Julius Johansen (Denmark) soloed to victory in the junior men's road race at the 2017 UCI World Road Championships on Saturday in Bergen,

Julius Johansen of Denmark soloed to victory in the junior men’s road race at the 2017 UCI World Road Championships on Saturday in Bergen, Norway. Italy captured the silver and bronze medals with Luca Rastelli and Michele Gazzoli.

The Dane attacked and bridged to a small breakaway with a lap and a half remaining in the race. Johansen would set-off alone on the final time up Salmon Hill and time trial all the way to the line to capture the rainbow bands. His 51-second victory over second showed the strength and grit of the 18-year-old.

Rastelli was in the final breakaway with Johansen, but was unable to follow the Dane on the final climb. He was able to hold off a hard-charging peloton in the finishing straight to earn the runner-up spot.

Gazzoli won the reduced bunch for the bronze medal, as the peloton came up behind his teammate Rastelli right on the line.

Top 10

The junior men’s road race did not start in the host town of Bergen, but 39.5 kilometers away in Øygarden, where the elite men’s road race will also start on Sunday. Upon entry to the circuit, the riders had 17.9 kilometers until the finish line and then completed four laps of the 19.1-kilometer circuit for a total race distance of 135.5kms. The circuit included the 1.5-kilometer long Salmon Hill, which peaked 10.7 kilometers from the finish.

Getting to the circuit was no easy feat for the junior men’s peloton. The twisting roads and damp pavement caused multiple crashes. Upon entering the circuit a lead group of eight riders had formed. Gleb Brussenskiy (Kazakhstan), Graydon Staples (Canada), Jonas Hvideberg (Norway) Giulio Masotto (Italy) Danny van der Tuuk (Netherlands) Mark Donovan (Great Britain), Mohammed Medrazi (Morocco), and Kiryl Pashkevich (Belarus) formed the lead group.

Heading into Salmon Hill for the first time a large crash occurred right in the middle of the peloton. The fallen riders spread all across the road, holding up the rest of the peloton.

Pashkevich was dropped from the breakaway early on the climb, as the peloton charged up the hill a minute behind. There was no waving the white flag after the crash — the race was now on.

Over the next two laps, multiple riders bridged to the leaders, as also a few got dropped. The reshuffling ended with a lead group of 10 riders crossing the finish line with two laps to go. Crashes continued to be the highlight of the day with riders seemingly constantly hitting the deck.

Over Salmon Hill on the penultimate lap, just three riders remained in the lead with the peloton powering along a mere 20 seconds behind. The leaders were Brussenskiy, Donovan and Italian Luca Rastelli, who was one of the riders that had bridged.

As the bell rang signaling the final lap, Julius Johansen (Denmark) had joined the leaders, having attacked at the bottom of the descent. However, the peloton was right behind and many other riders were attacking, including heavy pre-race favorite Tom Pidcock (Great Britain).

Just after the line, four riders bridged to the leaders to create eight at the front. American Matteo Jorgenson was among those that had bridged. France drove the pace at the front of the peloton to shut the move down.

Johansen attacked the breakaway and set-off alone before the start of the final climb. The peloton, which had appeared to be shutting down the move entering the final lap, now found themselves 50-seconds behind.

The race was full on up Salmon Hill for the final time. The Italians lit the race on fire, with multiple riders going up the road out of the peloton. Meanwhile, the chase group had splintered.

Johansen crested the climb alone and seemed destined for a world title, as he held a 30-second advantage over the chasing riders. At the top of the climb, there was no concerted chase group, as riders went over the top in ones and twos.

On the descent, a five-rider chase group formed including the Italian trio of Luca Colhaghi, Filippo Zana and Rastelli. Arensman Thymen (Netherlands) and Donovan were also there. However, they continued to trail the lone leader by 30 seconds.

With 4 kilometers remaining, Rastelli had left the rest of the chase group behind in pursuit of Johansen.

In the finishing straight, the Dane had plenty of time to sit-up and soak-in the crowd, as he became world champion.

Behind, Rastelli was desperately trying to hold off a hard-charging peloton that had swept up the rest of the chase group. He would be caught right on the line, but still managed to capture the silver medal. His teammate, Gazzoli, was right behind winning the reduced bunch sprint for the bronze medal.

The top American on the day was Jorgenson, who finished 53rd, 3:53 behind the winner.

Full results