Road World Championships 2019: Men’s road race preview, prediction, route and road closures
Julian Alaphilippe will be the man to beat in the final instalment of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, Sunday’s elite men’s road race.
The French rider lit up the Tour de France this summer with his brand of aggressive riding, wearing the yellow jersey for most of the three weeks only to finally break in the giant Alpine mountains.
There are none of those lurking on this route from Leeds to Harrogate, but there is plenty of difficult rolling relief that will suit Alaphilippe and detract from key rivals with a faster sprinter, like three-time world champion Peter Sagan.
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Mathieu van der Poel is perhaps his most potent challenger. The Dutch rider has been in scintillating form this season and won the cyclo-cross world title among his many achievements, so the road race crown would complete a rare double.
There are plenty of other challengers, like the Belgian cohort of Greg Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert and young Remco Evenepoel, while the Italian Matteo Trentin always enjoys long routes like this one.
The weather is also likely to be something of a leveller. It is set to rain for much of the morning while the wind across the Yorkshire moors has proved decisive in several races already this week.
But even so, Alaphilippe will take some stopping. He carried similar expectations last year and failed to deliver, but with a brilliant summer behind him and French team geared towards his success, this might just be his time.
Mathieu van der Poel to go close but ultimately Julian Alaphilippe to be too strong, kicking away before Harrogate and holding on through the seven laps of the circuit.
The race is set to start at around 9.30am in Leeds, with an estimated finish time of around 3pm.
Follow the race here live with our latest updates.
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