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Bennett and Lavery medal shot thwarted by crash

Posted 23 September 2011

 

Sam Bennett and Philip Lavery’s hopes of taking a medal at the U23 World’s Road Race were dashed in the final two kilometres when a crash caused them to lose ground as the race wound up itself up for a sprint finish won by Frenchman Arnaud Demare.

The Irish duo had ridden a superb race up to that point but the incident near the head of the peloton forced Bennett to unclip while Lavery had to brake hard to steer his way around a fallen rider.

The incident was a cruel twist of fate for the pair who started the race in Copenhagen with Felix English and who certainly made their presence felt despite being one of the smaller national teams in the race.

Lavery was especially active in the explosive first lap and was a constant force towards the head of the race as the peloton worked to keep close tabs on a two-man break that had formed during the second lap.

Breakaway riders Carlos Alexandre Manarelli (Brazil) and Gianluca Leonardi (Italy) were eventually recaptured at the start of the penultimate lap, shortly after eighteen year old English abandoned the race.

Former Irish international Chris Juul Jensen (Denmark) was part of  a six-man move which formed at that point but the race regrouped as it headed into the final lap with Lavery and Bennett still very much in contention.

Attacks by the Italian and Austrian teams failed to split the field over the final 14 kilometres and the two Irish riders showed every sign of being in the final shake up as the race entered the closing stages.

Both were well positioned with two kilometres to go having already survived one crash in the field. Their luck though ran out when the second crash occurred as the riders jostled for positions on the run into the uphill finish.

Both riders managed to avoid hitting the deck but faced an impossible task to work their way back into contention as the French and English teams began to dominate the finishing sprint.

Denmare timed his race winning move to perfection and the French had double cause for celebration when Adrien Petit held off An Post Sean Kelly team rider Andrew Fenn (Great Britain) for the silver medal.

Lavery finished 53rd in the same time as the winner while Bennett placed 95th after losing 37 seconds.

Results:

UCI World Road Race Championships, U23 Road Race, 168kms

1.  Arnaud Demare (France) 3:52:16
2.  Adrien Petit (France)
3.  Andrew Fenn (Great Britain)
4.  Rudiger Selig (Germany)
5.  Marco Haller (Austria)
6.  Filippo Fortin (Italy)
7.  Wouter Wippert (Netherlands)
8.  Alexey Tsatevitch (Russian Federation)
9.  Tosh Van Der Sande (Belgium)
10. Andris Smirnovs (Latvia)

53. Philip Lavery (Ireland) – same time
95. Sam Bennett (Ireland) at 37 seconds

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