Belgian media being Belgian media, I still think having your father “interfere” (he is his manager, I believe, no?) like that does give me a kind un- or less grown-up vibe. These are supposedly adults, right?

        • It’s one thing to get 10 metres, have the peloton hesitate for a split second and be gone in the last few kilometres. That’s how Stuyven won MSR in 2021 and van Vleuten won Worlds last year. It’s quite another to do it with more or less 50km to go and increase the gap all the way to the finish line, crossing it with no one in sight. From a Worlds perspective, that’s the preserve of Hinault in 1980, Lemond in 1983 and Evenepoel last year. If getting the gap was the hard part Bettiol would be World Champion and not van der Poel.

          As much as he gets peoples’ backs up, Evenepoel with two Monuments, a World Championship and a Grand Tour at age 23 is in a very small group. He has found ways to win with his skill set whereas van Aert has not.

          • Just to expand on that thought, I feel for van Aert and hope he can deliver at RVV and/or Paris-Roubaix. In the same way as Kelly without a World Championship or Lemond without a Monument there will always be a slight sense of missed opportunity if he does not and his career will seem unfulfilled without them.
            Evenepoel and van der Poel have shown they can win where they are with the team they have. I truly hope van Aert isn’t looking back in three to five years thinking he wished he’d traded salary for results and achieved his potential.

          • Absolutely right. I had actually added some text to my pt. 2 that I chose to delete for clarity: That it added to the peloton’s hesitation that the distance to finish was so far and because it appeared futile.
            Clearly it was not and RE knew what he was doing and the peloton never really coorporated to make the catsh.

        • Have to disagree too. It’s one thing for a TT powerhouse to go first through a /wide/ bend on wide roads in warm, dry conditions and having the bunch behind hesitate; it’s quite another to go through all manners of 90 degree corners on narrow roads (some literally footpaths) 40+ times over 10 odds laps, with a variety of road surfaces (smooth tarmac, rough tarmac, patched tarmac, flag stones, even some cobbles) with ever changing conditions – dry to wet to soaking to drying to dryish to wet to ….

          I wrote it in the preview: technical cornering ability was going to make at least few tens of joules of difference on many corners, and that times 40 times 10 was going to add up and just grind away at riders and cause those with slightly worse technical ability to fatigue more quickly, and those with excellent technical ability to have more in reserve at the end.

          And that’s what happened with Remco.

          • Following on from the above and Evenepoel’s technical ability, I recall a Bengian semi-classic (Brabantse Pijl 2022?) where Van Aert, Pidcock and others where using the smoother – but narrow – gutter on a short cobbled climb and every time Remco was losing 30m on the cobbles.

            I was one of many with pre-race misgivings. I was maybe right but the race was dramatic with the three strongest riders on the podium. Can one ask for more.

            On today’s relay, why is Belgium absent? The other top nations (France, Italy, Netherlands, GB, US, Germany, Australia, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Spain…) are all now taking part and Belgium could have a medal team – even without Evenepoel and Van Aert.

    • Personally I think Evenepoel should take heart from yesterday’s race…ok he wasn’t at the very front of the race in the end, but the very front of the race was composed of 5 of the best technical riders in the world tour! Surely nobody, even Remco, expected he would match their technical ability on a course like this…yet he was in the main selection of 18 riders and holding his own, while others (including monument winners like Van Baarle) were struggling or already dropped…
      Meanwhile, 2 of his main Vuelta competitors didn’t even go to Glasgow, while the third was apparently handing out bottles to Tadej!

      • @Davesta, actually I saw van Baarle many times during the race and he was near Evenepoel every single time. He also finished 6 mins ahead of Evenepoel so the comparison with van Baarle is not a good one to make your point. Van Baarle was clearly not on form and was missing the power to stay in touch with the group near the front but he had no trouble navigating the course like Evenepoel.

        • Yes, we saw a lot of Van Baarle, because he was always at the back of the group in front of the tv moto! He was clearly struggling with the pace and parcours, and whilst Evenepoel was often near him, he was also attacking off the front at times, while Van Baarle simply wasn’t in the race at all…

  12. I really enjoyed this race, call me sadistic but the world champs should be very hard, in fact I would like to see a parcours of this character become a regular feature, perhaps every 5 years, along with a summit finish or a mountainous course, flat course, lumpy course etc. to test all the different skillsets and give every type of rider a chance at rainbow bands at least once in their career. Also good that the rain had an impact as an additional element but didn’t totally transform the race – there would have been crashes anyway rain or not.

