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Conclusions after the 2015 World Championships

Peter Sagan put to rest his inner demons and managed to land a huge victory for which he worked hard, especially in the second half of the season. After crashing out of the Vuelta a España, the 25-year-old Slovak rider of Tinkoff-Saxo traveled to the US and did a recon of the course, as he wanted to make sure of knowing every meter of the Richmond circuit. Then, in the day of the race, he decided to go all in on one card: that of an attack on the penultimate climb of the final lap, which helped him get clear and take the first huge victory of a career which should see many moments like the one in Richmond, especially as Sagan broke the duck and looks to be more mature in the way he thinks and acts during a race.

Michael Matthews was tipped for greatness on the Richmond course, especially as his development throughout the 2015 season was really outstanding. Australia did a perfect race on Sunday, that is until the last kilometer, when Simon Gerrans decided to work for himself and sprint for a medal, instead of chasing Peter Sagan and launching his teammate. It’s difficult to say if Matthews could have won the gold medal in case his countryman would have worked for him, but what happened in the Aussie team will go down in history as one of the many controversies that have emerged at the Worlds. As for Michael Matthews, although he has a bitter taste after Richmond, he should look to the future with optimism, because he’s jsut 25-years-old and other opportunities will surely come and he’ll have the chance of becoming the first U23 world champion to conquer the title in the pro ranks.

Italy entered the road race as one of the most solid, balanced and dangerous teams, despite not having a rider perfectly suited to this type of course. Vincenzo Nibali was in great form and everyone’s money was on an attack of the triple Grand Tour winner, which never came. Diego Ulissi was another name which sprang into mind for a late surge, but it also didn’t happen, the Lampre-Merida cyclist being almost invisible. Actually, the only cyclist of the “Squadra Azzurra” to make himself noticed was Elia Viviani, who followed a dangerous move in the closing stages of the race, without any luck, as his group was caught. Eventually, Giacomo Nizzolo came 18th, a disappointing outcome for Davide Cassani’s team, who needs to wait for at least one more year in order to fight for the gold medal.

The individual time trial provided one of the biggest surprises ever seen at the World Championships. Vasil Kiryienka, already winner of the similar race at the European Games in Baku, more than three months ago, put on a very strong ride in Richmond, which netted him the most important victory of his career. Bronze in Valkenburg, the 34-year-old Belarusian now took gold ahead of an Adriano Malori who proved that he has fully developed and can fight for the rainbow jersey at the future editions, after bringing Italy just its second medal in the discipline at the Worlds (first one came in 1994, when the time trial was introduced). Jerome Coppel rounded out the podium last Wednesday, showing some of the potential that made his countrymen predict a nice career when the French turned pro, back in 2008.

A first year neo-pro, Kevin Ledanois outwitted the pack with an attack on the penultimate climb and surged clear to become just the third U23 World Champion from France, in what was one of the most thrilling finishes the event has ever seen. Showing exceptional grit and determination, the 22-year-old rider of Bretagne-Séché attacked on the hardest part of the course and seized the moment, going all the way and getting a win that will redefine his career up until this point, but which will also add up to the expectations for 2016. Next year, Ledanois is going to be watched much closely and with a huge interest to find out if he can confirm, especially as his contract with the Pro Continental outfit will be up at the end of the season.

One year ago, Mads Würtz Schmitz wasn’t experiencing the best period of his career: the talented Danish rider was hit by crashes and injuries, and was overlooked by the national team for the Ponferrada World Championships, before taking a step back by signing with Continental team ColoQuick, as his team at that time – Cult Energy – decided not to extend his contract, just as it was preparing to apply for a Pro Continental licence. Despite this, Wurtz Schmidt didn’t give up, continued to work hard in order to return stronger, and eventually the results came in the second half of this season: U23 time trial national champion, winner of the ITT stage in the Denmark Rundt and of the world title. Now, after becoming just the fourth rider in history to take the rainbow jersey in both Junior and U23 races, Mads Würtz Schmitz can patiently wait for the World Tour teams to give him a call. More than sure, he’ll be a busy man in the next couple of weeks.

