Paris-Roubaix 2021: How to watch, route, top riders, women to make history

After Covid postponed, and then cancelled, the 2020 edition of Paris-Roubaix, the cobbled classic returns to the calendar in 2021 in an unfamiliar autumn slot.

For the first time ever there will be a women’s race – Paris-Roubaix Femmes – with an elite field assembled as history beckons.

Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal) is back to defend his title in the men’s race, with the action set to be as unpredictable as ever.

Cycling

In Tom Pidcock, Great Britain have a world champion in waiting

YESTERDAY AT 20:45

If you’re on the fence about tuning in, the weather forecast is looking decidedly wet, so there could be carnage on the cobbles…

When is Paris-Roubaix?

Paris-Roubaix Femmes is on Saturday October 2, with the men’s Paris-Roubaix on Sunday October 3.

How can I watch the race?

  • Paris-Roubaix Femmes from 13:15 BST on October 2
  • Paris Roubaix men’s from 9:25 BST on October 3
Watch live coverage on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.
You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries.

Watch the final kilometre of Paris-Roubaix

Who is riding?

Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) will start as favourite in the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes, with fellow Dutchwoman Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and Britain’s Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) in the hunt.

Newly-crowned world road race champion Elisa Balsamo (Valcar–Travel & Service) is also on the start list, as is Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) who will step into the team car in 2022 as a sports director. Anna van der Breggen has already made that jump and could make her first appearance in the team car on Saturday.

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) will bid to bounce back from heartbreak at the UCI Road World Championships in the men’s race, with familiar rival Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) also in the mix.

Defending champion Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal) returns to the cobbles, with 2018 champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) also hoping to be in contention along with Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo).

‘It would be special to be part of history’ – Deignan on inaugural women’s Paris-Roubaix

What is the route for the Paris-Roubaix?

Paris-Roubaix, men’s route: The men’s race is 257.7km long and takes in 30 cobbled sections after hitting the 96km mark.

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Paris-Roubaix Femmes route: The women’s race is 115.6km and takes in 17 cobbled sections after an easy opening 33km.

https://sportblogg.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/3228109.jpg

– – –

You can watch the 2021 Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Roubaix Femmes live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries.

World Championships

Van Aert ‘never attacks’, but Alaphilippe a ‘true champion’ – The Breakaway on ‘race for the ages’

YESTERDAY AT 20:19

World Championships

‘I have no words’ – Alaphilippe left speechless after sensationally retaining the rainbow jersey

26/09/2021 AT 15:54

Bauhaus avoids penalty to win CRO Race opening stage in sprint finish

Phil Bauhaus avoided a penalty when sprinting to victory in the opening stage of the six-day CRO Race on Tuesday.

The Bahrain Victorious rider appeared to impede Olav Kooij just before the finish line, but the result stood as the German claimed his seventh bunch-sprint win of the season.

“I don’t think there’s anything to complain about there,” Jacob Tipper said on Eurosport’s commentary.

Deutschland Tour

Kristoff sprints to victory in stage two of the Tour of Germany

27/08/2021 AT 16:31

“He does come across him but he’s taking the shortest line with the road swinging round to the right. He squeezed him a little bit, but he’s not interfering, it’s a pretty fair first and second place.”

The 237km opening stage went from Osijek to Varazdin, and was predominantly flat bar the category three climb with 40m to go.

Poland’s Marceli Boguslawski (HRE Mazowsze Serce Polski) was part of a five-man breakaway, and come the climb he held a 50-second lead over a chasing pack of four riders, with the peloton a minute further behind.

That lead evaporated in the space of 15 minutes, however, and with 27km to go even the peloton had caught Boguslawski to set up a grandstand finish.

Funda Ciclis Eusk duo Xabier Mikel Azparren and Luis Angel Mate then attempted a two-man charge for the finish line, but this did not last long.

Top 10 – Opening stage of CRO Race

Image credit: Eurosport

The end result was a sprint finish down the narrow streets of Varazdin, with Bauhaus crossing in first ahead of Kooij and escaping any punishment.

Wednesday’s 187km second stage is from Slunj to Otocac and features two category two climbs.

Deutschland Tour

Ackermann gets home Tour of Germany off to winning start

26/08/2021 AT 15:23

Deutschland Tour

Ackermann sprints to win in opening stage of home race

26/08/2021 AT 15:20

Molano strikes late to steal opening stage of Giro di Sicilia

Juan Sebastian Molano wins the opening 179km stage of the Giro di Sicilia in Licata.

