Worlds: Cosnefroy wins men's under-23 road race

Frenchman pips Kämna in Bergen

Benoit Cosnefroy (France) claimed victory in the men's U23 road race at the 2017 World Championships, beating Germany's Lennard Kämna in a two-up sprint at the end of a breathless 191 kilometres of racing in Bergen.

The 21-year-old, who turned pro with the AG2R-La Mondiale team at the beginning of August, attacked from a chase group towards the end of the final descent of Salmon Hill, with Kämna having gone solo just before the climb had started.

The duo managed to escape the advances of the chasers in the final few kilometres and Cosnefroy opened up the sprint and comfortably held off Kämna.

The reduced peloton crossed the line just three seconds down, Denmark's Michael Carbel Svendgaard (Denmark) clinching the bronze medal.

For Cosnefroy, it was the culmination of a remarkable week and few months. After signing the pro contract with AG2R he wasted no time in grabbing his first victory last weekend at the GP d'Isbergues – in a two-up sprint that no doubt served him well here.

He is the fourth Frenchman to win the U23 world title, after Romain Sicard (2009), Arnaud Démare (2011), and Kevin Ledanois (2015). However, as a rider who already rides at WorldTour level, he will have no opportunity to race with the rainbow jersey next year.

"There was no protected rider. We were a strong collective and we could have probably all have won the world title. We worked together to do the best race possible and it worked out," said Cosnefroy.

"I didn't know my rival that well and just focused on myself and not on him, I hoped to win and focused on winning the sprint."

The final lap

The 191km route was based on 10 laps of the rolling 19.1km Bergen circuit that features in all the road races at these World Championships. Salmon Hill is the centerpiece, a climb of 1.4km at a gradient of 6.5 per cent that tops out 11 kilometres from the line – roughly five of which are downhill.

Despite constant movements and developments on the opening nine laps, the peloton – though by now down to little more than 60 riders – was all together as they took the bell for the final lap.

After a flurry of early attacks, Cosnefroy found himself in a chase group of nine riders behind his teammate Benjamin Thomas. As the road kicked up ahead of the climb, Thomas was caught, leaving five out front with a slim lead – but then Kämna attacked from the peloton and was over to them in no time.

It wasn't long before the German kicked again, using his time trialling skills to forge clear on the flat and take a handful of seconds onto Salmon Hill. He dug in on the climb and took 10 seconds over the top, by which point Cosnefroy was in a chasing group that had expanded to seven.

He soon rolled the dice with some daring descending and bridged over to Kämna, with the pair well aware they needed to go all-in to stand a chance of a medal.

Colombian's Wilmar Paredes was the last of the chasing group to be caught by the pack, as Spain's Ivan García Cortina, who rides for Bahrain-Merida, tried to bridge over – but his ship had already sailed.

In a nailbiting finale that bodes well for the elite road races this weekend, the peloton, led predominantly by Denmark as last year's champion and home rider Kristoffer Halvorsen had been dropped earlier, was only 15 seconds back throughout the final few kilometres.

Kämna attacked Cosnefroy briefly with 3.7km to go but otherwise they traded turns all the way to the final few hundred metres. By that point the pack was bearing down but there was enough time to take a breath before playing out the sprint. Cosnefroy used his GP d'Isbergues experience to take on the responsibility and drive for the line, with Kämna unable to come round.

The early moves

As is often the case with the U23 road race, it was a fast and frenetic day in the saddle, with the race situation and complexion constantly changing. A six-rider breakaway – containing the prodigious Russian Pavel Sivakov – went clear on the opening lap and they were later joined by several more riders.

They opened up a lead of 2:30 after a couple of laps, and there was calm in the peloton all the way to the half-way point.

The race really came to life courtesy of Brandon McNulty, who had finished runner-up in the U23 time trial. He attacked from the peloton and closed in on the break. The peloton reacted and were drawing ever closer, too, but McNulty made the catch and went to the front of what was now a reduced lead group.

It was the fourth to last lap and as the climb of Salmon Hill began the race was almost back together, but McNulty accelerated again and dragged a group clear. In there were: Jai Hindley (Australia), Pavel Sivakov (Russia), Rasmus Fossum Tiller (Norway), Patrick Muller (Switzerland), Gustav Hoog (Sweden). They were soon joined by Scott Davies (Great Britain) and Yevgeniy Gidich (Kazakhstan) to make it eight.

They opened up a lead of 1:30 before there was a reaction from the peloton, with nine riders – including two Spaniards – settling into a chase group. On the third to last ascent of Salmon Hill, McNulty and Hoog were dropped from the lead group as the chasing group was caught by the peloton and Spain took up the reins. 

