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UEC Road European Championship 2017: Elite Men Road Race

Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the Elite men's road race. 

 

UEC Road European Championship hub page

 

Campenaerts wins European time trial title

 

Marianne Vos wins European Championship road race

 

 

As we join the action in Herning, there are still 120km of the 241,2km left to race. 

The first half of the race has been shaped by the break of a trio of riders.

 

Lukas Spengler (Switzerland), Nikolai Shumov (Belarus) e Anton Orn Elfarsson (Iceland) attacked early and managed to pen a 12 minute gap.

 

The peloton has since upped the speed in pursuit and the gap is down to 6:40.

 

Some of the strongest nations are helping with the gradual chase, including Italy, Belgium and Norway.

 

Truls Korsaeth (Norway) and Torkhil Veihe (Denmark), with some help from Davide Ballerini (Italy), are leading the peloton as they chase the break. 

 

All the big-name leaders seem happy to sit in the peloton and wait for the final laps and then expected high-speed sprint finish. 

 

Finally we have some action. 

 

The Danish team has decided to shake up the peloton and test their strength in the cross wind sections of the 20km circuit.  

 

The Danish attacks has caught out the Italians, with Viviani in the second group. 

 

His teammates have to lead the chase.  

 

95km remaining from 241km

The Belgian team also has strength in numbers up front and so is helping to drive the peloton.

 

They have already swept up the remains of the early attack.

 

Edvald Boasason Hagen has also missed out on the split and must now hope the Italians can close the gap.

 

 

But upfront the Belgian and Danes are working hard to keep the gap at 1:00.  

 

The Belgians and Danes took advantage of a heavy rain shower to go on the attack. 

 

The roads are still wet with the win blowing too. The race has become like a spring Classic.  

 

Iljo Keisse dropped out of the front group but the Belgian are not waiting for him. The race is on.

 

The whole Italian team is working to close the gap. It is down to 40 seconds as the white Italian jerseys mass on the front and work hard. 

 

After the rain, the sun is now out but more rain could fall soon. There are huge grey clouds over the course. 

 

84km remaining from 241km

The Italians can now see the tail of the front group. 

 

Their hard work has worked but it will be interesting to see the cost of their effort in the finale of the race.

 

Gruppo compatto! Viviani and Boasson Hagen will be happy to back with the leaders. 

 

The peloton passes through the feed zone, grabbing musettes and bottles after a hectic 20 minutes of racing. 

 

The riders now face four laps of intense racing.

 

There are around 80 riders in the peloton after the Belgian/Danish attack. 

 

The Italians have wisely moved up to the front of the peloton to avoid any further surprises.

 

The average speed has been 40.84km/h for the first four hours of racing. 

 

It will surely be much faster for the final 80km.

 

A cross wind is again making it hard as the Dane's keep the pace high. 

 

The pace eases as the route switches from the exposed wide roads to smaller country roads. 

 

The 20km circuit offers several such possibilities to attack and split the peloton. 

 

Theuns suffers a rear flat but is quickly serviced by the Belgian mechanics and starts to chase.

 

 

 

There have been many punctures today as in the last few days. According to reports in Italy, the road surface in Denmark can cause flats when it becomes wet. 

 

It could play a big part in the race today. Boasson Hagen has already learnt that. 

 

 

Filippo Ganna and Ledanois of France are the latest victims.

 

Upfront we have anew attack, with Boasson Hagen in the dozen riders. However the peloton is chasing them down.

 

70km remaining from 241km

Boasson Hagen is trying to inspire the attack but the other riders are not convinced it will stay away.

 

Sam Bennett is there for Ireland but other riders are not working. 

 

The peloton is lined out behind as the speed remains high.

 

 After riding through Herning, we have a new attack with Ermiti of Spain and Keukeleire of Belgium edging clear.

62km remaining from 241km

The two lead by 20 seconds but the peloton is not letting them get away at such a key point in the race.

