Emil Herzog of Germany won the junior men’s world title by outsprinting António Morgado of Portugal in the men’s junior road race at the road World Championships 2022.
The German ride came out on top after a gruelling eight laps of the 17 kilometre circuit in Wollongong, Australia. Morgado attempted to distance the rest of the main field as he launched a stinging solo move on the final lap, although ultimately he was forced to settle for silver as Herzog caught him with two kilometres left to set up the final duel.
As they approached the line, the Portuguese rider sat on Herzog’s wheel looking for him to open up his sprint, but Herzog had the upper hand as he kicked harder for the line to take the win. In the reduced bunch sprint behind the first two riders, Vlad van Mechelen of Belgium took the bronze medal from a group of 11 chasers.
Earlier in the action, Morgado was heavily involved in affairs as the chase group he was part of caught an early breakaway before he launched an attack in the final 17 kilometres of the long 135 kilometre race. However Herzog’s perseverance enabled him to reel back in the flying Portuguese starlet and land the title.
Due to his perseverance and determination, Morgado became the first ever Portuguese rider to finish on the podium in the junior men’s road race.
After an early crash Great Britain's Josh Tarling was forced to abandon the race due to his injuries.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Heavy rain had doused the 17 kilometre circuit earlier in the day to leave the road surface shimmering as the action got underway. 106 riders lined up on the start line of the 135 kilometre course in Wollongong. The junior men were facing a long day in the saddle which featured eight ascents of the Mount Pleasant climb.
Not long after the flag was dropped a small crash occurred in the main field, just before the incident Martin Jurík of Slovakia had launched an early attack. Nobody was looking to push the pace too early in the peloton knowing that Mount Pleasant would soon begin to take its toll towards the final lap.
On the very first descent from the Mount Pleasant climb, Josh Tarling (Great Britain), Max van der Meulen (Netherlands) and Hamish Mackenzie of Australia were involved in a crash. After three of the favourites had been ruled out by the incident, other riders looked to capitalise on the nervousness in the bunch and Artem Shmidt (USA) was one of the riders who moved off the front of the group looking to force a split and catch the lone leader.
Tarling and Mackenzie, both visibly bruised, managed to rejoin the peloton although ultimately Tarling would not finish the race.
Romet Pajur (Estonia), Daniel Lima (Portugal) and Pavel Novak (Czech Republic) were the next riders to attack during the second lap. Pajur and Novak eventually distanced the Portuguese rider and formed a small gap of 20 seconds as they began the third lap. Eventually the duo would be caught.
By the time the riders began the fourth lap of the course, a group of five riders had established itself and they were hot in pursuit of Pajur and Novak. They were Viggo Moore and Shmidt (USA), McKenzie and Zachary Walker (Great Britain) and Benjamin Eckerstorfer (Austria). On the next time over Mount Pleasant, Moore managed to bridge across to the leading duo. Eventually it all came together and McKenzie was the only rider unable to stay with the lead group.
Behind the leaders, António Morgado had begun his quest to chase them down and land the title.
With 56 kilometres left to race, a strong chase group had formed including Emil Herzog (Germany), Paul Magnier (France), Morgado and Milan Kadlec (Czech Republic) were bearing down on the leaders as the riders entered the sixth lap. The rain began to pour as the chasers eventually caught the leading quintet and with 42 kilometres to go, Herzog and Magnier were both driving the pace as the riders headed back to Wollongong.
Morgado was never far away from the front of the race and the fiery rider was ready to attack again as five lead riders entered the final lap. Herzog, Jørgen Nordhagen (Norway), Magnier and Thibaud Gruel of France had managed to keep hold of Morgado temporarily as the bell rang out.
Suddenly Morgado attacked again in one last ditch attempt to grab the junior men’s rainbow jersey and he soon had a gap of 25 seconds. However Emil Herzog still had enough power left in his legs to set off after Morgado with six kilometres to go. Eventually he had the Portuguese rider firmly in his grasp as they approached the line.
The duo began to look at each other as Morgado forced Herzog to open up his sprint early, although Morgado would soon tire as Herzog crossed the line first to land an impressive victory.
Belgium’s van Mechelen took third and the bronze medal with Magnier and Schmidt finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2022 RESULTS, JUNIOR MEN’S ROAD RACE:
1. Emil Herzog (Ger) in 3-11-07
2. António Morgado (Por) at same time
3. Vlad van Mechelen (Bel) at 55s
4. Paul Magnier (Fra)
5. Artem Shmidt (USA)
6. Menno Huising (Ned)
7. Thibaud Gruel (Fra)
8. Frank Ragilo (Est)
9. Zachary Walker (GBR)
10. Pavel Novak (Cze) all at same time
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