UAE Team Emirates, Trek-Segfredo, Movistar, Israel Start-Up Nation led the peloton towards the finish, but it was Molano who seized the opportunity to win the stage late on.

He caught Vincenzo Albanese with 1.5km to go and crossed the line in a time of 4:40:58 with team-mate Maximiliano Richeze finishing third on the podium.

Giro di Sicilia

Molano snatches victory from Albanese on Stage 1

AN HOUR AGO

“The team was spectacular,” Molano said after the race.

“They controlled the stage all day, and in the end it was a final that suited me and Maxi very well. Alessandro [Covi] did a great job, Brandon [McNulty] too, and Cristian [Muñoz].

“In the final kilometre, Maxi and I knew there was an attacker ahead.

“We were both very strong. I dedicate this win to my team, my family and those who believe in me. It’s a victory that says that I was good at the Vuelta.

“I crashed in the Vuelta and I couldn’t finish it, but I didn’t let my head drop.

“Tomorrow suits me too, the climbs are perfect for me, I feel strong so I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Wednesday’s second stage is 173km from Selinunte to Mondello.

Cycling

Watch Lowden’s bid to break Hour Record on Eurosport

A DAY AGO

World Championships

‘We were always in control’ – Van Aert after road race disappointment

YESTERDAY AT 21:44

Watch Lowden’s bid to break Hour Record on Eurosport

Joss Lowden is bidding to break new ground on Thursday when attempting to set a new women’s UCI Hour Record.

The Drops-Le Col rider is heading to the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen, Switzerland, where she will be just the seventh female cyclist to attempt the hour-long feat since UCI unified regulations in 2014.

The Briton is hoping her bid to break the record will encourage other women to step forward and give it a go.

World Championships

‘We were always in control’ – Van Aert after road race disappointment

18 HOURS AGO

“I think it’s a good thing for women’s cycling that it’s happening,” Lowden said, per cyclingnews.

There’s been so much hype around the men doing it, but there’s not really enough about the women, so I’m hoping it will make other women try.

When to watch Lowden’s Hour Record bid

The event will be streamed live on Eurosport/D+ from 3.45pm BST on Thursday 30 September, with Lowden’s attempt starting at 4pm.

‘Tears running down my face’ – Magnus Backstedt on Eurosport comms after daughter Zoe wins gold

What is the women’s Hour Record?

Since the UCI unified regulations in 2014, six women have attempted the Hour Record as recognised by cycling’s world governing body.

Briton Dame Sarah Storey fell 563m short with her attempt in February, but American Molly Shaffer Van Houweling was then successful with a 46.273km ride six months later.

In January 2016, Australian Bridie O’Donnell set a new record with 46.882km, but a month later American Evelyn Stevens upped it to 47.980km.

New Zealand’s Jaime Nielsen was less than 200m short in her July 2017 bid, and though Italian VittoriaBussi fell short when recording 47.576km with her first attempt in October 2017, she is now the current record holder after posting 48.007km in September 2018 at the Aguascalientes velodrome in Mexico.

Lowden said: “It’s daunting. You kind of start to think ‘god, this is quite a big statement’. When you go for a world record you’re sort of saying ‘I’m better than any female who’s gone before me who’s tried this’. You kind of start to think ‘really? Is that really a statement I want to make?’

“My style is more to slip under the radar and go do things quietly, then afterwards go ‘ah that was really good’, but you realise that people want to see it, because it’s exciting.”

World Championships

‘I waited too long and I missed the race!’ – Pidcock disappointed after sixth-place finish

18 HOURS AGO

Cycling

In Tom Pidcock, Great Britain have a world champion in waiting

19 HOURS AGO

In Tom Pidcock, Great Britain have a world champion in waiting

“We weren’t riding on roads today, we were riding in a stadium.”

After 268km ridden at a blistering pace, that finished several minutes ahead of the fastest time scheduled, a soot-smeared Tom Pidcock still had the capacity to come up with a pin-sharp summary of the 2021 men’s UCI Road World Championships road race.

A few kilometres back up the road, he had not only the legs, but the psychological strength, to surge out of the group containing Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert, in order to secure as high a finish as he possibly could. Even though the win was out of sight at that point, and the podium too, he wasn’t prepared to settle for a simple top ten, or even to risk falling out of it altogether.

World Championships

Van Aert ‘never attacks’, but Alaphilippe a ‘true champion’ – The Breakaway on ‘race for the ages’

AN HOUR AGO

Tom Pidcock is about as far from “new” talent as someone his age can get.