 

 

The Italians lead the peloton through the finish with 60km and three laps to race.

 

Keukeleire and Ermiti hang off the front as the riders hit the exposed road.  

 

 

 

Lang of Switzerland manages to get across to the two but the Italian squadra is leading the peloton. 

 

The trio lead by 30 seconds but the Italians and the peloton seem happy with the situation.

 

 

52km remaining from 241km

The gap is up to 50 seconds as the peloton takes is steady and the teams play poker about who should lead the chase. 

 

46km remaining from 241km

As the race heads back to Herning, the Danish team is helping Italy with the chase, brining the gap back to 35 seconds on the trio.

 

This seems to be the quiet before the final attacks in the last 40km and final two laps of the race.

Keukeleire, Lang and Ermiti are working smoothly together up front but they're also waiting for something to happen. 

41km remaining from 241km

More riders are forced to stop for wheel changes due to flats. The Danish road surface is hitting lots of teams hard.

 

The trip up front blast through the feed zone, as does the peloton just 20 seconds behind. 

 

Into the finishing straight, with two 20km laps to go, the peloton can see the trio up the road.

 

The riders are about to enter the fifth hour of racing. They face a total distance of 241km today.

 

The gap to the break is just 15 seconds as the peloton hits an exposed section of road. 

An attack is in the air.

 

38km remaining from 241km

Gruppo compatto yet again. But for how long? 

 

Eugert Zhupa of Albania is the latest rider to flat as the race cuts through the Danish fields, with the peloton lined out. 

 

Here we go! 

 

Keukeleire surges away again, with other riders on his wheel. 

 

 

But the peloton reacts and chases in the twisting lanes. 

 

The Belgian team promised a hard, aggressive race and they seem determined to try to force a split.  

 

Most other nations are hoping for a sprint finish.

 

France has Bryan Coquard, Italy has Elia Viviani, Norway has Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen, while home nation Denmark has Magnus Cort Nielsen.   

 

30km remaining from 241km

All of those nations are trying to control and neutralise any attacks and surges up front. 

 

Flat for Juan Jose Lobato (Spain) as the Belgians go on the attack. 

 

Keisse surges away and then flicks his elbow to convince other riders to come through and work.  

 

25km remaining from 241km

Bagdonas  tries an attack but now the Italians are taking control of the peloton.  

 

Jelle Wallays attacks for Belgium but the peloton is vigilant now.

 

20km remaining from 241km

The peloton is back in the finish area and hear the bell for the final lap. 

 

The French team is now taking charge, trying to keep the pace high and so set up Coquard for an eventual sprint. 

 

The speed is super fast now as Belgium also hit the front. 

 

Boasson Hagen is there, watching for any attacks. He perhaps has the freedom to go in a move, while Kristoff is the Norwegian's protected sprinter.

 

Into the country lanes now, a perfect place to attack.  

 

17km remaining from 241km

Flat for Debuschere! That's a disaster for Belgium.

 

He stops to get a new wheel but faces a hectic high-speed chase to get back on for the sprint.

 

Debusschere is back on but now needs to get to the front of the peloton if he wants to contest the sprint.

 

13km remaining from 241km

Attack!

 

Luis Leon Sanchez is there for Spain, with half a dozen other riders trying their luck in the move. 

 

The riders are not working together and so the peloton hunts them down as they ride through a forest area.

 

No cross winds for now.

 

Davide Cimolai is in the attack, blocking for Italy.

 

8km remaining from 241km

The peloton is on the way back to Herning and a sprint is more and more likely.

 

Boasson Hagen is part of a late attack now but the peloton is on them. 

 

Keukeleire is with him, plus a Russian. 

 

4km remaining from 241km

The trio have a 200m lead. Can they stay away? 

 

The Russian rider is Trusov and has started to work. All three are committed.

 

Russian riders are blocking for Trusov.

 

Where are the Danes and the Italians? 

