The first road-race medals on offer in the UCI 2013 Road World Championships in Toscana went to Denmarkâs Amalie Dideriksen in the Junior Womenâs category and Matej Mohoric of Slovenia in the Mens U-23 race on Friday.
Mohoric is something of a familiar face at World Championships victory ceremonies, after taking gold in last yearâs Junior Menâs road-race in Holland and silver in the time trial in the same category, too.
Having moved into the U-23 level this year, Mohoric showed he was more than capable of handling the tougher racing as he clinched gold again with a solo win over South African Louis Meintjes and Norwayâs Sondre Enger.
Mohoric bridged across to Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe on the second last lap of the 173.2 kilometre race and then dropped him on the last ascent of the Fiesole climb. Using his expect descending skills, the Slovenian managed to fend off a late lone counter-attack by Meintjes, whilst Enger led in the main bunch of less than 20 riders for bronze.
âI thought Alaphilippe might have been bluffing me, but once I was on the [Fiesole] climb I looked back and saw he was not with me, so I put my head down and âtime trialledâ to the finish,â the 18-year-old Mohoric said afterwards.
Mohoric praises his team
âMy team did brilliantly, we said we had to have a rider in every break and we did that, then I was ready to go for it with the strongest guys at the end.â
Three World Championships medals in two years is a huge achievement for an 18-year-old, but Mohoric says he is confident he will keep his feet on the ground.
âIâm aware Iâm still very young, I have to develop steadily and slowly now as a rider. As we say in my country, I wonât âdrive my head into the wall.ââ
Whilst Mohoric pointed out that Slovenia is steadily advancing in its cycling development, saying the country of just two million people now had âaround 10 riders at World Tour level,â South Africaâs Meintjes recognised there had been little he could do to challenge Mohoric in Fridayâs race.
âHe was very good on the downhills and Iâd put all my concentration to getting away on the climb, so I lost my focus on the descent,â he said, âI couldnât have got on his wheel if I had tried.â
Victory in the Junior Womenâs Road Race went to Amalie Dideriksen of Denmark, when she eased past Russiaâs Anastasia Iakovenko, with the Ukraineâs Olena Demydova crossing the line three seconds behind for bronze.
Dederiksen part of early break
In a fast-moving, tactically complex 82.85 kilometre race, Dederiksen formed part of a break of five that formed in the second of the five laps, and would ultimately decide the race.
Dideriksen, Demydova and Iakovenko joined forces with Germanyâs Anna Knauer and Jessenia Meneses of Colombia, but Knauer was dropped on the third lap, making a long and ultimately unsuccessful lone pursuit of the four breakaways ahead.
The biggest difference for the break was 2 minutes and 22 seconds on the third lap and when they hit the final lap, their gap was down to a mere 70 seconds on a bunch of around 20 chasers.
Meneses was then unlucky enough to puncture on the last lap, with a three-way sprint deciding the first Road Race of the 2013 UCI Road World Championships.
âIâm very happy because I didnât think a break would go from the start of the race,â Dideriksen said afterwards. âThat certainly wasnât the plan, but then when it did form, it was pretty clear that was the best way forward.â
âIn Denmark we donât have any climbs like the ones here, so I had to hang on and hope we wouldnât get caught. Then my coach had told me to wait til the last minute to go for the sprint, and thatâs what I did. It worked out perfectly.â
Racing continues on Saturday with the Menâs Junior and the Elite Womenâs road races.