By Brecht Decaluwé and Gregor Brown in Treviso
In the sun-drenched city of Benetton and Pinarello, the junior riders battled for their rainbow jersey, and forty minutes later Arnaud Jouffroy turned his favourite role into a gold medal. The French champion screamed out in joy when he crossed the line, clearly delighted that he could live up to expectations.
"This is a dream come true. It was my last chance on the title in this category and I didn't want to blow it," Jouffroy said. He enjoyed a small lead over the chasing duo when going into the last lap, but the dream almost shattered into pieces when the 17 year-old hit a barrier with his knee halfway through the last lap. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) and Lubomir Petrus (Czech Republic) were able to come back but stayed on Jouffroy's wheel.
"I felt a lot of pain, but in my head I had forgotten it and then gave all I had," the new junior world champion explained.
Despite being a junior rider, Jouffroy is hoping for a career among the big guns. "I have no idols – maybe Niels Albert – but I hope to become a professional rider eventually," the newly crowned world champion said. "Next year I will step up a level as I become an U23 rider and I hope I will be selected for all the World Cup races and the World Championships. I hope that I can continue my improvement – technically, I improved a lot this year. I will keep focusing on cyclo-cross – it's my passion.
Continue to the full results, report and photos from the Junior men's race.