Italy flies to home glory in European Champs team relay
Led by Olympic Champion Filippo Ganna, the Azzurri won gold in the mixed relay ahead of Germany and the Netherlands. Belgium and Russia celebrated in Junior time trials: Alex Segaert saw off compatriot Cian Uijtdebroeks, Alina Ivanchenko won the women’s race. Tomorrow the U23 and Elite time trials: Ganna faces Evenepoel and Pogacar
1 ITALY 0:51:59 51,36
DE MARCHI Alessandro
LONGO BORGHINI Elisa
2 GERMANY 00:21 51,28
3 NETHERLANDS 00:26 50,29
VAN EMDEN Jos
Trento could hardly have asked for a better opening of the UEC Road European Championships – Trentino 2021. On Wednesday, September 8th, the home Italy team offered to the fans a joy to behold, as Filippo Ganna and his teammate finalized a superb performance with the gold medal in the European Team Relay, securing the first medal for Italy in the event, much to the delight of many fans in the Le Albere district in Trento, just a few steps from the famous MUSE – Museum of Sciences.
In the 44.8 km test – two laps of the 22.4 km course on which all the time trials are contested at Trentino 2021 are held – the team made by Filippo Ganna, Alessandro De Marchi, Matteo Sobrero, Elisa Longo Borghini, Marta Cavalli and Elena Cecchini managed to leave behind Germany and the Netherlands, unsurprisingly the last two winners of the European team event. In two weeks in Leuven (Belgium), the format will also make its debut at the World Championships.
Italy made the most of the contribution by Filippo Ganna, who was generous in this first effort of his very intense European Championships’ schedule: the menu of the Tokyo Olympic Champion also includes the individual time trial on Thursday September 9th and the road race Sunday 12th.
After the men’s trio had passed the baton in first position, Longo Borghini, Cavalli and Cecchini delivered a strong effort on their own, finalizing in 51:59:01. In the background, the orchards and vineyards of Romagnano, Aldeno and Mattarello made an amazing show of themselves in a sunny afternoon, offering a first memorable postcard of Trentino to the many Countries connected with the European Championships on TV, either live or delayed.
The Germany team of Miguel Heidemann, Justin Wolf, Richard Maximilian Walscheid, Corinna Lechner, Mieke Kroger and Tanja Erath had to settle for second place with a gap of 21 seconds from the winners. The Netherlands (Koen Bouwman, Jos Van Emden, Bauke Mollema, Floortjie Mackaij, Amy Pieters and Demi Vollering) took the third step of the podium, stopping the time at 27 seconds from the Italian national team.
The Italian National anthem concluded the racing part of the first of five days of competition between Trento, Monte Bondone and the Valle dei Laghi, which awarded the first three of the thirteen titles of the most impressive European Road Championships’ edition to date. However, the special atmosphere at MUSE has continued, as on Wednesday the Science Museum of Trento celebrates the European Championships with an extended opening until 11 pm.
For Ganna and the whole Italian team, today’s victory represents an excellent start in view of the next races, which could already add to the home team’s tally. “Tomorrow it’s already ITT time, but I really wanted to take in this test, which was also useful for taking stock of the course. Tomorrow there will be plenty of strong rivals to face, as Küng wants to defend the jersey, Evenepoel has shown that he is back to his best after the crash at Lombardia, and Tadej Pogacar needs no introduction too: it will be full gas down to the final meter,“ stated the Time Trial World Champion.
Elisa Longo Borghini could also celebrated a long-pursued European Champions’ jersey. “I am excited for this result, and even more for having obtained it in a team race: I believe these races give a measure to the value of a team, and of a whole movement in this case. I hope that more and more youngsters will be inspired to get into cycling, also thanks to days like this.”
BELGIAN DOMINATION IN JUNIOR MEN’S TIME TRIAL
1 SEGAERT Alec BEL BELGIUM 00:26:27
2 UIJTDEBROEKS Cian BEL BELGIUM 00:05
3 LE HUITOUZE Eddy FRA FRANCE 00:40
8 HERZOG Emil GER GERMANY 00:55
10 KÄRSTEN Moritz GER GERMANY 01:08
In the morning, the Belgian National team scored a beautiful double in the Junior Men’s Individual Time Trial, on the 22.4 km course from the MUSE – Museum of Sciences to Piazza delle Donne Lavoratrici. Alec Segaert defeated the competition and earned the European Champion’s jersey by clocking a 26:26:61 time. Second came fellow Belgian sensation Cian Uijtderbroeks, who had beaten Segaert in the Junior Time Trial at the Belgian National Championships: this time, he finished just 5 seconds shy of the compatriot. The third step of the podium was conquered by French Eddy Le Huitouze, at 40 seconds.
„It is incredible to be able to win here, – commented Alec Segaert after the finish line. „In the first part I went very fast, maybe even too fast, but from the team car they kept telling me I was flying, and this motivated me even more. I was completely done at the finish, but the victory pays off for anything. At the Belgian Championships I had finished second behind Cian, today it was finally my turn.“
ALENA IVANCHENKO EXTENDS TRACK SUCCESS TO THE ROAD
Netherlands’ Elise Uijen could not retain the Junior Women’s Individual Time Trial title in Trento, as it was Alena Ivanchenko to take over the jersey. The Russian made a powerful showing of the skills already displayed on the track on the pan-flat 22.4 km effort. Ivanchenko stopped the clock on 29:11:82, beating German Antonia Niedermaier by 31 seconds, and Elise Uijen by 53 seconds.
For Ivanchenko this was the third prestigious success in just over three weeks, after having graduated World Champion in the Points Race at the Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Cairo (Egypt) and having won the European Champion jersey in the same specialty at the European Youth Track Cycling Championships in Apeldoorn (Netherlands).