Alaphilippe becomes the first road racing world champion in France since 1997

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                Julian Alaphilippe a remporté la victoire en solitaire aux championnats du monde de cyclisme sur route dimanche, devenant le premier détenteur du maillot arc-en-ciel de la France depuis 1997.
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                                    <p>Alaphilippe a eu le temps de frapper dans les airs avant de lever les bras au-dessus de sa tête alors qu'il franchissait la ligne d'arrivée sur le circuit automobile d'Imola pour terminer premier de la course sur route masculine.

Belgian rider Wout van Aert won a sprint for second place, 24 seconds behind Alaphilippe, with Marc Hirschi from Switzerland third at the end of the difficult course.

It was a moving victory for Alaphilippe, whose father died in June, and the 28-year-old was in tears after crossing the finish line and stepping onto the podium.

“Right now it’s really hard to say something,” he said. “I want to say thank you to all my teammates who really believe in me today. Everyone did a great job.

“It was a dream of my career. Sometimes I was so close and I was never on the podium. I came here with a lot of ambition and it’s just a dream day for me. ”

Laurent Brochard was the last French driver to win the world title in road racing.

The final race of the championships featured a total of 5,000 meters of climbing in 258.2 kilometers (160 miles). Nine laps of a circuit started and ended at the city’s motor racing track.

There were two abrupt climbs in each lap – the Mazzolano and the Cima Gallisterna – and Alaphilippe attacked on the final ascent of the Gallisterna, 12 kilometers from the end.

He quickly established a slim advantage over a world-class fighter group and held them back to secure victory.

The race took place exactly one week after the end of the Tour de France, with Tadej Pogacar becoming the youngest winner in 116 years of history.

The 22-year-old Slovenian led Sunday’s race on the final lap, with an advantage of around 20 seconds, after attacking with just over 40 kilometers to go.

However, Pogacar was caught by the peloton on the Mazzolano.

Worlds have been moved to Imola after Swiss host Aigle-Martigny withdrew due to a government decision limiting mass gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The revised event only included the elite men and women categories, eliminating the junior and under 23 races.

(AP)

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