Bermudian riders endure gruelling finale to Road World Championships campaign
Kaden Hopkins finished 97th, Nicholas Narraway 104th and Conor White 136th out of 143 finishers in the gruelling 160-kilometre, under-23 road race at the Road Cycling World Championships in Belgium yesterday.
The trio are representing Bermuda along with junior competitors Liam Flannery and Alexander Miller who took part in the 121.4km race yesterday. Flannery finished 78th out of 90 finishers while Miller was one of 83 competitors who did not complete the race.
Flannery recorded a time of 2hr 54min 53 sec, 11 minutes and five seconds behind the winner, Per Strand Hagenes of Norway, who powered through the final ten kilometres to claim the rainbow jersey.
Hagenes finished a comfortable 19 seconds ahead of Romain Grégoire of France, who took the silver while Madis Mihkels of Estonia was five seconds behind to take the bronze.
Hagenes, 18, is the first Norwegian to ever win the junior world title, after he rode solo on a steep ramp six kilometres from the finish.
The junior riders competed on a gruelling five-lap course around a city circuit in Leuven.
Racing was frantic from the flag, with a three-rider breakaway eventually getting clear early on, including Josh Tarling from Great Britain.
The gap hovered at around a minute for the break as France controlled the pace back in the bunch for pre-race favourite Grégoire.
The pace of the race saw large groups of riders forced to pull out in the closing kilometres after they were lapped by the rest of the field on the short and hilly circuit. Miller was one of them.
The under-23 race was just as tough with Hopkins, White and Narraway among the 143 finishers, while there were 31 who did not finish.
Filippo Baroncini of Italy was crowned the under-23 champion following a solo attack after making his move on the penultimate climb and riding strongly to the finish line to win in a time of 3:37:36, just two seconds ahead of Biniam Girmay of Eritrea. Olav Kooij of the Netherlands finished just behind to take the bronze.
Hopkins led home his team-mates, clocking 3:47:52, some ten minutes behind the winner, while Narraway finished in 3:49:12 and White 3:53:55.
The race began in chaotic circumstances, with multiple crashes occurring prior to the beginning of the race, forcing a 15 minute delay.