Going into the penultimate lap there were now six in the lead with an advantage of 30 seconds, but it was all back together by to lower slopes of Salmon Hill as the leaders looked at each other. Belgian climber Bjorg Lambrecht attacked over the top but was caught on the descent, as the peloton strung out towards Bergen and the bell.

Davies, with Britain now thinking about the sprint for Oli Wood, was back on the front setting a fast tempo to control the strung-out bunch. He pulled over as the bell sounded, and the attacks came thick and fast, with Cosnefroy emerging from the chaos to take a huge victory.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Benoit Cosnefroy (France)4:48:23 
2Lennard Kamna (Germany)  
3Michael Carbel Svendgaard (Denmark)0:00:03 
4Oliver Wood (Great Britain)  
5Vincenzo Albanese (Italy)  
6Damien Touze (France)  
7Max Kanter (Germany)  
8Michal Paluta (Poland)  
9Mark Downey (Ireland)  
10Anders Skaarseth (Norway)  
11German Nicolas Tivani Perez (Argentina)  
12Patrick Muller (Switzerland)  
13Stylianos Farantakis (Greece)  
14Marc Hirschi (Switzerland)  
15Bjorg Lambrecht (Belgium)  
16Aleksandr Riabushenko (Belarus)  
17Wilmar Andres Paredes Zapata (Colombia)  
18Giovanni Carboni (Italy)  
19Emiel Planckaert (Belgium)  
20Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia)  
21Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spain)  
22Callum Scotson (Australia)  
23Pavel Sivakov (Russian Federation)  
24Lucas Eriksson (Sweden)  
25Jon Irisarri Rincon (Spain)  
26Jaakko Hanninen (Finland)  
27Rasmus Fossum Tiller (Norway)  
28Pascal Eenkhoorn (Netherlands)  
29Valentin Madouas (France)  
30Michael Storer (Australia)  
31Kevin Geniets (Luxembourg)  
32Stan Dewulf (Belgium)  
33Mauricio Moreira (Uruguay)  
34Michal Schlegel (Czech Republic)  
35Casper Pedersen (Denmark)  
36Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Colombia)  
37Artem Nych (Russian Federation)  
38James Shaw (Great Britain)  
39Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Denmark)  
40Mark Stewart (Great Britain)0:00:20 
41Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Colombia)0:01:01 
42Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)  
43Ziga Jerman (Slovenia)0:01:04 
44Robert Stannard (Australia)  
45Piotr Brozyna (Poland)  
46Hayato Okamoto (Japan)0:01:50 
46Dusan Rajovic (Serbia)  
48Gasper Katrasnik (Slovenia)  
49Izidor Penko (Slovenia)  
50Kamil Malecki (Poland)  
51Yuriy Natarov (Kazakhstan)  
52Lukas Ruegg (Switzerland)  
53Joris Nieuwenhuis (Netherlands)  
54William Barta (United States Of America)  
55Anatolii Budiak (Ukraine)  
56Kasper Asgreen (Denmark)  
57Johannes Schinnagel (Germany)  
58Edoardo Affini (Italy)  
59Takeaki Amezawa (Japan)  
60Nicola Conci (Italy)0:01:55 
61Tom Wirtgen (Luxembourg)0:02:16 
62Gino Mader (Switzerland)0:02:50 
63Nikolai Cherkasov (Russian Federation)0:03:00 
64Jai Hindley (Australia)  
65Petr Rikunov (Russian Federation)0:04:44 
66Yevgeniy Gidich (Kazakhstan)  
67Francisco Campos (Portugal)  
68Benjamin Thomas (France)0:06:11 
69Daire Feeley (Ireland)0:06:23 
70Franck Bonnamour (France)  
71Jeremy Lecroq (France)  
72Mikkel Froelich Honore (Denmark)  
73Grigoriy Shtein (Kazakhstan)  
74Roman Lehky (Czech Republic)  
75Patrick Gamper (Austria)  
76Vadim Pronskiy (Kazakhstan)  
77Karl Patrick Lauk (Estonia)  
