France Wins Cycling World Championship Road Race, Defeating Belgium

The 24-year-old Frenchman became the first rider to win the prestigious cycling event since Bernard Hinault in 1983, and he managed to hold off a dogged chase from Ireland's Dan Martin on Sunday.

France Wins Cycling World Championship Road Race, Defeating Belgium

In what can be called a ‘historic’ win, France’s Julian Alaphilippe retained the world championship road-race title with a solo victory in Innsbruck. Alaphilippe is the first Frenchman to win the prestigious cycling event since Bernard Hinault in 1983. The 24-year-old was a surprise winner of a tough 183.5km race which featured an ascendant final ascent of the 4.7km Igls climb, and he managed to hold off a dogged chase from Ireland’s Dan Martin on Sunday. With his victory, Alaphilippe becomes only the third rider after Italy’s Costante Girardengo and Belgium’s

France Wins Cycling World Championship Road Race

World Champion Julian Alaphilippe, from Lotto-Soudal In April, France became the first nation to win the Road World Championships in three different countries as Thomas Voeckler, Olivier Maunoury and Laurent Pichon in 2015 and 2016, became the first trio to win the title in the same year on home soil. Alaphilippe also becomes the third rider to retain the world title, following Hinault in 1983, and Britain’s Steve Cummings in 2015.

Julian Alaphilippe

to become a world champion on the road in back-to-back seasons, and the first French winner since 1985. His win also comes just over a year after he broke his right hand in a crash. “The aim is to have no regrets in your career. I’m not missing anything on this road-race. I’m here to enjoy this victory. It’s a special day for me,” said Alaphilippe. “I had a lot of trouble with injuries in the last two years, and it’s special to win in a country where they are known for cycling.” Alaphilippe is the third Frenchman to win the world title in Innsbruck after Hinault and Bernard Hinault, who Alaphilippe said had made the victory possible.

Dan Martin

who have won back-to-back titles. Afterwards, he said: It was a very hard race. A big surprise for me today. I attacked at the right time. I saw that Domenico Pozzovivo, but also Rafal Majka, were falling behind. When I arrived in the final three kilometres, I knew that I had a big lead. I had to be very focused and controlled this escape. At the top of Igls I just wanted to get across the finish line as quickly as possible. My tactics paid off. It's amazing. With France celebrating its World Cup win earlier in July, Alaphilippe’s triumph is another feather in the cap for the country, who were also the men’s and women’s winners at the world track championships at the same venue just a few weeks ago.

The Igls climb

Hinault once remarked that Igls, a 4.7km climb at an average gradient of 8.3%, was the most difficult climb in the Tour de France. The rise, which is famously passed by all of the Giro d’Italia’s Grand Tours and has featured in the race for over 20 years, will now be renamed the Bernard Hinault climb following the Frenchman’s death earlier this year. Martin, a three-time runner up in the men’s road race, was considered a leading contender for the win but Alaphilippe’s sustained pace on the final ascent meant he struggled to close the gap, eventually dropping to sixth place. ???????? On a day in which they had everything to lose, @ercolemontda … what a story! Press PLAY on the video below to see France’s incredible #WorldChampionship road race victory ????! pic.twitter.