MAPEI OUT AMONGST 600 000 FANS
The Mapei brand also made a big impact with crowds attending the event, as it could be seen everywhere: the World Championships were held over eight days and at least 1 million spectators, including 600,000 over the final weekend, watched the races. The Mapei Group also had its own Motorhome at the Championships in Austria, as well as a special, elegantly furnished Hospitality Area (located close to the finish line). Andreas Wolf, General Manager of Mapei Austria and Romana Ramssl, the Marketing Manager for the subsidiary, were perfect hosts. The area was visited by 600 satisfied customers. As well as Austria and Italy, Mapei also welcomed guests arriving through its subsidiaries in Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany and Croatia.
The Mapei facility was only open to Mapei guests and featured an external section and a covered section with glass windows at the sides so guests could watch the cyclists as they sped by.
GREAT “EX” CYCLISTS IN ATTENDANCE
As is now customary, a number of former important members of the Mapei Professional Cycling Team visited the area to chat with guests: a perfect opportunity to have your photograph taken with these former champions and then post it on social media. The great names from the past included Freire, Museeuw, Bugno, Bettini, Nardello and Noè. Mapei also focused plenty of attention on tourism, organising guided tours in various regions of Austria. Mapei guests and friends also got the chance to enjoy an international gala evening in Innsbruck attended, amongst others, by the president of the UCI, David Lappartient, the former cycling champion, Francesco Moser, and other VIPS from the cycling world.
THE BIG RACE
The evergreen Spanish rider, Alejandro Valverde, is the new Men’s Road World Champion after beating the French rider Romain Bardet and the Canadian Michael Woods in a sprint finish. The Men Elite road race was the last on the schedule for the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck-Tyrol.
FORMER MAPEI RIDERS BACK TO WINNING WAYS
Quick Step Floors won yet another Men’s Team Time Trial world championship for professional sports teams. The Quick Step team of Niki Terpstra (Netherlands), Bob Jungels (Luxembourg), Maximilian Schachmann (Germany), Kasper Asgreen (Norway) and the Belgian riders Yves Lampaert e Laurens De Plus finished 18” ahead of the reigning champions Team Sunweb, whose team included Tom Dumoulin, and 19” ahead of BMC, whose ranks included Damiano Caruso, after covering a total of 62.8 km.
It is worth mentioning that Quick Step Floors, which has now won its fourth world title in this event, has lots of former members of the Mapei Professional Cycling Team working for its technical staff. The Quick Step Floor team manager is, in fact, Patrick Lefevere, who had the same job at Mapei from 1995-2000, and the sports directors are Davide Bramati, Tom Steels and Wilfried Peeters, who were all once proud members of the great Mapei cycling team. 22 teams took part in the Men’s Team Time Trial and 12 in the Women’s event.
The women’s race was won by the Canyon-Sram team from Germany, which included the Italian rider Elena Cecchini from the Friuli region. The other riders in the team were Alena Amialiusik, Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Lisa Klein and Trixi Worrack. The Canyon-Sram girls were 22 seconds faster over the 54.70 km course than the Boels Dolmans team, with the reigning champions from Team Sunweb finishing third, 28” behind the winners.
YOUNG RIDERS RACES
In the Women Juniors Individual Time Trial race (for girls aged 17-18), the fastest over the 20 km course was Rozemarijn Ammerlaan from the Netherlands, who finished ahead of the Italian rider Camilla Alessio, who finished just 7” behind the winner. The daughter of a former professional cyclist (her dad won the 2004 Paris-Roubaix road race) came third, 18” behind the winner.
The Men Juniors Individual Time Trial race was won by the highly talented Belgian rider, Remco Evenepoel, who covered the 27.700 km at an average speed of almost 50 km/h, with the Australian Luca Plapp coming second, 1’23” behind the winner, and Andrea Piccolo from Italy finishing third, 1’37” behind the winner. Evenepoel will be riding as a professional for the Quick Step team in 2019. This makes him one of only a few junior riders who have moved on directly to professional racing without taking part in under 23 events. Other riders who have done this include Filippo Pozzato, who signed on for Mapei in January 2000, after just two seasons racing as a junior.
The thirty-six-year-old Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten was crowned world champion in the Women Elite Individual Time Trial; she covered the 27.700 km at an average speed of 48.822. van Vleutrn topped of an all-Dutch podium: Anna van der Breggen came second, 29” behind the winner, and Ellen van Dijk finished third, 1’25” behind van Vleuten. The best placed of the Italian riders, Elisa Longo Borghini, finished ninth, 2’17” behind the winner.
The Danish rider Mikkel Bjerg won the world championship for the Men Under 23 Individual Time Trial for the second year in a row, finishing 33” ahead of the Belgian rider Brent van Moer and 38” ahead of Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen, also from Denmark.
The new world champion in the Men Elite Individual Time Trial was Rohan Dennis from Australia, who covered the 52.500 km, including a long uphill climb, at an average speed of 49.585. Dennis beat the favourite Tom Dumoulin, who finished 1’12” behind the winner with the Belgian Victor Campenaerts coming third.
Italy also won a medal in the Men Juniors Road Race (132.40 km) thanks to Alessandro Fancellu, who finished third in a race dominated once again by Evenepoel with the Austrian Marius Maryhofer taking silver. It is also worth mentioning that Evenepoel lost two minutes following a fall but managed to catch up and then soloed to victory. Remco is the first rider in history to win the European time trial and road race and then two gold medals in the same events at the World Championships.
The Junior Women’s road world championship over a distance of 71.770 km finished as follows: first place Laura Stigger (Austria), second Marie Le Net (France) and third Simone Boilard (Canada) with the Italian rider Barbara Malcotti finishing fourth. After breaking away on the descent, the Swiss rider Marc Hirshi won the Men Under 23 Road Race (over a distance of 180 km) coming home 15” ahead of the Belgian Bjorg Lambrecht and the Finnish rider Jaakko Hanninen.
The world-class Dutch rider van der Breggen was the comprehensive winner of the Women Elite Road Race over 156.2 km, finishing way ahead of the rest of the field: the Australian Amanda Spratt finished 3’46” behind in second place with Tatiana Guderzo from Italy third, 5’26” behind the winner.
VALVERDE, HURRAH FOR SPAIN!
Thanks to Valverde, the Spanish national anthem was the last to be played at the final prize-giving ceremony. Alejando has been a professional cyclist since 2002. He won 14 other races in the 2018 season before his great victory in Innsbruck, including two stages at the Tour of Spain.
The 2019 UCI Road World Championships are scheduled to be held between 22nd and 29th September 2019 in Harrogate, Yorkshire (UK).