Just 19-years-old, Lennard Kämna looks to be the most fascinating prospect of the 1996 generation, his impressive palmares standing as testimony: Junior and U23 time trial national champion, Junior ITT world champion, Bundesliga and German Hill Climb champion, stage winner in Trofeo Karlsberg and the Giro della Valle d’Aosta. In Richmond, riding his first ever U23 World Championships, he came third in the individual time trial – just 21 seconds adrift – and tenth in the road race, two results which underlined his huge stamina, fantastic versatility and unlimited potential (for both time trials and stage races), attributes which are good omens for a great future. An extra reason to follow him closely in 2016, when he’ll turn pro with Cult Energy-Stölting Group.

2015 World Championships – Road Race Stats

Richmond RR

Historical stats

– Alfredo Binda, Rik Van Steenbergen, Eddy Merckx and Oscar Freire are the riders with the most victories, three

– Rik Van Steenbergen holds the record for the largest time span between the first and the last win: 8 years

– Belgium leads in the nations standings, with 26 victories

– Karel Kaers is the youngest ever winner (20 years in 1934), while Joop Zoetemelk is the oldest one (38 years in 1985)

– Copenhagen has hosted the event five times, a record for the World Championships

– Italy is the country which held the most editions, 12

– Up until this point, 15 countries have had at least one world champion: Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, U.S.A.

– Only six countries from outside of Europe have hosted the event: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Japan, U.S.A. and Venezuela

– Cadel Evans is the sole rider from the southern emisphere to take the victory (2009)

– Five cyclists have successfully defended their title: Georges Ronsse, Rik Van Steenbergen, Rik van Looy, Gianni Bugno and Paolo Bettini

– Alejandro Valverde has the most medals, six: two silver and four bronze ones

– In 1931, there wasn’t a road race, but a 172 km-long individual time trial won by Italy’s Learco Guerra

– Biggest ever winning margin was recorded at the 1928 edition, in Budapest, when Georges Ronsse came home 19:43 ahead of Herbert Nebe

– Longest edition (297,5 kilometers) took place in Copenhagen, in 1937, and was won by Eloi Meulenberg; Denmark’s capital played host also to the shortest one, in 1931 (172 kilometers)

– On 12 occasions, the world title was won by a rider of the host nation

– No U23 world champion has ever managed to take the title in the elite race

2015 stats

– The World Championships are hosted by the US for the second time in history, 29 years after Moreno Argentin’s triumph

– The course is 261,4 kilometers-long and has an elevation gain of more than 1600 meters

– Each of the 16 laps includes three climbs: Libby Hill (215 meters, 8% average, 9% maximum), 23rd Street (185 meters, 12% average, 13% maximum) and Governor Street (295 meters, 7% average, 8% maximum)

– 190 riders representing 44 countries will be at the start line in Richmond

– Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert, Rui Costa and Michal Kwiatkowski are the former winners of the rainbow jersey who will line-up for the race

– Etixx-Quick Step is the trade team with the most riders in the event: 13

– Tiesj Benoot (21 years) is the youngest cyclist in the race, while Gonzalo Garrido (42 years) is the oldest one

2015 World Championships – ITT Stats

Richmond ITT

Historical stats

– Fabian Cancellara holds the record for the most wins, four

– The same Fabian Cancellara has the most medals: besides the four gold ones, he also got three bronze medals

– Germany leads the nations standings, with six victories

– Youngest ever champion is Michael Rogers, who was 23 at the time he first won the title (2003)

– Bradley Wiggins is the oldest ever champion: 34 years in 2014

– Most editions of the event took part in Italy, who got to host the ITT World Championships five times

– Only four countries from outside of Europe got to host the race: Australia, Canada, Colombia and the United States

– Eight nations won gold at least once: Australia, Colombia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Switzerland and Ukraine

– Only non-European riders to land the victory are Santiago Botero (Colombia) and Michael Rogers (Australia)

– Fabian Cancellara, Tony Martin and Michael Rogers are the cyclists who have successfully defended their title

– Fabian Cancellara and Alex Zülle are the only riders who have won the gold medal on home turf

– Largest ever winning margin was recorded in 2009 – 1:27 between Fabian Cancellara and Gustav Larsson

