Pedersen Seals Surprise Win To Round Off A UCI Road World Championships To Remember
The 2019 UCI Road World Championships reached a gripping conclusion on Sunday with Mads Pedersen earning a surprise yet exceptionally hard-fought victory in the Elite Men’s Road Race to round off an unforgettable nine days of action.
The Danish rider worked his way into an elite group in the last 50km and was one of only three riders still in contention on the very last drag up Parliament Street. It was his rival Matteo Trentin who kicked off the sprint for victory but Pederesen proved the fastest finisher and passed the Italian before throwing his arms aloft in triumph. Tenacious Trentin meanwhile, had to settle for second place on the podium with Switzerland’s Stefan Kung crossing the line two seconds back in third.
The result brought an end to an incredible 92nd edition of the Championships which has truly cemented Yorkshire’s place on the world cycling map. Not even the weather couldn’t dampen the county’s spirits on Sunday, with heavy overnight rains causing the race to be re-routed and take on two extra laps of the Harrogate circuit.
And even though the downpours continued as the riders wound their way from Leeds, into the Dales, and onto the Harrogate circuit, bumper crowds braved the conditions to cheer them on in truly remarkable fashion.
Many of the pre-race favourites eventually floundered in the tricky conditions, and Yorkshireman Ben Swift was among the big names who were distanced as the pace began to really ramp up in the closing stages. Pedersen stayed strong however and it is he who now has the honour of wearing the iconic rainbow jersey for the next 12 months of competition.
Yorkshire was also the winner, with its stunning scenery and passionate supporters once again proving the county was more than up to the task of hosting a truly global sporting event.
Never before has a UCI Road World Championships encompassed 10 different start locations, seen male and female riders compete alongside each other (like they did in the first-ever Team Time Trial Mixed Relay), or organise a ground-breaking para-cycling event (the Yorkshire 2019 Para-Cycling International) alongside it. More rainbow jerseys were also awarded than ever before and £15 million of Government funding already allocated to develop entry-level cycling facilities across England will ensure it leaves a long, lasting legacy as well.
Denmark rider and new world champion Mads Pedersen said: “It was a brutal day but that’s the type of weather I like to race in. When I found myself in that three-man group at the end I would have been happy with any of the medals. Because of that I felt I had nothing to lose and luckily my sprint was enough to get the rainbow jersey. My focus all year had been on this race and this victory is going to change a lot for me; I’m no longer going to be regarded as the underdog.
“The crowd was crazy today, especially as there were so many people still around to watch us in weather like that. That was so nice to see and I want to thank them for being on the roadside. This was a really good race and when you win one as hard as this, you feel very proud.”
Great Britain rider Ben Swift said: “It was six and a half hard hours in the saddle and I just didn’t have it at the end today. I gave it my best shot but it wasn’t enough. The fans were incredible and the atmosphere was building and building with every kilometre. They gave me some massive support and I’m incredibly grateful. It’s been a great Championships and great for cycling here in Yorkshire, and the UK.”
Yorkshire 2019 CEO Andy Hindley said: “We had to make some difficult calls regarding the route today because it simply wasn’t suitable to race on some of the roads. We had to think about the safety of the public as well as the athletes because we have a duty of care to them. We’d planned for every eventuality and our team did a fantastic job to change things at such short notice.
“It was horrific weather but that didn’t stop the public lining the route. Every village, road and climb was packed so I have to say a massive thank you to the people of Yorkshire for turning out and welcoming the riders today. Congratulations to Mads Pedersen as well, he pulled off a phenomenal win.
“It’s been an amazing nine days. Every single race, including our para-cycling event which kicked things off, has been spectacular. It’s taken over three years of planning to reach this point and it’s been a superb team effort. My staff at Yorkshire 2019 have been tremendous, as have our delivery partners, local authorities, emergency service providers, transport providers, utilities providers, volunteers - the list could go on and on. I want to say a massive thank you to them, and to everybody who supported this event.”
Welcome to Yorkshire Commercial Director Peter Dodd said: “It’s been a phenomenal nine days in Yorkshire and the whole county has shone even in spite of some of the weather. We’ve seen some truly amazing racing and crowned some incredible world champions. Every race has had a fantastic climax to it and that’s testimony to our variety of terrain as much as it is to the riders themselves. The people and businesses of Yorkshire have done themselves proud, as have our partners, emergency services, highways teams, and of course, our army of tremendous volunteers. Every rider and visitor has received a typically warm welcome, and I’m so proud of that.
“The legacy and long-term benefits of hosting these Championships will be felt for many years to come and Yorkshire has definitely gone global over the last nine days. Thank you again to everyone who’s come and enjoyed themselves, and to all the businesses and residents for their support.”
British Cycling CEO Julie Harrington said: “The 2019 UCI Road World Championships have given the sport a brilliant platform to reach even more people and inspire them to get on their bikes. I’d like to thank Yorkshire 2019, everyone across the county of Yorkshire, and British cycling fans for their contribution to a fantastic event and the warm welcome extended to teams from all over the world.”
Dame Katherine Grainger, Chair of UK Sport said: “The past nine days of action across Yorkshire has once again demonstrated that the UK is a world-class destination for sport and home to knowledgeable and passionate fans who will turn out rain or shine. Via our National Lottery funded event programme, UK Sport is committed to bringing the biggest sporting competitions, like the UCI Road World Championships, to these shores. It isn’t just about the fantastic action, but also the long-term positive social and economic impact which results from holding these major sporting events.”
Pedersen Seals Surprise Win To Round Off A UCI Road World Championships To Remember, 30th September 2019, 8:11 AM