Winning Great Britain’s fifth medal of the 2011 Road World Championships was both sweet and sour for Andrew Fenn. Bronze in the under-23 road race on Friday afternoon – GB’s second of the day after Lucy Garner’s rainbow-jersey-winning ride in the junior women’s race – left Fenn with mixed emotions.
“I’m happy, as the team deserved a medal having ridden for me at the finish, but I am disappointed not to have got the win,” Fenn admitted.
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After the Australian team strung the race out in the closing couple of kilometres of the 168km race over 12 laps of the Worlds circuit, Fenn found himself on team-mate Luke Rowe’s wheel on the uphill drag to the finish.
“I didn’t want to commit too soon, but that finish is very difficult to judge,” Fenn explained. “The wind was coming slightly from the right coming up there, too, which made it even more difficult.”
The two Frenchmen who beat Fenn – winner Arnaud Démare and runner-up Adrien Petit – got it “spot on”, the 21-year-old Briton had to concede.
Both also have a little more experience than the An Post rider, who will himself hit the big time next season with Belgian super-team Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
“I’m happy to be stepping up to a ProTeam, and I think it’ll be a great team to help me develop. They’ve got some really experienced guys already there who I’ll be able to learn from and, for the Classics, I think it’s definitely the team to be in,” said Fenn, who won the junior version of Paris-Roubaix in 2008.
New under-23 world champion Démare has spent the latter half of this season riding for Marc Madiot’s FDJ, and has already signed a contract to ride with the French team next season, while Petit is already a first-year pro with Cofidis, riding the finishing circuit when he raced this year’s Tour of Denmark.
“I’m obviously thrilled,” said 20-year-old Démare, “and especially because I twice had to change bikes during the race because of mechanical problems.
“I came through that last corner in about seventh place, but had to wait for the right time, as the climb up to the finish is very hard to judge in a sprint,” he continued, echoing Fenn’s sentiments. “But then when I saw that Adrien and I had made it a one-two for the team, it was doubly satisfying.”