– Smallest ever gap was in 2003, when Michael Rogers and Uwe Peschel were separated by half a second

– Shortest race took place in Lisbon, 14 years ago: 38,7 kilometers

– Longest edition was in Florence, in 2013: 57,9 kilometers

2015 stats

– The course is 53 kilometers-long and has a total altitude gain of 245 meters

– 41 countries will have at least one cyclists in Richmond

– Of these riders, six have scored a World Tour win in a time trial this season: Marcin Bialoblocki, Rohan Dennis, Tom Dumoulin, Vasil Kiryienka, Adriano Malori and Tony Martin

– Australia has the most cyclists in the race – three – as a result of Michael Hepburn’s victory at the Oceania Championships

– Astana is the team which has the most riders at this edition, six

– Tony Martin is the only former winner of the rainbow jersey to be at the start

– If the German comes first, then he’ll equal Fabian Cancellara’s record of four victories

– Stefan Küng (21 years) is the youngest cyclist in the race, while Gustav Larsson (35 years) is the oldest one

2015 World Championships – Road Race Startlist

Argentina: Daniel Diaz, Maximiliano Richeze.

Australia: Simon Clarke, Mitchell Docker, Luke Durbridge, Simon Gerrans, Adam Hansen, Heinrich Haussler, Mathew Hayman, Michael Matthews, Jay McCarthy.

Austria: Marco Haller, Georg Preidler, Lukas Pöstlberger.

Belarus: Yauheni Hutarovich, Vasil Kiryienka, Kanstantsin Siutsou.

Belgium: Tiesj Benoot, Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Jens Keukeleire, Nikolas Maes, Greg Van Avermaet, Stijn Vandenbergh, Sep Vanmarcke.

Brazil: Antonio Garnero, Kleber Ramos.

Canada: Ryan Anderson, Guillaume Boivin, Antoine Duchesne, Hugo Houle, Ryan Roth, Michael Woods.

Chile: Gonzalo Garrido.

Colombia: Carlos Alzate, Winner Anacona, Edwin Avila, Alex Cano, Daniel Jaramillo, Miguel Angel Lopez, Jarlinson Pantano, Carlos Quintero, Rigoberto Uran.

Costa Rica: Andrey Amador, Juan Carlos Rojas, Cesar Rojas Villegas.

Croatia: Kristijan Durasek, Radoslav Rogina.

Czech Republic: Jan Barta, Karel Hnik, Roman Kreuziger, Jiri Polnicky, Zdenek Stybar, Peter Vakoč.

Denmark: Lars Ytting Bak, Matti Breschel, Rasmus Guldhammer, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Michael Mørkøv, Michael Valgren.

Ecuador: Byron Guama.

Eritrea: Mekseb Debesay.

Estonia: Tanel Kangert, Rein Taaramäe.

France: Julian Alaphilippe, Nacer Bouhanni, Mickael Delage, Arnaud Démare, Tony Gallopin, Cyril Lemoine, Sebastien Minard, Julien Simon, Florian Vachon.

Germany: John Degenkolb, Johannes Fröhlinger, Simon Geschke, André Greipel, Christian Knees, Paul Martens, Tony Martin, Marcel Sieberg, Paul Voss.

Great Britain: Steven Cummings, Alex Dowsett, Andrew Fenn, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Scott Thwaites, Adam Yates.

Greece: Polychronis Tzortzakis.

Guatemala: Manuel Rodas.

Italy: Daniele Bennati, Fabio Felline, Vincenzo Nibali, Giacomo Nizzolo, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Matteo Trentin, Diego Ulissi, Elia Viviani.

Ireland: Sam Bennett, Connor Dunne.

Japan: Yukiya Arashiro, Fumiyuki Beppu, Kohei Uchima.

Kazakhstan: Arman Kamyshev, Alexey Lutsenko, Ruslan, Tleubayev.

Latvia: Gatis Smukulis.

Lithuania: Gediminas Bagdonas, Ramunas Navardauskas, Evaldas Siskevicius.

Luxembourg: Laurent Didier, Jean-Pierre Drucker, Alex Kirsch.

Netherlands: Lars Boom, Tom Dumoulin, Sebastian Langeveld, Pim Ligthart Robert Gesink, Bauke Mollema, Niki Terpstra, Dylan van Baarle, Jos van Emden.

