The final race of the 2023 European Championships, an interesting profile as on paper it almost looks to be a race for the sprinters, if only it weren't for the ascents of the Col du Vam. 400 meters at 10% in the cobblestones the VAM-berg will be a very tough effort.
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Five riders took to the early break of the day including a man who has already been crowned European Champion this week. Newly crowned time-trial champion Joshua Tarling, Rory Townsend, Stefan Bissegger, Mathias Vacek and Norman Vathra.
With just over 110km to go, there was then a big crash that split the peloton. The likes of Filippo Ganna, Ethan Vernon and Bauke Mollema among those caught up in the incident.
As the peloton accelerated before the first ascent of the VAM-berg, the breakaway's advantage was drastically cut. Just three riders remained out front as things calmed down once again, Townsend, Vacek and Bissegger.
More and more counterattacks from the peloton were coming as the laps began to dwindle but with 40km to go, Bissegger and Vacek remained out front together with Townsend having dropped off.
With just over 30km to go though, their day out front was finally brought to a conclusion as a peloton led by the Italian riders came roaring past.
On the VAM-berg, Filippo Ganna launched a testing attack. Wout van Aert and Mads Pedersen were both immediately on the Italian's wheel and the move stalling.
On the penultimate lap, there was then another crash and sadly for Ganna, he was one of the riders caught up, all but ruling him out of race-winning contention.
10 riders were on the positive side of the split following the crash. The likes of van Aert, Pedersen, Arnaud De Lie, Christophe Laporte and Olav Kooij all involved.
With just over 12km to go, Laporte made his attack and initially, the chase behind stalled. With 3km to go the Frenchman still had around 10 seconds advantage as he dangled out front tantalisingly.
As Laporte seemed to be soloing to glory, Arnaud De Lie was driving van Aert back into contention with a brilliant effort.
When van Aert kicked for the line it looked for a moment as if he had stolen the win at the finale but Laporte kicked once again to victory with Olav Kooij coming home in third.
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