Team Dimension Data Continental rider, Samuele Battistella, has been crowned the u23 Road Race World Champion! The Italian took the victory in Yorkshire today, ahead of Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland) and Tom Pidcock (Great Britain).
The u23 world championship road race took place over a tough 173km course in the Yorkshire countryside, before the finish took place after two local laps around Harrogate.
The first decisive moment in the race came with around 60km to go, as the peloton split in the crosswinds. Battistella was always attentive near the front of the bunch and so he made this front split of 22 riders and drove the pace up to open the gap to the 30-odd chasers behind.
The front group arrived at the local laps in Harrogate with just a 25 second lead over the 2nd group and it was here, on the lumpy circuit, where Battistella forced the race winning move. The 20-year-old Italian attacked the front group with 17km to go, being joined by 5 others.
With 1 lap to go, the lead group was down to 4 riders, Battistella, Bissegger, Pidcock and Tobias Foss (Norway) while behind them 3 riders gave chase, including Dutch favourite, Nils Eekhoff. The leading quartet stuttered slightly at the last and the 3 chasers made the catch with 1km to go.
In a spectacular sprint, Eekhoff just edged Battistella over the line, but a jury decision later disqualified Eekhoff after it was determined, by using his GPS data and video evidence, that the Dutchman had returned to the peloton after an earlier crash with irregularly high speed.
In what was certainly a most unfortunate turn of events for young Eekhoff, which we can sympathize with, Battistella was crowned the u23 World Champion. A magnificent achievement for the Dimension Data Continental Team rider, who will graduate to our World Tour team next season, Team NTT.
“Wow, I can not believe I am world champion. I am really sorry for the Dutch rider, I was even happy with 2nd place but now, wow, I am world champion. This can take some time to sink in, maybe I will sleep with the jersey tonight. I prepared well for this race, I knew my form was good so this is just incredible. This win is for everyone who has supported me in my career, to my family, friends, the federation, all my teammates from over the years and my current team at Dimension Data, thank you all.” – Samuele Battistella.