Before we move on to the last Monument of the season, let’s reflect on what happened in Richmond. My deeply held fears of the American organizers making a mess of things were unrealized. The two cobbled climbs were spectacles and the resulting road races were pretty damn fine.
Personally, I don’t think the Worlds should ever end up in a bunch sprint. Sprinters should have their chance but the race should be so tough that even a flat course ends up in a fractured gasp for the line. The women’s finish was not a field sprint. Lizzy Armitstead led from the bottom of the last hill and made sure no one got past her for very long. Anna VDB was there but she was not going to win this one. Armitstead was probably the strongest/fastest in her field and kept it together to prove that.
Peter Sagan won from kilometers out, gaining time with each corner. He might not have been the strongest or fastest but he was most definitely the smartest. He sat in the field the whole race and then jumped everyone with a move that won the day.
Neither winner had a strong team for support. When it comes down to the final kilometers, it’s all legs, brains and heart.
It will be a pleasure seeing the rainbow stripes on these two for the next year.