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Stop and go go go: Mathieu van der Poel wins wild, enthralling world championship

Stop and go go go: Mathieu van der Poel wins wild, enthralling world championship

It was run at a relentless pace except for an hour when the race was stopped due to a protest, and Sunday’s elite men’s road race at the 2023 Glasgow World Cycling Championships concluded with Mathieu van der Poel pulling on the rainbow jersey, the first Dutchman to do so since Joop Zoetemelk in 1985. He adds a Worlds gold to this season’s cyclocross rainbow jersey, Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix. Van der Poel won out of a high-powered quartet containing his great cyclocross rival Wout Van Aert, double Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar and 2019 champion Mads Pedersen.

The Course

The elite men used the same corner-filled. 14.5-km Glasgow city course as the Junior women and men on Saturday, but they also had to roll all the way from Edinburgh beforehand, climbing two hills including Crow Hill along the 120 km before 10 laps for a total of 271 km.

Elite men’s course profile by La Flamme Rouge.

The Canadian contingent was Charles-Etienne Cretien, Nick Zukowsky, Ben Perry, Hugo Houle, Guillaume Boivin and Derek Gee.

As soon as the race left Edinburgh, there were multiple attacks and a nontet of fugitives got loose, with two chasing groups in between. Slovenia, France and Belgium pulled the peloton.

With 192 of the 271 km to race, a protest neutralized the race, the protesters having glued themselves to the road. The riders were idle for an hour.

When things restarted and the race reached the two hills, van der Poel found himself on the wrong side of a split in the peloton, but came back.


By the time the nine fugitives entered the city circuit, their lead was 4:00. This is when the race turned into a big ol’ crit. The attacking in the peloton was relentless. The Danes were very active. Near the end of Lap 1, Houle crashed. Derek Gee was one of many who abandoned on the opening circuits.

Sadly, three-time rainbow jersey Peter Sagan abandoned his final World Championship with 110 km to roll.

The 2015-2017 champion heads to the tent to climb off the bike.

With 100 km remaining, there were only 40 riders in the peloton. Among them were fellows who all made surges on hills like Montrose Street to try…

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