He has been headline talent since he was still comfortably in his teens, when he won the 2017 junior Cyclocross World Championships in Bieles, Luxembourg. A few months after that he claimed victory in the Paris-Roubaix juniors race after launching a bold solo attack on the Carrefour de l’Arbre. In September that same year he became junior time trial world champion.

To list even the highlights of the highlights of his racing career in the years since would take more space than available, but it is safe to say that every question that has been asked of him he has answered, every set of steps has been taken two at a time.

The versatility Pidcock displayed as a kid has been maintained well into the senior ranks, culminating in an Olympic gold medal in mountain biking barely two weeks before taking to the start of his first Grand Tour.

As far round the block as he has been, it is hard to believe that he is just 22 years old, at the end of only his first season as a professional road racer, but it is important to remind ourselves that both of those things remain the case.

It has been a season in which he has given every indication that the highest level leadership duties lie ahead.

The results he has produced have been far above those which anyone would expect at this stage. No, he did not blow anyone away at La Vuelta, but every other part of the season, in particular his classics campaign, was an extraordinary success.

Third at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, 5th at Strade-Bianche, 15th after a monumental 299km of Milan-Sanremo. Pidcock achieved a first victory at Brabantse Pijl, beating Wout van Aert – WOUT VAN AERT – in the sprint. He almost managed to repeat the trick four days later at Amstel Gold, but the Belgian’s experience gave him the edge that day.

Aside from his results, there is the magnetic manner in which Pidcock rides. His instincts are those of the pure racer, while his tactical sense is that of a racer several years deeper into their career than he is. He rides without fear, never questioning whether or not he can act, or should, just trusting in his abilities, which have not let him down so far.

In Sunday’s World Championships road race, Pidcock was more than a match, physically as well as mentally, for the home favourite on home roads. He marked the right wheels, preserved his energy for when it mattered, and made it into the most important move at the end of the race.

Yet rather than seeing sixth for the success it was, he viewed it as an opportunity missed. He was waiting for the right moment to go, and waited too long, he said afterwards.

“I waited too long and I missed the race,” said the 22-year-old rider.

‘I waited too long and I missed the race!’ – Pidcock disappointed after sixth-place finish

There will be other opportunities. Countless incarnations of them. Like Julian Alaphilippe himself, it is hard to imagine a world championship course that will not suit him, that he could not compete on.

Plenty of riders are over-hyped in the earliest stages of their careers, and perhaps there is a danger that we are guilty of doing just that, but it seems hard to imagine that he will not go on to glory, and at least one set of rainbow bands.

World Championships

‘I have no words’ – Alaphilippe left speechless after sensationally retaining the rainbow jersey

6 HOURS AGO

World Championships

Alaphilippe produces stunning ride to defend world road race title

7 HOURS AGO

Van Aert 'never attacks', but Alaphilippe a 'true champion' – The Breakaway on 'race for the ages'

Julian Alaphilippe became the seventh male rider in history to defend the rainbow stripes as he produced a trademark gutsy ride to win the men’s elite road race at the UCI Road World Championships.

Bradley Wiggins said the Frenchman was a “true champion” after he stole away to win a race that Rob Hatch – commentating on the blue ribbon event for Eurosport – called a “race for the ages”. Belgium’s Wout van Aert was touted as a potential successor to Alaphilippe in the rainbow stripes and Adam Blythe pondered whether Van Aert’s defensive instincts may have opened the door for the 29-year-old French superstar.

The Frenchman made the decisive move 20km out from the finish in Leuven, and the 29-year-old follows Peter Sagan (2015, 2016, 2017), Paolo Bettini (2006, 2007), Gianni Bugno (1991, 1992), Rik van Looy (1960, 1961), Rik Van Steenbergen (1956, 1957) and Georges Ronsse (1928, 1929) in retaining his men’s road race crown.

World Championships

‘I have no words’ – Alaphilippe left speechless after sensationally retaining the rainbow jersey

5 HOURS AGO

Highlights: Alaphilippe stuns field to defend world title

And Wiggins, talking on Eurosport’s post-race show, The Breakaway, lavished the Frenchman with praise.

“It was phenomenal! When he wins, he wins in the same manner every time,” said Wiggins.

He is a true champion of the sport.

Belgium sent a strong team to the 100th running of the World Championships and their all-star line-up that included Remco Evenepoel, Jasper Stuyven, Dylan Teuns and Tim Declercq put together a near-perfect ride to set up pre-race favourite Van Aert to contest the finish into Leuven. However, when Alaphilippe attacked for a third time in quick succession with 20km to go, Van Aert could not react.

