The Men Junior Road Race started as frantic as expected
The Men Junior race started out on full throttle and went on from there. After an explosive last lap, Dane Julius Johansen crossed the finish line with an impressive distance in front of his opponents.
Story by Tobias Dahlberg Carlsson/Kristian Arnesen Strømshoved
Johansen finished well ahead and could watch as the Italian team, claiming another two medals, with Luca Rastelli taking silver and Michele Gazzoli bronze after an exciting sprint finish.
“I know I have very good shape before (the World Championships) and I could show you guys I also had it today, and yeah it's just amazing”, Johansen said at the press conference.
Regarding his tactic coming into the race:
“I always go too early on the breakaways, and so the tactic today was to wait and wait and wait and hope all the first attacks come back to the peloton, and yeah they did, and I could go on the last lap and that was just amazing, that was the plan and it worked out fantastic”, he said.
Just turned 18 some days ago, what does this mean for your career going forward with this gold medal:
“It was very very important to me, I go out and should ride a contract next year, on the danish team. I have a world title now, that’s the best that could happen to me”, he said.
The race started with several smaller incidents where riders got caught on each other, taking some turns too steep and when trying to pass, getting too close to the edge of the road. Of course, the adrenaline and one of the biggest of moments in a cycling career will contribute to a tough race. After the messy start, pace going back and forth, the cyclists now were typically divided into a front group and a chasing peloton.
With 3 laps to go the front 10 riders, led by Italian Luca Rastelli was followed by a large peloton trailing 28 seconds behind. The winner Johanson paced himself sitting in the peloton biding his time.
The race heats up
At the last split there were several attacks, Julius Johansen (Den) went into the final lap in the lead with five other riders trailing, Rastelli being on his wheel in second. Then smaller groups of riders came scattered, in even, but short intervals. The fight for medals was really heating up in this energetic race.
Johansen left his rivals and was solo at the bottom of Salmon Hill. After climbing up and as he started descending towards the city center he had managed to get a 30 second lead with 8.5 km to go.
The chasing group couldn´t make up for the lost time and the Dane actually extended the lead finishing 51 seconds ahead of the sprint finish that went down for second and third place. Luca Rastelli, being active all race, and his fellow team mate Michele Gazzoli could, in a thrilling finish, snatch the silver and bronze.
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