Elite Men Road Race: Herning - Herning
Alexander Kristoff (Norway) used his experience, his power and his sprinting skills to win the European road race championships in Herning, Denmark, beating Elia Viviani (Italy) after a close sprint along the barriers.
Kristoff led out the sprint into the headwind, and left enough room for Viviani to come up along the barriers but squeezed the gap just enough as the barriers followed an irregular curve so that the Italian hesitated slightly. Kristoff and Viviani went shoulder to shoulder in the final metres, even touching at one point before both made a desperate bike throw at the finish line. Viviani seemed to be in front but Kristoff made a final lunge and the photo finish showed that he won it by a tyre width.
Viviani was not happy that Kristoff squeezed him so close to the barriers. He waved his finger in protest but after judges watched several replays of the sprint, they confirmed Kristoff as the new European champion. He will now wear the distinctive white and blue European champion's jersey for the next 12 months.
"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," Kristoff said, insisting he had ridden a clean sprint.
"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. 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 and 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."
Kristoff has endured a difficult season at Katusha-Alpecin. He struggled to land a big win in the Classics and was criticised by team management for being overweight. He fought for stage victories at the Tour de France but his best result was second on stage 4.
However, he is certainly a fighter and bounced back to win the RideLondon Surrey Classic WorldTour race last Sunday. Now he has added the European title to his palmares. During the week the UAE Team Emirates squad announced that Kristoff would leave Katusha-Alpecin for their team for the 2018 season, pending a medical check-up. He 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," he said. "We'll do the Arctic Tour of Norway, Hamburg, Plouay and the Tour of Britain before then. For sure there are enough races to try to win."
Kristoff emerged for the sprint after 241km of intense racing. The 20km circuit around Herning was fast but included several exposed sections that inspired attacks in the wind and some testing farm tracks that shook out the peloton.
The first half of the race was characterised by a three-rider break by Lukas Spengler (Switzerland), Nikolai Shumov (Belarus) and Anton Orn Elfarsson (Iceland). They managed to open a 12-minute gap but the peloton began to chase them, with the Danish, Norwegian and Italian teams doing the work.
Belgium and Denmark had promised to make the race hard and did so, splitting the peloton with 100km to go. Viviani missed the move and Boasson Hagen was caught behind after a puncture, sparking a hectic chase by the Italians behind as Belgium and Denmark drove the front group along and quickly swept up the early break.
It was a crucial moment in the race but the Italians stayed calm and united, working together to gradually close the gap. The peloton came back together with 80km to go.
A lap later Jens Keukeleire (Belgium) and Imanol Erviti (Spain) jumped away and were soon joined by Pirmin Lang (Switzerland). They opened a 30-second gap but Italy wisely let them hang out front to avoid further attacks.
The race returned gruppo compatto with 38km to go, with numerous riders forced to chase after flats caused by the rough road surface.
Keukeleire and Boasson Hagen tried to drag an attack clear but the sprinter's teams became more and more confident it was going to be their day. Luis Leon Sanchez tried his hand with 10km to go but the move was quickly brought to heel. However, Keukeleire attacked on a rise and got a gap with Boasson Hagen. They were joined by Nikolay Trusov (Russia).
Suddenly it was a pursuit match for the final seven kilometres. The stronger nations hesitated and so the trio opened a 200-metre gap and took advantage of a tailwind.
The French team eventually hit the front in pursuit, bringing the gap down before the Italians took over. Boasson Hagen refused to give up hope and made a solo attack with a kilometre to go. He was strong and fast but there was little he could do in the strong headwind in the finishing straight.
The peloton caught him with 300 metres to go, with a crash taking down riders and ruining the chances of others.
Kristoff was perfectly placed, as was Viviani. But the Italian hesitated before diving into the tight gap along the barriers. Kristoff kept his line but squeezed the gap just enough, so that he, and not Viviani, was first to the line.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||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)|
|7||Aksel Nõmmela (Estonia)|
|8||Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spain)|
|9||Pawel Franczak (Poland)|
|10||Michal Kolár (Slovakia)|
|11||Sam Bennett (Ireland)|
|12||Erik Baska (Slovakia)|
|13||Emils Liepins (Latvia)|