“The main effort came in the last third of the race. Belgium did a fantastic job and hadn’t really put a foot wrong,” said Wiggins.

‘Belgium did a fantastic job!’ – Wiggins after Alaphilippe steals in for world road race glory

“But it’s not like Julian sat back all day. He was putting in attacks, always on the climbs, but his final attack was when everyone was starting to show fatigue from the race and from that point on it wasn’t really in doubt.

He spoiled the glory of Belgium today!

Adam Blythe, alongside Wiggins as an analyst on the post-race show, told presenter Orla Chennaoui that Van Aert’s riding style played into Alaphilippe’s hands.

“He [Alaphilippe] is always one of the favourite but he is never the favourite,” added Blythe.

Wout van Aert was one of the favourites but he rides very defensively. He follows attacks but he never attacks himself – I have never seen Van Aert go on the attack.

“Whereas Alaphilippe knew that and went after it quite early on really. He attacked three or four times. He wanted to win that race and put himself out there to win it. The other riders were too busy watching Van Aert and what he was going to do. And Julian benefited from it!”

Wiggins agreed, adding that much of the elite 17-man group made a misstep when Alaphilippe made his move.

“What we couldn’t understand was when he made his initial move, everyone else was looking at Van Aert to do the job and they almost eliminated themselves.”

You can watch the 2021 UCI Road World Championships live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries.

World Championships

Alaphilippe produces stunning ride to defend world road race title

6 HOURS AGO

World Championships

Evenepoel hits back at Merckx criticism

24/09/2021 AT 12:25

'I have no words' – Alaphilippe left speechless after sensationally retaining the rainbow jersey

Julian Alaphilippe revealed that a vocal Flanders crowd helped motivate him to a stunning retention of his World Championships crown in Leuven.

The Frenchman stunned the rest of the field with another phenomenal dance to a rainbow jersey as he proved on another plane entirely with a relentlessly attacking performance at the climax of an extraordinarily high-tempo romp around the roads of Flanders.

Having burst away from a group of favourites including Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, Alaphilippe, ever the grand entertainer, afforded himself the broadest of grins and a wave of the arms to the disappointed crowd.

World Championships

Alaphilippe produces stunning ride to defend world road race title

AN HOUR AGO

He finished comfortably clear of Dylan van Baarle (Netherlands) and Michael Valgren (Denmark), who out-sprinted Leuven native Jasper Stuyven to claim the minor medals.

“Last year was a dream for me,” Alaphilippe said 12 months on from securing his first rainbow jersey in Imola. “It was hard and it’s emotional.

“I was very motivated. I wanted to do well for the team and get the best result possible. The legs felt great and in the final I made the cut. This wasn’t planned. I went all out. I have no words.”

I thought of my little one on the final. There were many supporters for Belgium and they asked me to slow down. They weren’t sympathetic words but it gave me more motivation.

Former Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins was full of superlatives for Alaphilippe.

The 29-year-old follows Peter Sagan (2015, 2016, 2017), Paolo Bettini (2006, 2007), Gianni Bugno (1991, 1992), Rik van Looy (1960, 1961), Rik Van Steenbergen (1956, 1957) and Georges Ronsse (1928, 1929) in retaining his men’s road race crown.

Julian Alaphilippe of France celebrates at finish line as race winner during the 94th UCI Road World Championships 2021 – Men Elite Road Race a 268,3km race from Antwerp to Leuven / #flanders2021 / on September 26, 2021 in Leuven, Belgium.

Image credit: Getty Images

“It was sensational. What a rider. It was phenomenal. A true champion of the sport who animates the racing every time, and he spoiled the glory of Belgium today.” Wiggins said after the race on Eurosport and GCN‘s The Breakaway.

“The main effort came in the last third of the race. Belgium did a fantastic job and hadn’t really put a foot wrong.

“But it’s not like Julian sat back all day. He was putting in attacks, always on the climbs, but his final attack was when everyone was starting to show fatigue from the race and from that point on it wasn’t really in doubt. He was celebrating quite some way from the finish.”

Favourite Van Aert failed to figure in the final selection with Stuyven instead harbouring home hopes.

The strong Belgian team had appeared to have set things up perfectly for their multi-talented star Van Aert with Remco Evenepoel doing a fine spoiling job in support, marking the attacks that came regularly.

However the Olympic silver medallist admitted he simply did not have the legs to go with Alaphilippe when the Frenchman launched his final, decisive surge.

