The UCI World Tours for men and women got back into action on Saturday, with dramatic finishes in both London and Donostia.
At the Prudential RideLondon Classique, a 20-lap course of 3.4 km loops (68 km) in the city meant a flat race and would be decided by the sprinters at the finish.
A mass of riders prepared for the finish and Dutch star Kirsten Wild came through the maze of riders and won the race for her third victory out of the four editions of this event, escaping a mass crash behind her that took out a dozen riders.
But officials checked the video and held Wild responsible for the incident, in which she clipped another one of the favorites – Australia’s Chloe Hosking – and her fall set off the mass crash.
Wild just beat countrywoman Lorena Wiebes to the line and now Wiebes, 20, was the winner, her second World Tour win and fourth medal of the season. Italy’s Elisa Balsamo and American Coryn Rivera advanced to the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
“I didn’t have a very good position over the last five kilometres so I had to go to the front and start my sprint really early,” said Wiebes. “It was a surprise win at the end. Kirsten came over in the last 50 m but she was disqualified so it was really surprising. It’s just crazy.”
There was another long review well after the ceremonies were over and Wild’s disqualification was reversed, but she was placed at the back of the group in which she was riding, in 37th.
In Spain, the big names in the Clasica San Sebastian were Tour de France heroes Egan Bernal and Julian Alaphilippe, but both had to drop out on a hot day with lots of climbing; Alaphilippe with 80 km remaining on the 227.3 km course and Bernal with about 55 km left.
The course offered plenty of opportunities for breakaways, and a nine-rider attack early in the race had a lead of as much as five minutes on the main group. As the race thinned, and with Deceunick-Quick Step teammate Alaphilippe out of the race, Belgian Remco Evenepoel changed from servicing his team with water bottles to rejoining the front pack.
He got back into the action before the final climb up the Murgil-Tontorra and then followed the attack of Latvian Toms Skujins with about 20 km left. The two broke away by 49 seconds, but then Skujins fell back with less than 9 km left and the 19-year-old Evenepoel was free to fly to the finish for his first major victory.
“I can’t believe it,” he said afterwards. “I don’t have words to describe this day and this victory. When Alaphilippe pulled out, the team’s plans changed. He’s the strongest rider in the world and all the team bets on him. It wasn’t his day and he was really honest when he decided to stop. Enric Mas and I were designated to go for the win. I told him that I was going to attack and that he could come with me if he wanted. At the end I was able to go on my own to get to the finish line first.”
Skujins finished 13th in the mass sprint to the line, while Greg van Avermaet (BEL) got up for second and Marc Hirschi (SUI) was third.
Is Evenepoel a star of the future? He’s off to a good start in his rookie year. Summaries:
UCI World Tour/Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian
Donostia (ESP) ~ 3 August 2019
(Full results here)
Final Standings (227.3 km): 1. Remco Evenpoel (BEL), 5:44:27; 2. Greg van Avermaet (BEL), 5:45:05; 3. Marc Hirschi (SUI), 5:45:05; 4. Gorka Izagirre (ESP), 5:45:05; 5. Bauke Mollema (NED), 5:45:05; 6. Patrick Konrad (AUT), 5:45:05; 7. Jelle Vanendert (BEL), 5:45:05; 8. Enric Mas (ESP), 5:45:05; 9. Michael Woods (CAN), 5:45:05; 10. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), 5:45:05.
UCI Women’s World Tour/Prudential Ride London Classique
London (GBR) ~ 3 August 2019
(Full results here)
Final Standings (68.0 km): 1. Lorena Wiebes (NED), 1:33:55; 2. Elisa Balsamo (ITA), 1:33:55; 3. Coryn Rivera (USA), 1:33:55; 4. Lotte Kopecky (BEL), 1:33:55; 5. Letizia Paternoster (ITA), 1:33:55; 6. Marianne Vos (NED), 1:33:55; 7. Christine Majerus (LUX), 1:33:55; 8. Marta Tagliaferro (ITA), 1:33:55; 9. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (ITA), 1:33:55; 10. Eugenie Duval (FRA), 1:33:55.