    Very impressive ride from Dinham, must admit I hadnt heard of him before, looked him up on PCS and sure enough he was also 7th in the U23 race last year, plus a very solid season of hard races this year with no DNFs including finishing TDF ’23 as his first ever GT so looks good for his racing future.

    • He was the Australian XCO Champion in 2022; but as we know, Australia don’t/can’t support MTB riders like their road/track riders, so switched to the road.

    • Agreed on the need for a challenging, attritional parcours for a World Championship!
      INRNG- thanks again for adding a wonderful dimension to the spectacle.
      For me the most impressive aspect, and what makes him a a super-worthy winner, is that MvDP was able to ride the last 15k sans buckle and maintain enough power transfer. I’d be pulling out of my shoe on the first climb, a reminder of how elite and adaptable these dudes are.
      Great race.

  13. An exciting edition with a worthy champion. I’m something of a fan boy of Mathieu van de Poel so I’m doubly happy: the grand racing and the prospect of seeing him in the rainbow stripes. He is a rider I love to watch. There is a menacing feel to his posture on the bike and something equine about the way he strains to exert all that power.

    A tricky course but it delivered a classic.

    One thing I noticed, while most riders were coming in looking like casualties from a mountain expedition gone wrong – Krista Neilandts was almost speechless, Stefan Kung looked like he’d sweated blood – Remco Evenepoel looked like he’d been on a club run. I know he sat up and came in 10mins down, but still, he looked so chilled – impressive form for La Vuelta.

    Many thanks to @inrng for the review of a great race.

    • It’s a good point. Having been there and seen them all close-up, other than the top 4, everyone looked knackered, whereas Evenepoel looked like he was cruising – possibly saving himself for the TT, knowing that he was unlikely to ever win here?

  14. Overall, I think the best man won and chapeau to MvdP. Pogacar was helped away afterwards so I hope he’s no worse then, as he put it, “f*cked”!

  15. Wonder whether Pedersen should have remained a little calmer early in the circuits? Denmark were impressive early on, but Pedersen’s attacks didn’t really achieve much apart from thin the field quickly and burn a few of his matches. He was never going to get rid of the other favourites. Unsure whether it would have made any difference, but he looked impressively aggressive and perhaps could have saved that aggression for the key parts of the race.

    • I really don’t think so to be honest?

      He was likely trying to get ahead of the race which you can only do by forcing it early it was just unlucky for both him and Bettiol that they didn’t pull a group minus the favourites away as usually/sometimes happens.

      Otherwise he’d likely just follow the whole race then get dropped anyway as he’s experienced many times in the last few years. He was on a different level yesterday but given all his recent experience of racing these guys the result yesterday was still likely the best he could hope for whether he was aggressive or not and at least he tried rather than be an also ran?

      Holding back might have only gained him a podium place and as he’s a previous champion getting ahead of the race was his only realistic route to victory so for me he raced the right way?

    • In a similar vein I was watching Australia giving it the big bananas when they first hit the circuit wondering if any rider has ever had more riding done for him to less effect than Michael Matthews?!

  16. Thanks, as ever, Inrng for this review.

    It was a fantastic day out and watching the race pass numerous times on the circuit – having also been up on the Crow Road – certainly gave a different perspective on the racing. Without a tv feed to follow the action in a more linear fashion, it was definitely more a guessing game, trying to piece together how the race was developing with only the briefest glimpses each lap and small chats with others.
    Also enjoyed those bits you might not otherwise see on TV; the two NZ and two Spanish riders riding back and forth along Cathedral Street trying to find a way off the course having scratched; and Moroccan rider Omar El Gouzi seemingly having the time of his life, ‘celebrating’ as he rolled by to great cheers from everyone roadside!
    Now looking forward to the U23’s on Saturday…

    • Trainspotting…. very much set in Edinburgh but ‘some’ scenes filmed in Glasgow… classic iconic movie though no doubting that. A little titbit, it is one of the few films with made with English as spoken language, but English subtitles were as standard in cinemas/theatres in all English speaking countries outside Scotland 🙂

      Although, to be fair, I am not sure Renton or Spud would ever have had much interest in a bike race.

  17. A shout-out for the multi-disciplinary championships. First time I’ve really watched the para-track athletes and they really deserve respect. Looking for ward to seeing events that would normally get no TV coverage, like trials and cycle-ball.

  18. I was disappointed that after the finish we got to watch minutes of the top four recovering rather than the (seemingly interesting) race for 5th, etc. A tremendous ride by Dinham, and he doesn’t even have a TV shot of him crossing the line. (This contrasts with the TdF where we would see every rider who was top ten in the breakaway crossing the line up a mountain, all while not seeing the GC contenders battle it out on the course. We need TV directors who understand cycling.)

