Jurgen Roelandts places solid fifth in world championship road race
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jurgen Roelandts places solid fifth in world championship road race

by Kyle Moore at 7:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Belgium can’t steal race from the sprinters in Copenhagen

Jurgen RoelandtsPhilippe Gilbert (Belgium) entered the World Championships as a primary favourite for the road race, but on a course that was dominated by sprinters, Jurgen Roelandts finished as the best placed Belgian, taking fifth in Copenhagen today. Belgium teamed with France to try and disrupt the race for Great Britain and Germany, who controlled the peloton in search of a bunch sprint. The latter two won out, and Mark Cavendish gave the British their first road champion since Tom Simpson in 1965.

Sprinting for himself on the right side of the road, Roelandts finished fifth for Belgium, edging out Romain Feillu of France. “It was a hectic finale, and I almost fell maybe ten times,” Roelandts told Het Nieuwsblad at the finish. “I was in the wheel of Mark Cavendish but then Matt Goss [who finished second] came by and I had to downshift. So I lost my chance at a medal. But congratulations to the British team.”

Without a real sprinter for the finale, Belgium deployed a number of attacks in the final laps of the Copenhagen circuit. But they were operating without Greg Van Avermaet, thanks to the race’s only significant crash. No one was seriously injured, but the riders held up, including Norway’s Thor Hushovd, would never see the peloton again. “I had a long wait for a bike, and then you know your World Championships is over,” Van Avermaet stated. “It is disappointing for the Worlds to end that way, because I was feeling good.”

Belgium put Johan Van Summeren and Olivier Kaisen in the early breakaway, and when it was reeled in, Klaas Lodewyck covered a searing acceleration made by Thomas Voeckler (France). The duo was joined by Nicki Sorensen (Denmark) and eventually built a lead of nearly twenty seconds. Though the trio was pulled back on the final lap, Lodewyck was happy after eventually finishing in 63rd position.

“I’m pleased with my race,” he enthused to Het Nieuwsblad. “In the last lap, I was with some good riders on the attack, but suddenly there was the whole peloton, and it was over. We were going 65 or 70 kilometers per hour and still barely got away. Chapeau to the team of Cavendish. They rode hard on the front all day.”

Gilbert, the designated Belgian leader, could muster only seventeenth on the line. His team left it all on the course in his support, but were unable to soften the determined British squad of Cavendish.

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