 

3km remaining from 241km

Juraj Sagan does a big turn now. The peloton can see the trio but on team wants to lead out the chase and sprint.

 

The trio still lead by 200 as they get help from a tailwind but it is a head wind in the final kilometre.

 

2km remaining from 241km

Here comes Italy! They hit the front for Viviani.  

 

Boasson Hagen goes solo! 

 

He has a gap. Can he stay away as he did at the Tour de France? 

 

He's fading. The peloton is coming!

 

Italy lead it out! 

 

Kristoff leads it out. 

 

Viviani was on the barriers but could have come through to win. 

 

We need a photo finish.

 

Kristoff made a late bike through and seems to have won it.

 

Other riders crashed in the sprint. 

 

Viviani was not happy that Kristoff closed him against. The two touched shoulders as they threw their bikes at the line.  

 

Viviani wagged his finger in protest just after the finish.

 

The barriers did not curve smoothly and so that makes it difficult for judges to rule if Kristoff damaged the Italian.  

 

Moreno Hofland of the Netherlands won the sprint for third place.

 

Confirmed result!

 

Kristoff is the 2017 European champion.

 

Viviani was right to protest but Kristoff rode a clever race, leaving room open for the Italian.  

 

Provisional result: 

 

1 Alexander Kristoff (Norway) 5:41:10
2 Elia Viviani (Italy)
3 Moreno Hofland (Netherlands)
4 Pascal Ackermann (Germany)
5 Luka Mezgec (Slovenia)
6 Edward Theuns (Belgium) 0:00:01
7 Aksel Nömmela (Estonia)
8 Ivan Garcia (Spain)
9 Pawel Franczak (Poland)
10 Michal Kolár (Slovakia)

 

This is the photo finish. 

 

 

Kristoff won it by a tyre but it was the head on video that was decisive. 

 

Race judges decided that Kristoff did not overly damage Viviani's chances in the sprint.

 

Kristoff is convinced he did not do anything wrong and is taken to the podium area. He will soon pull on the distinctive European champion's jersey. 

 

 

Kristoff waited with his teammates for the final result to be confirmed. He then punched the air. 

 

"I'm happy to be the winner. To win with such a small margin is always thrilling, but it's great to be the winner," he said.

 

Kristoff admitted it was a close sprint with Viviani but insisted he didn't do anything wrong.

 

"Italy had a good team and a strong lead out for Viviani. I started a bit earlier than him and I went to the right side," he explained.

 

 

Kristoff added:

 

"Then he tried to come on the inside. I didn't feel like I did anything wrong, but he tried to take a small hole. I didn't let him take the hole. He didn't really have the space to pass me there."

 

 

"In the end it was really close. I think he was disappointed, but I did not feel like I did anything wrong, I felt my sprint was more or less straight."

 

Here's a shot of Kristoff in the European champion's jersey from the race organisers.  

 

 

 

He is certainly a fighter after such a tough season and disappointing Tour de France. 

 

He won the RideLondon Surrey Classic WorldTour race last Sunday and has now added the Euro title to his palmares.

 

During the week the UAE Team Emirates squad announced that that Kristoff would leave Katusha-Alpecin for the 2018 season pending a medical check-up.

 

Kristoff celebrated his 30th birthday after the Tour de France and is now looking forward to the world championships at home in Bergen, Norway at the end of September. 

 

"Now the next goal is the World Championship for sure. We'll do Arctic, Hamburg, Plouay and (Tour of) Britain before this. For sure there are enough races to try to win," he said.

 

This shot shows Kristoff, Viviani and Hofland on the podium in Herning.

We'll have a full report and photo gallery very soon on Cyclingnews.

 

 

For a full report and photo gallery from the men's European road race, click here. 

 

Check our hub page for all the reports from the European championships.

 

We'll have further reaction and news soon. 

Join us for further live coverage during the week from the BinckBank Tour WorldTour stage race. 

 

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