West Australia’s Michael Storer was the top Australian finisher in the junior men’s road race at the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, United States in sixteenth place.
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“The race was really hard today, it was very wet and slippery and quite dangerous,” explained Storer. “I tried to stay safe the first few laps and make sure I was near the front for the climbs.”
Storer, Samuel Jenner (NSW) and Harry Sweeny (QLD) faced a wet and slippery course as they started the eight laps of the 16.2 kilometre city centre course around Richmond. A number of crashes on the opening lap resulted in an early end to the race for a number of riders, fortunately all three Australians we able to avoid the incidents.
It was a race with constant attacking as moves went clear only to be caught before the next move would go. Jack Maddux (United States) was the first to attack with a 20 second advantage at the end of the first lap. Julian Cardona (Colombia) made the junction to the American as the gap hovered around 20 to 30 seconds as they started the third lap.
Joey Walker (Great Britain) and Bjorg Lambrecht (Belgium) were the next riders to go across but the quartet were soon caught and the race together as they crossed the line with three laps completed. Attacks continued on lap four with the peloton unwilling to let any more get away.
On the fifth lap the constant pressure enabled a group of fourteen including Michael Storer to get off the front. Storer was joined by Martin Salomon (Germany), Stan Dewulf (Belgium), El Mehdi Chokri (Morocco), Vitor Schizzi (Brazil), Niklas Larsen (Denmark), Dusan Rajovic (Serbia), Louis Louvet (France), Aleksander Borisov (Russia), Julian Cardona (Colombia), Adrien Costa (United States), Lars Saugstad (Norway), Keagan Girdlestone (South Africa) and Nikolay Ilichev (Russia).
The break with Storer while briefly looking like they could build up an advantage was caught early on lap six with Aaron Verwilst (Belgium) going away solo with a number of riders trying to ride across to him. Storer and Jenner were both well positioned in the peloton waiting for the final two laps.
The penultimate lap featured multiple attacks and as the race entered the final lap a group of 15 consisting of Bjorg Lambrecht (Belgium), Felix Gall (Austria), Anthon Charmig (Denmark), Michael O’Loughlin (Ireland), Patrick Haller (Germany), Adrien Costa (United States), Matteo Sobrero (Italy), Dusan Rajovic (Serbia), Niklas Larsen (Denmark, Alexys Brunel (France), Tobias Foss (Norway), Reto Muller (Switzerland), Tanguy Turgis (France), Martin Salomon (Germany) and Nathan Draper (GBR) had built a gap.
The field was split up in to several groups behind with Storer part of one 26secs behind and Jenner 21secs further back.
Mid way through the final lap Felix Gall (Austria) had a 18 second advantage on Nathan Draper (GBR), Rasmus Pedersen (DEN) Nicola Conci (ITA) Martin Salomon (GER) Betouigt-Suire (FRA) Michael O’Loughlin (IRL) Mathias Norsgaard (DEN) Marc Hirschi (SUI) Brunel (FRA). While Storer was in main peloton just under 40 seconds behind the solo leader.
Despite an ever closing chase Gall held on to take the win with Clement Betouigt-Suire (France) finishing with silver ahead of Rasmus Pedersen (Denmark). Store crossed the line in the second main chase group 36 seconds behind the leader. While Jenner was happy to finish in 54th position after an earlier crash. Sweeny was forced to withdraw from the race after his derailleur was torn off after being ridden in to.
“Heading in to the second last time up the hills that is when all the moves went and I was close enough to the front,” explained Storer. “When the group joined up again on the flat I was right in the mix.
“Quite a lot of people attacked off the front and I thought everyone would follow and the group would jump across but they all sat up and the then the gap was too big.
“The Polish team tried to chase it down but it was bit too late. Up the last climb all the groups formed and I went with that group to the finish.
“The climbs were really hard with the very narrow roads and the steepness and slippery cobbles.
“The team rode really well. Sam was right in there and Harry had a bit of bad luck with a mechanical.”
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