Denmark’s Mads Pedersen on Sunday sprung a huge surprise when he emerged from a rain-drenched Yorkshire road race with cycling’s world title.
After 261km and over 6 hours, 27 minutes of exhausting racing in hostile conditions that took a huge toll on the field, the 23-year-old unleashed an astonishing late burst. He left a devastated Italian Matteo Trentin and Stefan Kung of Switzerland trailing in the silver and bronze positions.
“That’s an unbelievable day I didn’t expect this morning,” the Trek-Segafredo rider said.
“It was just survive, survive, survive. Then hope for the best in the sprint,” said Pedersen, who was far from favorite to beat Italian 30-year-old Trentin, usually a crack in the sprints. “When I saw the finish line, I thought: ‘Anything can happen.’”
The race was shortened as relentless overnight rain took its toll on the narrow roads through the Yorkshire dales, flooding an iconic hilly section of the route that featured in the 2014 Tour de France which was cut out altogether.
In the brutal conditions, only 46 of the 182 starters crossed the finish line. The rain also turned the Harrogate fan park into a quagmire and grounded the TV helicopters.
Dutch 24-year-old Mathieu van der Poel will have a hard time forgetting the Yorkshire weather, too.
The bookies pre-race favorite had looked set for victory with a lap to go, but cracked, suddenly and spectacularly.
“You have to keep in front, keep focused and keep going,” Pedersen said.
Three-time world champion Peter Sagan left his pursuit too late as the Slovak tried to bridge the gap with 5km remaining.
“Oh well,” said the nonchalant Sagan, who finished fifth and could have become the first ever four-time world road race champion.
“[It was a] good decision for these guys to attack. For me I thought it was too far to go,” said Sagan of the attack led from 31km out by Italian Gianni Moscon of Team Ineos, who came fourth. “The Germans and Belgians thought they would control the race, but it didn’t happen like that.”
Last year’s Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas took part even though he was off form and dropped out after a few of the nine laps of the treacherous Harrogate circuit.
“Wet, cold and not quite the feeling in the legs that I hoped for. It was a tough day out there,” Thomas said. “It’s not a nice feeling — in a home world championships... The atmosphere, the crowd was really good. This is something we’ll remember for sure.”
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on