New Zeeland: Sam Bewley, Greg Henderson, Jesse Sergent.

Norway: Edvald Boasson Hagen, Vegard Breen, Sven Erik Bystrøm, Alexander Kristoff, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Vegard Stake Laengen.

Poland: Maciej Bodnar, Michal Golas, Michal Kwiatkowski, Rafal Majka, Tomasz Marczynski, Maciej Paterski.

Portugal: Rui Costa, Jose Gonçalves, Nelson Oliveira.

Romania: Serghei Tvetcov.

Russia: Pavel Brutt, Sergei Chernetskiy, Pavel Kochetkov, Sergey Lagutin, Alexey Tsatevich, Ilnur Zakarin.

Serbia: Ivan Stevic.

Slovakia: Michael Kolar, Juraj Sagan, Peter Velits.

Slovenia: Grega Bole, Borut Bozic, Kristijan Koren, Marko Kump, Luka Mezgec, Luka Pibernik.

South Africa: Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Daryl Impey.

South Korea: Sung Baek Park, Joon Yong Seo.

Spain: Imanol Erviti, Ion Izagirre, Juan Jose Lobato, Lluis Mas, Daniel Moreno, Ruben Plaza, Joaquim Rodriguez, Luis Leon Sanchez, Alejandro Valverde.

Switzerland: Michael Albasini, Silvan Dillier, Gregory Rast.

Ukraine: Vitaliy Buts, Andriy Grivko, Andriy Khripta, Mykhaylo Kononenko, Denys Kostyuk, Oleksandr Polivoda.

United States: Brent Bookwalter, Lawson Craddock, Tyler Farrar, Alex Howes, Ben King, Taylor Phinney.

2015 World Championships – ITT Startlist

Andorra: David Albos.

Argentina: Manuel Rodas.

Australia: Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn.

Austria: Matthias Brändle, Lukas Pöstlberger.

Belarus: Vasil Kiryienka, Kanstantsin Siutsou.

Belgium: Yves Lampaert, Jurgen Van Den Broeck.

Bulgaria: Nikolay Mihaylov.

Canada: Hugo Houle, Ryan Roth.

Colombia: Rigoberto Uran.

Czech Republic: Jan Barta, Peter Vakoč.

Denmark: Christopher Juul-Jensen, Rasmus Quaade.

Dominican Republic: Rafael Meran, Norlandy Taveras.

Ecuador: Segundo Navarrete, Carlos Eduardo Quishpe.

Eritrea: Mekseb Debesay.

Estonia: Tanel Kangert, Rein Taaramäe.

France: Jerome Coppel, Romain Sicard.

Germany: Nikias Arndt, Tony Martin.

Great Britain: Stephen Cummings, Alex Dowsett.

Greece: Polychronis Tzortzakis, Neofytos Sakellaridis.

Italy: Adriano Malori, Moreno Moser.

Kazakhstan: Daniil Fominykh, Alexey Lutsenko.

Latvia: Aleksejs Saramotins, Gatis Smukulis.

Lithuania: Gediminas Bagdonas, Ramunas Navardauskas.

Macedonia: Georgi Popstefanov.

Moldova: Alexandr Pliuschin.

Mongolia: Tuulkhangai Tuguldur.

Netherlands: Tom Dumoulin, Wilco Kelderman.

New Zealand: Sam Bewley, Jesse Sergent.

Norway: Vegard Stake Laengen, Andreas Vangstad.

Poland: Marcin Bialoblocki, Maciej Bodnar.

Portugal: Nelson Oliveira.

Qatar: Ahmed Albourdainy.

Romania: Serghei Tvetcov.

Russia: Artem Ovechkin, Ilnur Zakarin.

Rwanda: Adrien Niyonshuti.

Spain: Jonathan Castroviejo, Luis Leon Sanchez.

Sweden: Gustav Larsson, Tobias Ludvigsson.

Switzerland: Silvan Dillier, Stefan Küng.

Ukraine: Andriy Grivko.

United States: Lawson Craddock, Taylor Phinney.

Uzbekistan: Muradjan Halmuratov.

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