Wout Van Aert of Belgium competes during the 94th UCI Road World Championships 2021 – Men Elite Road Race a 268,3km race from Antwerp to Leuven / #flanders2021 / on September 26, 2021 in Leuven, Belgium.

Image credit: Getty Images

“I didn’t expect the attacking so early. We kept cool and we were always in control, but my legs just weren’t good enough in the final,” Van Aert explained.

However speaking on The Breakaway, expert Adam Blythe suggested that the brilliant Belgian could perhaps consider switching his tactics.

“The only rider you can fault from Belgium is Wout,” said Blythe. “He doesn’t go on the attack like Alaphilippe, he waits for the race to come to him. He’s always chasing. It’s just a question of not realising, almost, how strong he is.”

“But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a race that kicked off that early before. I think we keep forgetting that he is only human. It shows just how good a ride Alaphilippe did.”

World Championships

Evenepoel hits back at Merckx criticism

24/09/2021 AT 12:25

Cycling

‘Everyone looks at you, you can feel it’ – Alaphilippe opens up about season in rainbow jersey

23/09/2021 AT 12:03

Alaphilippe produces stunning ride to defend world road race title

Julian Alaphilippe defended his road world title in Leuven in a race that Rob Hatch on commentary called “a race for the ages”.

It took three attacks but last year’s world champion Alaphilippe led the race as he took the bell with 15.5km to go having made the jump from a 17-man group that included pre-race favourites Wout van Aert (Belgium) and Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands), and Tom Pidcock of Great Britain.

However, it was Neilson Powless (USA), Jasper Stuyven (Belgium), Michael Valgren (Denmark) and Dylan van Baarle (Netherlands) who formed a chase group from said 17-man group but Alaphilippe had enough in the tank to defend his title, winning by a gap of 32 seconds. Van Baarle came second with Valgren in third.

World Championships

Evenepoel hits back at Merckx criticism

24/09/2021 AT 12:25

“Last year was a dream for me,” Alaphilippe said after.

“The legs felt great and in the final I made the cut.

This wasn’t planned. I went all out. I have no words.

More to follow

You can watch the 2021 UCI Road World Championships live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries.

Cycling

‘Everyone looks at you, you can feel it’ – Alaphilippe opens up about season in rainbow jersey

23/09/2021 AT 12:03

World Championships

Belgian fans can dream of having it all once more – thanks to Van Aert and Evenepoel

19/09/2021 AT 20:19

Road World Championships – Men's Road Race Follow LIVE

Premium

Flanders

10:00-17:45

190km to go: Belgian fans are OUT

World Championships

‘Elisa was just faster on the line’ – Vos happy despite sixth road race silver in Flanders

2 HOURS AGO

204km to go: The state of the nation

We’re 64km in to the race and the breakaway has just passed the finish line in Leuven for the first time.

The eight riders with up the road, with a gap hovering around 4:30, are…

76 Jose Hernandez (Colombia)
105 Joel Coral Burbano (Ecuador)
113 Pavel Kochetkov (Russian Cycling Federation)
135 Patrick Gamper (Austria)
146 Rory Townsend (Ireland)
153 Oskar Nisu (Estonia)
180 Kim Magnusson (Sweden)
191 Jambaljamts Sainbayar (Mongolia)

Denmark and Belgium are sharing duties on the front of the peloton. We’re going to see a fair bit of Tim Declerq in these first few hours.

Welkom in vlaanderen

For the second blue riband event of Flanders 2021, the men’s World Championship road race.

We’ve seen some grumbling on Twitter – where else? – that the course is not as close to that of the Tour of Flanders as they might have expected. But of course it’s not. When you’ve already got the cycling world’s undivided attention for one day each year, the point of hosting another big event is to put a few more of your wares in the shop window.

Which is why the route contains none of the bigger bergs and most challenging cobbles you’ll find in De Ronde. It does

And while it is not an objectively hard course, all that means is that everyone can get round, which is more-or-less true of any elite parcours. This is nevertheless one that can easily be made to be tough, and there are certainly teams that will want it that way.

There are also those, like Australia, Colombia and Germany, who think it could come down to a sprint. And then there are the teams, one in particular, who can handle almost any scenario that unfolds.

Make no mistake, the home squad are here to win, and to win with Wout.

Unfortunately for the boys in bleu, every other country is going to do everything in their power to prevent them from doing so. Few have left out any of their highest calibre weapons.

The firepower on display today is immense.

