Autumn round-up: from Belgium to Qatar

I’ve rather permitted the season to peter out and for that I apologise. Last time I wrote about actual racing, Steve Cummings had won the Tour of Britain. What’s happened since then?

Eneco Tour

I rather like the Eneco Tour, but didn’t really get chance to follow it too closely this year. It’s rough and rugged spring classics style racing for bigger riders, but it happens in autumn and it’s a stage race.

2014 Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra took the overall. He didn’t win a stage, but was part of a three-man break that gained 40 seconds on the peloton on the final day. That combined with fifth place in the time trial is pretty much what did it for him.

Il Lombardia

Otherwise known as the Tour of Lombardy. The final WorldTour (no space) event of the season is a hilly, perhaps even mountainous one-day race and so is typically contested by familiar names from the Grand Tours.

It wasn’t therefore an enormous surprise that it was won by Esteban Chaves, a man who has twice this year been on the podium in a three-week race. He was part of a four-man group of hardnuts at the finish with everyone else battered into submission.

Italian rider Diego Rosa somehow came second despite spending half the race working for Fabio Aru; another Colombian, Rigoberto Uran, came third; and Romain Bardet couldn’t quite hack the pace and therefore didn’t manage to contest the sprint.

The World Championships

It was very much a case of normal service being resumed at this year’s Worlds. If road cycling isn’t actually quite as tumultuous as it sometimes appears right now, the results nevertheless brought a faint whiff of stability.

Tony Martin won the men’s time trial and Peter Sagan won the men’s road race. It literally doesn’t get more straightforward than that. (Mark Cavendish came second in the latter, incidentally.)

I don’t normally link to highlights videos, but the road race one’s worth a watch. They went for a discordant soundtrack of tones and drones that lends a genuinely exotic air to visuals that alternate between desolate and opulent. There’s also a bit where a guy drops a screwdriver.

In the women’s events, Amber Neben (USA) won the time trial and Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark) won the road race. Considering Olympic time trial gold medallist Kristin Armstrong is 43, Neben seems positively youthful at 41. Dideriksen, meanwhile, is 20. Who says you only get a short career in pro sport?

What’s next?

Winter. Sign up for the site’s email so that you don’t miss its reawakening.

I’m sure summat’ll happen in coming weeks that compels me to write, but if it doesn’t, the next race on the calendar is the Tour Down Under in January.