78Luke Mudgway (New Zealand)  
79Matic Groselj (Slovenia)  
80Hector Carretero (Spain)  
81Ole Forfang (Norway)  
82Dmitrii Strakhov (Russian Federation)  
83Erik Sandersson (Sweden)  
84Sam Dobbs (New Zealand)  
85Kristoffer Halvorsen (Norway)  
86Piet Allegaert (Belgium)  
87Florian Nowak (Germany)  
88Tobias S. Foss (Norway)  
89James Knox (Great Britain)0:06:28 
90Alan Banaszek (Poland)0:07:34 
91Soufiane Sahbaoui (Morocco)  
92Neilson Powless (United States Of America)  
93Nickolas Zukowsky (Canada)  
94Sergio Samitier Samitier (Spain)  
95Scott Davies (Great Britain)0:09:16 
96André Carvalho (Portugal)  
97Ethan Hayter (Great Britain)  
98Jakub Otruba (Czech Republic)  
99Jasper Philipsen (Belgium)  
100Barnabas Peak (Hungary)  
101Ivo Oliveira (Portugal)  
102Justin Oien (United States Of America)  
103Zahiri Abderrahim (Morocco)  
104Mohcine El Kouraji (Morocco)0:11:07 
105Andrej Petrovski (Macedonia)  
106Pit Leyder (Luxembourg)  
107Szymon Sajnok (Poland)  
108Julius Van Den Berg (Netherlands)  
109Bram Welten (Netherlands)  
110Senne Leysen (Belgium)  
111Atsushi Oka (Japan)0:13:24 
112Dinmukhammed Ulysbayev (Kazakhstan)0:16:13 
113Gustav Hoog (Sweden)  
114Matteo Moschetti (Italy)  
115Jan Andrej Cully (Slovakia)0:17:04 
116Awet Habtom Tekle (Eritrea)  
117Darragh O'mahony (Ireland)  
118Abderrahmane Mansouri (Algeria)  
119Orluis Aular (Venezuela)  
120Syver Westgaard Waersted (Norway)  
121Regan Gough (New Zealand)  
DNFJack Burke (Canada)  
DNFBenjamin Brkic (Austria)  
DNFYahor Shpakouski (Belarus)  
DNFBrandon Mcnulty (United States Of America)  
DNFJaime Castrillo Zapater (Spain)  
DNFJason Andrey Huertas Araya (Costa Rica)  
DNFPatrick Haller (Germany)  
DNFMykyta Zubenko (Ukraine)  
DNFKa Hoo Fung (Hong Kong, China)  
DNFIan Garrison (United States Of America)  
DNFEriks Toms Gavars (Latvia)  
DNFLuis Ricardo Villalobos Hernandez (Mexico)  
DNFMarkus Freiberger (Austria)  
DNFUladzimir Harakhavik (Belarus)  
DNFRei Onodera (Japan)  
DNFAndreas Miltiadis (Cyprus)  
DNFIslam Mansouri (Algeria)  
DNFTegshbayar Batsaikhan (Mongolia)  
DNFYacine Hamza (Algeria)  
DNFIlya Volkau (Belarus)  
DNFAdam Stenson (Ireland)  
DNFSaymon Musie Mehari (Eritrea)  
DNFNorman Vahtra (Estonia)  
DNFVasili Strokau (Belarus)  
DNFKlavs Rubenis (Latvia)  
DNFSamuel Mugisha (Rwanda)  
DNFJose Fernandes (Portugal)  
DNFDaniel Moricz (Hungary)  
DNFElgun Alizada (Azerbaijan)  
DNFEl Mehdi Chokri (Morocco)  
DNFAlexander Cowan (Canada)  
DNFJanos Zsombor Pelikan (Hungary)  
DNFPier-Andre Cote (Canada)  
DNFMarc-Antoine Soucy (Canada)  
DNFMatthew Teggart (Ireland)  
DNFMatias Alejandro Munoz Tapia (Chile)  
DNFKarl-Arnold Vendelin (Estonia)  
DNFJohn Anderson Rodriguez Salazar (Colombia)  
DNFMasaki Yamamoto (Japan)  
DNFNikolay Genov (Bulgaria)  
DNFJoseph Areruya (Rwanda)  
DNFMusa Mikayilzade (Azerbaijan)  
DNFZemenfes Selemun (Eritrea)  
DNFDaniel Jara Rodriguez (Costa Rica)  
DNFMehari Tesfatsion (Eritrea)  
DNFZisis Soulios (Greece)  
DNFVitaliy Novakovskyi (Ukraine)  
DNFTomas Contte (Argentina)  
DNFSilver Maoma (Estonia)  
DNFFabio Jakobsen (Netherlands)  
DNFJoni Kanerva (Finland)  
DNFVictor Langellotti (Monaco)  
DNFAttila Valter (Hungary)  
DNFRoy Roukoz (Lebanon)  
DNFOmer Goldshtein (Israel)  
DNSChristofer Jurado Lopez (Panama)  
DNSCharles Kagimu (Uganda)  

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