Yevgeniy Fedorov of Kazakhstan took the under 23 road world title at the 2022 World Championships in Wollongong, Australia.
The rider from Kazakhstan was involved in a lot of the action throughout the race, chasing down multiple breakaway groups before going solo along with Mathias Vacek of the Czech Republic in the final lap of the course.
Fedorov recently raced the Vuelta a España and used his Grand Tour experience to work with Vacek to hold off the chase from behind in the final few kilometres leaving the two leaders to fight it out for the title.
As they crested Mount Pleasant for the final time and approached the finish line, Vacek had nothing left in the tank enabling Fedorov to sprint for the line to take a resounding win for Kazakhstan.
Soren Waerenskjold of Norway took the bronze medal for Norway on a soaking wet day in Wollongong.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The rain poured over the start of the men’s under 23 road race in Wollongong, Australia. Earlier on in the day Emil Herzog of Germany had landed the junior men’s world title after he held off Antonio Morgado of Portugal.
Sam Watson and Leo Hayter were both flying the flag for Great Britain in a strong team looking to land the under 23 title. The riders were facing a tough 169 kilometre course featuring multiple ascents of the Mount Pleasant climb over ten laps of the course.
An early breakaway managed to establish itself in the opening phase of the race and hovered at a gap of more than two minutes for a large percentage of the race. They were Fabio van den Bossche (Belgium), Hannes Wilksch (Germany), Pavel Kelemen (Czech Republic), Mathis Le Berre (France), Fabian Weiss (Switzerland) and Vladimir Milholjević (Croatia).
Wilksch was the liveliest of the group, repeatedly attacking early on in the action to force the separation from the main field.
With 64 kilometres to go, the breakaway was at the halfway point of the race and well into the fourth lap of the course. Behind them Great Britain continued to lift the tempo at the front of the peloton looking to set something up for Watson and Hayter as the race gradually ticked towards its finale. Behind the group of leaders Yevgeniy Federov (Kazakhstan) was looking to bridge the gap across to the front of the race.
At 59 kilometres to the finish Bob Donaldson (Great Britain) was driving the main field through the rain on the slopes of Mount Pleasant. Germany were also looking to keep their leading riders safe on the front of the peloton as they eventually pulled Federov back into their midst. It appeared to not be Hayter’s day as he gradually slipped away at the back of the group. The work of Donaldson and the German team rapidly brought the gap down to the leaders to just over one minute. Watson was keeping an eye firmly on any attempt to push on from the main field as the riders approached the start of the third lap of the course.
Looking to the finish, Watson was one of several riders to push on from the main field in search of the leading group of six and they were soon cutting into the advantage of the leaders as they entered the third lap. Davide De Pretto (Italy), Mathias Vacek (Czech Republic), Xabier Irurzun (Spain), Caspar van Uden (Netherlands) and Erik Fetter (Hungary) were with the British rider as the race ticked under 50 kilometres to go.
Meanwhile at the head of the race, the leading group were switching turns in a desperate attempt to keep clear of the marauding peloton. A sudden lift in pace amongst the main field saw them swallow up the group containing Watson. Attacks started to come amongst the leaders which resulted in Weiss and Kelemen being dropped by the rest of the leading group. The two riders were soon caught by the next group on the road as a crash on Dumfries Avenue caused multiple splits in the main field.
At 34 kilometres to go the riders were into the penultimate lap of the course. Riders were starting to push on looking to reach the leading trio and Watson was in the thick of the action once more. An Italian duo of Milesi and Buratti were with the Yorkshireman along with Ťoupalik of the Czech Republic and Fedorov. The chasing group were climbing and had Le Berre, Wilksch and van den Bossche within an arm's reach in front of them. Eventually the trio were caught by the group containing Watson which multiple other riders had joined and the race was all back together.
As the race entered the final lap four riders attacked looking to gain any advantage possible. Fedorov, Le Berre, Vacek and Belgian Alec Segaert. They soon had an advantage of more than 20 seconds as they approached the final ascent of Mount Pleasant. As they began the climb Le Berre was dropped. With 5 kilometres left to race Fedorov and Vacek had an advantage of seconds as a reduced group bore down on them.
Eventually disharmony in the chasing group meant that Vacek and Fedorov had plenty of time to plan their final sprint as they crested the last climb.
Fedorov would ultimately come out on top as Vacek had nothing left to give, enabling the rider from Kazakhstan to outsprint him in the closing metres to take a huge victory in his young career which has already seen him compete at WorldTour level.
Vacek took the silver medal with Soren Waerenskjold of Norway taking the bronze.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2022 RESULTS, MEN’S UNDER 23 ROAD RACE
1. Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) in 3-57-08
2. Mathias Vacek (Cza) at 1s
3. Soren Waerenskjold (Nor) at 3s
4. Madis Mikhels (Est)
5. Olav Kooij (Ned)
6. Pavel Bittner (Cze)
7. Matthew Dinham (Aus)
8. Paul Penhoet (Fra)
9. Matevz Govekar (Slo)
10. Jenno Berckmoes (Bel) all at same time
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