Vince Miller of Ducati, the French leader is eighth at the finish
The Australian World Cup in Wollongong was supposed to be a matter between Belgians and Dutchmen, but instead it became the ideal catwalk – not the first of the season, to be honest – for Remco Evenepoel. At the finish line he was not the expected Flemish, but Wout Van Aert, who had also given up on taking the time trial to measure out his energy and present himself to the road test in the best possible condition. However, he had not come to terms with the winner of the last Vuelta di Spagna, who presented himself at this world championship in the best physical conditions and won in a big way. For 10 years, a Belgian had not won gold in the most coveted race (where, however, he boasts the highest number of triumphs): the last one to succeed was Philippe Gilbert, who won in the province of Limburg, in the Netherlands. Evenepoel, at the time, was only 12 years old; today, on the other side of Europe, it was his turn to wear the rainbow jersey which, as he himself said, “although it is my second, it certainly cannot be compared to that of the Juniores category”. How to blame him? Evenepoel won as a great rider he is, breaking away from everyone and presenting himself with more than 2 ‘ahead of the finish line, at the height of a very tense race characterized by the withdrawal of the main rival of the Belgians, the Dutch Mathieu Van der Poel, who was arrested – and then released – early in the Australian morning, after a nocturnal altercation with particularly noisy neighbors. The Dutchman, winner of the last Tour of Flanders, retired after about thirty kilometers, leaving the field free to the Belgians, who managed the race in the best possible way. Evenepoel, starting 30 kilometers from the finish, made the void and crossed the finish line in perfect solitude, leaving the French Christophe Laporte the silver medal and the landlord Michael Matthews only the bronze.
Italy remains overwhelmed by regrets and cannot console itself with Matteo Trentin’s fifth place, because the Bergamo-born Lorenzo Rota had tried in the last stages of the race – started by Helensburgh – and for a long time he fought for at least a medal with Lutsenko, Schmid and Jensen. Eighth Alberto Bettiol. The success of Alessandro Ballan in Varese in 2008 remains the last in a world championship on the road.
Evenepoel sealed a fantastic season, the accident that almost killed him in Lombardy in 2020, while chasing Vincenzo Nibali downhill, is more and more a memory, hidden by triumphs and satisfactions. Those who compared him to Eddy Merckx certainly did not do him a favor, but the results have begun to arrive. –