|14||Bryan Coquard (France)|
|15||Ivan Savitckii (Russian Federation)|
|16||Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spain)|
|17||Jens Debusschere (Belgium)|
|18||Luka Pibernik (Slovenia)|
|19||Daniel Auer (Austria)|
|20||Eugert Zhupa (Albania)|
|21||Fabio Sabatini (Italy)|
|22||Wouter Wippert (Netherlands)|
|23||Jonas Koch (Germany)|
|24||Jose Rojas (Spain)|
|25||Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark)|
|26||Ylber Sefa (Albania)||0:00:09|
|27||Patrik Tybor (Slovakia)|
|28||Maciej Paterski (Poland)|
|29||Koen De Kort (Netherlands)|
|30||František Sisr (Czech Republic)|
|31||Krisztián Lovassy (Hungary)|
|32||Gediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania)|
|33||Josef Cerný (Czech Republic)|
|34||Matthias Reutimann (Switzerland)|
|35||Tiago Machado (Portugal)||0:00:12|
|36||Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway)||0:00:13|
|37||Daniel Hoelgaard (Norway)|
|38||Lars Bak Ytting (Denmark)|
|39||Jan Bárta (Czech Republic)|
|40||Mario Vogt (Germany)|
|41||Jan-André Freuler (Switzerland)|
|42||Joshua Huppertz (Germany)|
|43||Charalampos Kastrantas (Greece)|
|44||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)|
|45||Victor De La Parte (Spain)|
|46||Anthony Roux (France)|
|47||Ahmet Orken (Turkey)|
|48||Alexander Krieger (Germany)||0:00:17|
|49||Sergei Shilov (Russian Federation)|
|50||Matej Mohoric (Slovenia)||0:00:21|
|51||Maris Bogdanovics (Latvia)||0:00:27|
|52||Hector Carretero (Spain)|
|53||Hugo Hofstetter (France)|
|54||Imanol Erviti (Spain)|
|55||Nikolas Maes (Belgium)|
|56||Maurits Lammertink (Netherlands)|
|57||Luis León Sanchez (Spain)|
|58||Jon Irisarri Rincon (Spain)|
|59||Sean Mckenna (Ireland)|
|60||Lukas Spengler (Switzerland)|
|61||Michal Golas (Poland)|
|62||Kamil Gradek (Poland)|
|63||Truls Korsæth (Norway)||0:00:31|
|64||Nico Denz (Germany)|
|65||Markus Eibegger (Austria)|
|66||Roberto Ferrari (Italy)|
|67||Michael Morkov (Denmark)||0:00:35|
|68||Jacopo Guarnieri (Italy)|
|69||José Mendes (Portugal)||0:00:37|
|70||Pirmin Lang (Switzerland)||0:00:38|
|71||Marco Mathis (Germany)|
|72||Mickael Delage (France)|
|73||Kevin Ledanois (France)|
|74||Iljo Keisse (Belgium)||0:00:45|
|75||Andre Looij (Netherlands)|
|76||Maarten Wynants (Belgium)|
|77||Bert Van Lerberghe (Belgium)|
|78||Jasper De Buyst (Belgium)|
|79||Paulius Siskevicius (Lithuania)|
|80||Lars Van Der Haar (Netherlands)|
|81||Wim Stroetinga (Netherlands)|
|82||Jesus Herrada (Spain)||0:00:50|
|83||Steven Lammertink (Netherlands)|
|84||Jelle Wallays (Belgium)||0:00:54|
|85||Karol Domagalski (Poland)|
|86||Salvatore Puccio (Italy)||0:00:57|
|87||Pawel Bernas (Poland)||0:00:59|
|88||Davide Ballerini (Italy)|
|89||Rok Korošec (Slovenia)|
|90||Clement Venturini (France)||0:01:04|
|91||Matti Breschel (Denmark)||0:01:19|
|92||Jens Keukeleire (Belgium)||0:01:29|
|93||Nikolai Shumov (Belarus)||0:01:33|
|94||Mads Würtz Schmidt (Denmark)|
|95||Daniel Crista (Romania)||0:01:46|
|96||Davide Cimolai (Italy)||0:01:50|
|97||Raphael Freienstein (Germany)||0:02:04|
|98||Nikolay Trusov (Russian Federation)|
|99||Artur Ershov (Russian Federation)|
|100||Péter Kusztor (Hungary)||0:02:06|
|101||Juraj Sagan (Slovakia)||0:02:13|
|102||Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Russian Federation)||0:02:41|
|103||Alexander Porsev (Russian Federation)|
|104||Alois Kankovský (Czech Republic)|
|105||Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Norway)||0:02:47|
|106||Grzegorz Stepniak (Poland)|
|107||Flavien Dassonville (France)||0:03:39|
|108||Roland Thalmann (Switzerland)|
|109||Dylan Page (Switzerland)|
|110||Simone Consonni (Italy)|
|111||Christopher Juul Jensen (Denmark)|
|112||Damien Shaw (Ireland)|
|113||Alo Jakin (Estonia)||0:03:44|
|114||Matej Mugerli (Slovenia)||0:04:28|
|115||August Jensen (Norway)|
|116||David Per (Slovenia)|
|117||Marko Kump (Slovenia)|
|118||Torkil Veyhe (Denmark)||0:04:44|
|119||Nicolai Nielsen (Denmark)|
|120||Alexander Kamp (Denmark)|
|121||Benjamin Thomas (France)||0:04:45|
|122||Johan Le Bon (France)||0:04:47|
|123||Andris Vosekalns (Latvia)||0:10:42|
|124||Jonas Rapp (Germany)||0:11:43|
|125||Nazim Bakirci (Turkey)|
|DNF||Filippo Ganna (Italy)|
|DNS||Nick Van Der Lijke (Netherlands)|
|DNF||Adrian Banaszek (Poland)|
|DNF||Marcin Bialoblocki (Poland)|
|DNS||Sondre Enger (Norway)|
|DNF||Jan Tratnik (Slovenia)|
|DNF||Marek Canecky (Slovakia)|
|DNF||Filip Taragel (Slovakia)|
|DNS||Ryan Mullen (Ireland)|
|DNS||Rúben Guerreiro (Portugal)|
|DNF||Rafael Reis (Portugal)|
|DNF||Martin Laas (Estonia)|
|DNF||Muhammet Atalay (Turkey)|
|DNF||Feritcan Samli (Turkey)|
|DNS||Aleksandar Aleksiev (Bulgaria)|
|DNS||Zsolt Dér (Hungary)|
|DNF||Eduard Michael Grosu (Romania)|
|DNF||Nicolae Tanovitchii (Republic of Moldova)|
|DNF||Xhuliano Kamberaj (Albania)|
|DNF||Oscar Cabanas Quintela (Andorra)|
|DNF||Albert Gómez Genies (Andorra)|
|DNF||Julio Pintado Madrigal (Andorra)|
|DNF||Anton Örn Elfarsson (Iceland)|
|DNS||Goran Cerovic (Montenegro)|
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