France, though obviously seeking to defend the rainbows for Julian, have Arnaud Demare and Remi Cavagna as strong back-up options. Slovenia also have three riders who can win, though Primoz Roglic is likely to be their nominated leader.

Italy’s squad, while arguably weaker at its strongest point than that of the other big nations, contains even more options. Sonny Colbrelli is in the form of his life, but a willing wind could nod almost any of their riders into contention.

Let’s not pretend we don’t want to see a resumption of the Van Aert v Van Der Poel show, though. Expect a lot of “Kamaan Wout” signs on the side of the road today.

Grab yourself a Stella, because the next five hours are gonna be a rough and tumble rollercoaster ride where quite literally several different scenarios and outcomes are possible.

Opinion: Dramatic shift in women’s cycling enhanced by greater coverage

This year, women’s cycling is the most competitive it’s ever been, and it is the most accessible it has ever been, and those two things run in correlation.

Across 2021, many of the Women’s World Tour and classics have been broadcast live, along with commentary and analysis (on Eurosport & GCN in the UK at least), though not all, and along with the huge amount of talent in the peloton, the viewing experience has improved.

By being able to watch the majority of races unfold live, audiences can see the evolution of the peloton across a season, the progress certain riders have made, the learnings and experience they gain and use in subsequent races. The way they focus on working for their team-mates in some races and challenge for the win in others, and the UCI world championships have been no different this week.

Read more of Niamh Lewis’ thoughts from the women’s road here.

– –

You can watch the 2021 UCI Road World Championships live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries.

World Championships

World Championships: Women’s elite road race highlights as Balsamo outsprints Vos to victory

19 HOURS AGO

World Championships

‘It was a dream for me’ – Elisa Balsamo reacts to road race world title win

19 HOURS AGO

'Elisa was just faster on the line' – Vos happy despite sixth road race silver in Flanders

Marianne Vos admitted that she was “disappointed” after finishing second in a World Championships road race for the sixth time.

The Dutch sprinter was pipped to gold on the Flanders roads by an outstanding final kick from Italy’s Elisa Balsamo, continuing a golden sporting summer for her nation with a surprise win in Leuven.

Supported by a team possessing obscene strength, Vos had appeared the favourite to add to her three previous road rainbow jerseys after making the final selection on a lumpy course.

World Championships

Defending champion Van der Breggen pulls out of World Championships time trial

14/09/2021 AT 15:53

She had appeared perfectly positioned to do precisely that as she lurked behind Balsamo and her lead-out rider Elisa Longo Borghini as the line neared.

However, after a fine job by Longo Borghini to deliver her into position, the 23-year-old Italian had the sprinting speed up the final uphill drag to the line to claim her first world road race title.

“Of course, I have to admit, at first I was really disappointed,” Vos explained after being left in tears in the immediate aftermath of defeat. “If you’re so close to the gold, then obviously I would have wanted to finish off. But now the smile is back.

“But Elisa did a great race. When she opened up the sprint, I couldn’t make the speed and I really felt it was going to be very hard. Then silver was all I could do.

“I’m also satisfied with the shape I’m in and the silver medal I could take out of this race.

Poland’s Kasia Niewiadoma finished third some distance behind the leading pair.

It marked a breakthrough win for the talented Balsamo, who will join Trek-Segafredo at the end of the year.

‘It was a dream for me’ – Elisa Balsamo reacts to road race world title win

Given the strength and multi-faceted nature of the Dutch team, it was something of an underdog triumph for the Italian.

However despite teammate Ellen Van Dijk suggesting that the Netherlands had burned too many matches and denied their sprinter a proper lead-out, Vos was not critical of her team’s tactics.

“With the team we all wanted to have a hard race and we wanted to create some opportunities for riders in the early breaks,” Vos said. “If that didn’t work out, then attacks in the final to get everybody tired, and for me to get as fresh as possible to the finish.

“That went well. We were never really out of contention.

“I didn’t lose the race in the lead-out. I lost it when I couldn’t beat Elisa Balsamo on the line. You have to be happy with silver.”

Vos also hailed compatriot Anna van der Breggen, a fellow legend of the sport who bows out after these World Championships to take up a sporting director role at SD Worx.

“She’s a great champion but also a great person,” Vos said of her teammate.

“It’s weird to speak in the retrospective, but she was always very dedicated and also relaxed, and that’s a fine balance. She had to be who she is and never really acted as the queen of cycling, even though she was over the last years.

“Anna was always still Anna and she will stay Anna. We’ve had a great champion and a great role model for cycling.”

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