Saturday, November 27 2021

Cian Uijtdebroeks finished sixth in the junior men’s time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Flanders, although it was an incident that came closer to the race that could prove to be more lasting in the memory that his Tuesday run.

The 18-year-old’s participation in the race was questioned last week after being injured while confronting a burglar at his home in Wallonia, having sprained a muscle behind his knee.

Uijtdebroeks was home alone in Hannut when he heard a noise through his open window and spotted an intruder hiding outside. Rushing downstairs to turn on the anti-theft alarm, Uijtdebroeks injured his knee, knocking him off the bike for several days.

His efforts were not quite on par with former Everton footballer Duncan Ferguson, who twice sent would-be burglars to hospital after catching them at his home, but the blame cannot be blamed on the Belgian for having avoided acting a week before the biggest races of his season.

Uijtdebroeks, who will move to the WorldTour with Bora-Hansgrohe next season, said after the 22.3 kilometer test that while he didn’t notice his injury during the time trial, it made it clear. affected on his way from Knokke-Heist to Bruges. 41 seconds behind the eventual winner, the Danish Gustav Wang.

“In the last few days I have had problems with my injury again, but during the race you don’t feel it because of the concentration and the adrenaline”, he told the press gathered at the end. of a considerable period in the mixed zone beyond the finish line.

“My power meter showed that I was putting a little more power on my left leg than on my right leg, that I injured myself. That means that I was still a little afraid of going all the way. if there’s a reaction tomorrow, but it shouldn’t be that bad. “

Uijtdebroeks, who has been dubbed “the next Evenepoel” by sections of the Belgian press, completely bypassing the traditional “the next Merckx” jinx granted to the Belgians after the Belgians over the years, said the incident and the injury caused certainly disrupted his preparation for the time. trial.

He added that the pan-flat course was not his cup of tea either, comparing it to the time trial of the recent European Championships in Trento, where he finished second behind his teammate – and the new bronze medalist at the Worlds – Alec. Segaert.

“Of course it had a bit because the preparation was not perfect because of that. We think about it too, so it had a little impact. But in the end, the course was not perfect for Neither did I. He had one In the end, I gave everything I had but it wasn’t enough to win.

“At the European Championships, I had the advantage that there were a few climbing sections on the course. It wasn’t really uphill but on each stretch that goes up a bit I have an advantage due to my weight. the flat and the descent, I am at a disadvantage.

“On this course there was no climb, so the bigger riders have an advantage anyway. Winner Gustav Wang is an aerodynamicist, and I still have to work on that too.”

Belgium’s last junior world champion – Evenepoel – wowed the competition in Innsbruck three years ago, winning the time trial in 1:24 and the road race in 1:25. It was dominant rides like this – like his 4:46 victory at the Alpine Junior Classic in May – that saw Uijtdebroeks hailed as the next big thing.

Asked about the media pressure and runner comparisons he has already been subjected to, Uijtdebroeks acknowledged them but said he had tried to focus on himself, something he will continue over the course of the week as he ‘he is preparing for the road race on Friday, where he’ I am one of the favorites again.

“I don’t think too much about it, but for sure it puts some pressure on a runner because they think you can win anywhere,” he said. “Like they think Remco won the world championships and everything, but if you look at the course there it was going up. If you put today’s time trial on a big climb it would be different. , so in the end you can’t see these two things together For me I want to be the best rider for myself and I don’t look at other riders much.

“On Friday I will give everything I can again, once again for my people in Belgium. I hope for a tough race and I hope I can make it difficult. First of all, we have to wait and see that my injury does not recur. “


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