    A tremendous course – unique, perhaps. You wouldn’t always want a WC like this, but this course really promoted skill and individual toughness. I’m all for some variety in WC courses: I’d still like to see a mountainous course one year (it shouldn’t only be for classics riders, with the occasional sprint course).

    I’ve been saying (as plenty of others are saying) since at least this spring that if Van Aert wants to improve his one-day results to Van der Poel’s level, he would probably be better off not riding and training as a GC domestique.

    • Innsbruck 2018 was quite much for the climbers. Florence 2013 was open to climbers and even favourable to them, dare I say, although not as much as Innsbruck. Mendrisio 2009 was expected to be open to climbers but turned out to be more of a Liège-like thing. Before that, you need to think Duitama 1995, which means a very long spell on a thin range of courses, while recent years have become more varied, I think.

      • I was thinking more a full-on mountainous grand tour stage-type course – just for one year – four or five Cat 1/HC climbs, ideally over ~270km. (I’d settle for 230km – or even just a stage like this in a grand tour more often).

  19. A worthy winner and supreme bike handler, having been “born” on the bike. Not a fan of town centre courses although I think being there would have been tremendously enjoyable with a few pints of heavy afterwards. Would love to see WVA out of JV, don’t want to see him ground to dust as a Tour engine, he has more talent than that. Just my opinion, but everyone has one. Well done Scotland hosting the Worlds! is there a jersey for riding proper equipment, thats tubulars of course 🙂

  20. I think WvA is done: Sagan-ed out. Imo, he’ll never win another major race. No Worlds, no Monuments, and no GT stages, no green jerseys. Two reasons: 1) mvdp broke him psychologically in the CX worlds; 2) WvA is cursed with being 2nd best on any given parcour compared to Ganna on the TT, Pog & Remco on the hilly classics, MvdP on the other classics — but still too much better than the third tier of riders, who will never work with him. Stick a fork in him. He’s done.

    • I’m pretty sure someone on here last year said the same thing about MvdP, that he wouldn’t win another major one day race. That seemed like a silly thing to say then and this does now.

    • Yeah. This is utter madness.

      I get accused of same some mad stuff here… and sure there’s a little tongue in cheek here or goading… but we gotta realise when talking about any of Pogacar, WVA or MVDP we’re talking about three of the best riders ever to get on a bike…

      Sagan likewise is an all time great, but even he in his prime couldn’t hold a candle to what these three are doing, it is simply out of this world what we are fortunate enough to witness currently.

      WVA’s only problem is he’s unfortunate to be riding in an era of this level but we shouldn’t forget just how good he really is… he has the finishing speed of a sprinter, the power of a TT rider, the climbing ability of a near Grand Tour contender and the energy over three weeks to be in multiple breaks while still riding the winner of the TDF to a final mountain stage win and then finishing second behind him…

      It’s incredibly difficult to think of any riders with anything near this kind of capability aside from the absolute best ever – so when people sit around table picking out the top riders ever they might have to be a special category for WVA in future because his palmares might possibly not represent what his true level as a rider.

      • Don’t worry, nobody has forgotten Maertens… or have they?
        And, well, yes Sagan on his prime has done several things these guys are doing (or better, so to say)… I generally prefer them, but what you write above re: Sagan simply doesn’t make much sense at all. I can list examples but a combination of PCS and Google might do. Or ChatGPT?

        • With “these guys” I mean the two vans, Pogi is obviously a further class apart, and incredible as it may sound, I think that we still need one or two seasons to grasp the exact dimension of Remco (grades of greatness, I mean).

      • Like gabriele, I’m not convinced. The degradation of Sagan is the easiest one to falsify, he did pretty much what the vans do and more, the most striking difference (on the road) is that he approached the Tour differently (which gave him more green jerseys than I, at the moment, am able to count). But I could throw other names from the past generations into the mix – Gilbert, Contador, Boonen, Cancellara, Valverde spring to mind, and then obviously a list of names tainted with doping.

        I too am seduced by the impression that we’re witnessing a golden age and were thrilled to see three of the golden boys fighting it out for the Worlds, but in the end Pogacar is the only name I would present as hard evidence for the golden age claim. Also, early action in the classics is too often presented as a new thing, even a paradigm shift in how classics are raced, throwing even more shining light on the winners. This is at least exaggerated. All but one (Valverde) of the past generation names mentioned above are known for long-range winning moves in races with even longer finales (admittedly Contador is a different example here, I had is long-range moves in GTs in mind).

  21. I only watched the men’s and women’s road races and the men’s TT, but I have to say that was a pretty damn exciting set of races. Kopecky is amazing.

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