The Chrono des Nations is the successor to the Grand Prix des Nations, which was long the most prestigious time trial in professional cycling and was won by the likes of Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, and Bernard Hinault. After turning himself inside out all year for the team, Jos van Emden finally had his moment to shine. The Dutch time-trial champion pulverised the 46.3-km course, averaging well over 50 km/hr to take top honours and Team Jumbo-Visma’s 52nd win of the year. Primož Roglič rounded out the podium.
Spread over two weekends at the end of the European cycling season, the Italian fall classics are among the most beautiful races on the professional calendar. The leaves have begun to turn and there is often a chill in the air. The riders are in sharp form after the world championships and ready to race for the season’s final honours on the steep climbs and grandiose city-centre circuits in northern Italy. First come the Giro dell’Emilia, GP Bruno Beghelli and Tre Valli Varesine, which make up the trittico Lombardo. Then, Milano-Torino and Gran Piemonte lead to the grand finale, Il Lombardia, which is one of cycling’s five monuments. Primož Roglič wrapped up his outstanding season with dominant wins in the Tre Valli Varesine and Giro dell’Emilia and secured his number-one spot on the UCI’s individual rankings. At Il Lombardia, he put up another great fight, but was marked out of contention by his rivals and ended seventh.
The 2019 world championships in Yorkshire will be remembered for horrendous weather. The parcours had to be altered due to flooding. Cold rain pelted down from the start to the finish. Team Jumbo-Visma’s riders were prepared. The team had four riders in the race. Amund Grøndahl Jansen rode for Norway, Primož Roglič for Slovenia, and Mike Teunissen and Jos van Emden for the Netherlands. They each had their AGU issued rain kit to deal with the weather and performed very well for their respective countries. Primož Roglič joined the early break up in the Dales and led the race onto the circuits in Harrogate. Jos van Emden and Mike Teunissen rode as super domestiques for the Dutch team. Teunissen made the front group in the finale and worked tirelessly for his captain, Mathieu van der Poel. Amund Grøndahl Jansen finished 17th. It was surely one of the toughest races of the year.
Primož Roglič finally got his grand-tour victory. After winning Tirreno-Adriatico, the UAE Tour, and Tour de Romandie, and finishing third at the Giro, he had already shown himself to be the most consistent stage racer in the peloton. The Giro only quickened his appetite. After dominating the first two weeks and winning the Italian race’s first two time trials, he had faded in the third week and had to fight tooth and nail to maintain his spot. This time, he arrived on the start line fresher and with a better idea of how to dose his efforts over the three weeks. With the help of his teammates, he rode like a true champion, winning the stage-10 time trial and fending off attacks from all comers in the high mountains. His triumph wasn’t Team Jumbo-Visma’s only success at the Vuelta. Young American climber Sepp Kuss won the 15th stage with a dramatic mountaintop finish.
Dylan Groenewegen was not entirely satisfied after the Tour de France. Though he earned a great sprint victory on the seventh stage in Chalon-sur-Saône, he missed out on several other occasions, including two second places and a third. The Amsterdammer is a winner and had hoped for more. At the Tour of Britain, he got it. Three times, he left the best sprinters in the race in his dust. “Success,” he said, “is the best revenge.”
Team Jumbo-Visma’s Vuelta got off to an unfortunate start. Having won the first stages of both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, the team was aiming to make it three for three during the opening team time trial of the Spanish grand tour, a 13.4-km test in Torrevieja. After dominating the TTT at the Tour, they were in flying form and knew they had a very good chance. Steven Kruijswijk and Primož Roglič were aiming to set the tone in the race for the red jersey.
Midway through the race, they came speeding round a corner at full pace, just as they’d practiced during the recon. This time, there was a puddle on the road through. A child’s swimming pool had burst. In a second, their wheels slid out from under them, and they crashed hard into the barriers. Months of work had come to nought. They weren’t discouraged though. In moments, they were back up and on their bikes. Tony Martin, George Bennet, Robert Gesink, Kruijswijk, and Roglič managed to limit their losses to 40 seconds, though Kruijswijk had hurt his knee. It’s when things go wrong that a team shows its character.
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