Nationals round-up: Pogačar, Evenepoel, and Vollering win for the first time

As the dust settles on a weekend chock-full of racing, all that's left is to see the new kit designs.

A well-timed late move set Evenepoel up for a two-up sprint against Lotto DSTNY’s Alec Segaert. Photo © Cor Vos

Escape Collective
by Escape Collective 26.06.2023 Photography by
Cor Vos
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The results came thick and fast this weekend as dozens of countries held their national road and TT championships. There were some rather predictable victories and also some surprises … plus a few wins that were surprising in the sense that you’d have predicted, surely, those riders had already won national titles.

Read on for a round-up of the results that caught our attention this past weekend.

First-time national champs

The list of first-time national champions is pretty long, but there were some big names on it, including:

Pogačar’s breakthrough is particularly surprising, as he’s raced elite nationals four times previously without a win. In fact it’s just the second time he’s reached the podium, after finishing second to Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) in 2020.

Other first-time winners of their Nationals road race included:

When Vollering decides to go, there aren’t usually many who can follow, even in a deep field like at Dutch road nationals.

Repeat winners

There were a bunch of big-name riders returning to the top step this past weekend, not least Christine Majerus (Luxembourg). Majerus bounced back from her shock loss in last weekend’s ITT – her first loss since 2006! – to win another road race title. I mean, just check out this honour roll. Ridiculous.

That’s 14 wins in a row for Majerus.

Emilia Fahlin returned to the top step in Sweden with her fourth win. Check out her longevity and how spread out her wins are:

Fahlin won her first road race title as a 19-year-old back in 2008, took five years to get her next (2013), another four to win title #3 (2018), then another five years to get her fourth this past weekend.

Other notable repeat winners included:

And then there was Emils Liepins who doubled up as Latvian champion and also became Baltic Champion for the first time. Since 2021, the Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian national champs have all been decided in the same race.

Winners of the road/TT double

Tadej Pogačar also leads the list of riders to do the road-TT double. He now has three ITT titles to go along with his road title. Other riders to do the double included:

Urška Žigart barely missed matching, ahem, her boyfriend in Slovenia, finishing second in the road race. Twenty-year-old Alec Segaert notched the rare second-place double – in Belgium no less – in his first year in the elite field. Kid’s going places.

And in the category of “road/TT doubles we expect to happen”, keep an eye on Marlen Reusser (Switzerland). The Swiss ITT titles were postponed following the tragic death of Gino Mäder and will now be held later in the season. Assuming Reusser is there, expect her to win her fifth national ITT title.

Big solo wins

If you’re going to win your national title, why not do it with panache?

Ben Healy absolutely destroyed the field in Ireland, going on a 100 km solo to win by over four minutes. Obviously his 50 km solo effort to win a stage of the Giro last month wasn’t hard enough. If the young lad keeps this up, he’s going to get himself a reputation.

Over in Switzerland, Marlen Reusser’s Tour de Suisse-winning form helped her to a solo win in the road race, more than two minutes clear of second. Just Marlen doing Marlen things.

National champs expected at the Tour de France

When the Tour de France kicks off in Bilbao this coming weekend, we’re expecting to see a bunch of national champion’s jerseys on the startline. We say “expecting” because rosters aren’t complete yet, but here are some of the national road race champs that seem a good chance to be there, at the time of writing:

Van Baarle should be at the Tour de France in the Dutch champ’s kit. Meanwhile, it’s a tie between Olav Kooij and Mathieu van der Poel for “Best Begrudging Podium Smile”.

Here are some of the riders we expect to see in national champ’s colours during the stage 16 time trial at the Tour:

The Giro d’Italia Donne starts this week too but predicting which national champs will start there is a little trickier. To say the lead-up has been messy would be incredibly kind to race organisers, so it’s not surprise we don’t have a functional startlist yet.

But, based on what we do know, it’s probably maybe most likely that Mavi Garcia (Spain) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) might be there, rocking their respective tricolor jerseys.

A few notable TT results

While the road races are always the main event at a national championships, there were a few time trial performances worth mentioning too. Perhaps the most significant of those came from Josh Tarling who won Great Britain’s ITT title by more than a minute … as a 19-year-old racing his first elite title. He’s the youngest-ever rider to win in that field.

Tarling, last year’s junior ITT world champion, was eligible to race in the U23 ranks, but opted not to, saying “I get all the help with Ineos [Grenadiers] … so I think it would be unfair to enter the U23 because a lot of them don’t get the help I get.” Fair play, young man.

In other ITT news:

Fun facts and other tid-bits

Here are a few other bits and pieces that stood out to us from the weekend:

Remco Evenepoel became the first Belgian rider in 84 years to win his nationals road race while in the rainbow jersey. That means whatever kit Soudal Quick-Step designs, we won’t see him in it again this year … except perhaps at the season-ending Il Lombardia, since the only other races on his calendar (so far) are August’s Donostia San Sebastien Klasikoa and defending his title at the Road World Championships. In the hierarchy of jerseys, world champion > national champion.

We won’t be seeing this jersey much this year.

SD Worx continued its dominance even without the benefit of the team strength it usually has, with five road titles over the weekend (Vollering, Reusser, Kopecky, Majerus, and Vas). That means more than a quarter of its roster of 16 riders will wear national champ’s kit for the rest of the year.

Since six SD Worx riders are Dutch, that means four of the riders from the six other nations represented on the team won their respective national road titles. And Lorena Wiebes wears the European champion’s kit as well. Tidy.

Just one of many national champ’s jerseys for SD Worx.

Sweden’s Jenny Rissveds took a short break from the World Cup mountain bike calendar to take out a national time trial title. The road races (won by Emilia Fahlin and Lukas Ericsson) were almost canceled due to [checks notes] residents’ complaints about road closures, before a late move to an auto racing venue saved the events. Car brain is real, even in Sweden.

And finally, check out Mathieu van der Poel‘s amazing skills during the Dutch men’s road race.

Were there other performances from Nationals weekend that stood out to you? Let us know in the comments!

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