COPENHAGEN (VN) — A late-race crash spoiled chances for the Americans as the French powered to victory in the junior men’s road race on Saturday.
American sprinter Alex Darville was caught behind a spill in the closing 4km as a five-man breakaway held off the chasing pack. Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier dashed to the rainbow jersey in another strong ride by the French team, which put two on the podium in Friday’s men’s U23 race.
Belgian Martijn Degreve crossed the line second while Dutchman Steven Lammertink took bronze as the attacking riders held on to finish just three seconds ahead of the hard-charging pack.
“There were maybe three guys in front of me who went down. I got stuck right behind them, fell off my bike, chipped my knee a little bit,” Darville said. “My wheels got untrue and it was over from there. It was too close to the finish line.”
The Americans were riding for a sprint finish, but five riders pulled clear on the penultimate lap.
“The whole tactic today was to work for (Alex). He’s had series of top-10s over the past few months in Europe and Canada. We were trying to ride a patient race for him because he’s a very strong finisher,” said U.S. juniors coach Benjamin Sharp.
“For a team that’s under-horsepowered compared to other nations like France, that’s all we can do. We were riding for the finish, but unfortunately we had a bit of bad luck there in the end.”
With two Belgians and two French in the break, there were legs to drive it to the line despite the furious chase from behind.
One of the Belgians attacked with just over 1km to go, but the French reeled it in, with Lecuisinier timing his sprint perfectly off the lead-out from his teammate.
Crossing the line fifth was Rick Zabel, the son of German ace Erik Zabel.
- 1. Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra), 2:48:58
- 2. Martijn Degreve (Bel), same time
- 3. Steven Lammertink (Ned), at 0:03
- 4. Florian Senechal (Fra), s.t.
- 5. Rick Zabel (Ger), s.t.