With the time trials in the books at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, road racing got underway on Thursday with the men’s and women’s juniors events. Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel doubled up on junior world titles on the men’s side, claiming the road race just two days after winning the individual time trial. On the women’s side, Austria’s Laura Stigger gave the home crowd something to cheer for, nabbing the win in a hard-fought sprint out of a small group.
After muscling back into contention following an early crash, Evenepoel showed off his promising engine with a flurry of attacks that dropped one rival after another from the lead group before he pressed on solo inside the final 20 kilometers. No one came close to bringing him back.
The 18-year-old — who already has a deal with Quick-Step Floors for next season — finished 1:25 ahead of his nearest rival, Germany’s Marius Mayrhofer. Italy’s Alessandro Fancellu claimed the bronze medal, a further 13 seconds back.
Stigger hung with a select group on the tough circuit and then won the women’s title with her fast finish. She out-maneuvered Marie Le Net (France) and Simone Boilard (Canada) at the end of the 70.8-kilometer race to claim victory in a mad dash to the line.
“It’s incredible to win in my hometown. Thanks to the people for standing on the course and cheering me on. It’s a very tight victory,” Stigger said.
“My legs were burning in the sprint. This morning I didn’t believe I had any chance of winning because it’s only my second road race. I just wanted to have fun and now I’m the world champion. It’s unbelievable!”