World Championships: A to Z (Part 2) from Nostalgia to Zzzs

Deep breath everyone, we’re diving back into Bergen!

N is for Nostalgia

When the day of the race dawns and you get to thinking how close you came to rainbows. Love this exchange between Matt Goss and the man who beat him in 2011, Mark Cavendish.

While we’re on a trip down down memory lane, there was a whole lotta love for Norway’s only rainbow clad warrior (and Bergen’s Race Ambassador) Thor Hushovd #GodOfThunder

O is for One and Only

What can you say about Peter Sagan? The man is an utter superstar

with a palmares to back up his prodigious talent and a penchant for rainbows.

He made history when he broke Norwegian hearts with a bike throw to snatch the rainbows from Alexander Kristoff. The only man in 84 editions of the race to take three world champion titles on the bounce – and on his 101st professional victory to boot.

Andrew Hood’s piece for Velo News  explores this piece of history and just what makes Sagan so extraordinary at the Worlds.

There are a lot of races in a year, but this one is special. You need luck. It’s like a lottery.

VeloVoice Fabrizio has another theory relating to hair

He thrives in these unpredictable one day championships because he has the knack of laying back to see what happens, and the versatility to adapt to just about any race situation. Everyone was talking about a 3-Pete before the race

But he played cool, calm and relaxed

and you just know this was his actual strategy

Sagan jersey stats

Twitter had the answer of course

Which the guys at Global Cycling Network give as…quite staggering really

There are some young fans who don’t remember anyone else in the rainbow jersey

Mr Sagan has hung up his wheels for this season so we’ll have to wait until 2018 to see what BORA-hansgrohe will produce for him to wear next year, but I rather like the sound of this…

P is for Pidcock – Tom Pidcock

This young British tyro blazed around the U19 time trial course to add another rainbow jersey to one he claimed for cyclo-cross last year. Then gave everything for the GB in the road race.

We doubt there’s anything the multi-talented Mr Pidcock can’t achieve once he sets his mind to it. Like many CX stars before him, he’s already got his eyes on the WorldTour peloton. Mark the name.

He’s often compared to VeloVoices favourite Zdenek Stybar, but this kinda makes sense too.

Q is for Queen of the TT

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It was a duel in orange for the Elite women’s time trial. Anna van der Breggen chose to go early and set a benchmark time that no one got close to. No one except teammate Annemiek van Vleuten. With rain on the course she matched van der Breggen at the early time checks before pulling clear in the final kms to take her first rainbow jersey by 12secs.

It was emotional for all of us who saw her horrific crash in the Olympic road race at Rio.

and none more so than for Annemiek herself..

To be an athlete, there are ups and downs, but the downs make the ups even more beautiful, I think. It’s also really beautiful without the crash in Rio, but this makes the story really special.

How wonderful is this? The rainbow jersey taking the time to inspire youngsters at the start of their own World dreams.

R is for Race to Celebrate

Never was a hashtag more appropriate. The organisers for the Bergen Championships created something special for the athletes to give of their best. The riders produced performances that thrilled us in so many ways. The fans gave it vibrancy and joy. Everything came together to make this World Championships one that will stay in out memories for years to come. The benchmark.

The celebration wasn’t just for those racing. There was whole festival of cycling for everyone, a real sense of inclusivity that shone through in so may ways.

From the young.

Who wouldn’t want to be this little child on the bike path?

To the elderly, so often the forgotten segment of modern society. I thought at first this was a story about the residents of a home watching the race pass by.

But it was so much more. Which us of wouldn’t like to do this in our senior years?

S is for Scandinavian air

Sometimes Twitter just catches my funny bone, this tweet from Andrew was one of those occasions.

For those that don’t know, there is a long-standing theory that the Dane Michael Valgren bears more than a passing likeness to Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones. Can you see the resemblance?

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He doesn’t seem to mind #TopMan

Michael has ridden all year with this race on his mind. With the scent of battle on Salmon Hill he made his move and then put in a warrior’s performance, along with the rest of the Danish Vikings, to animate the finale.

He might not have walked away with the rainbow but he certainly found the pot of gold at the end. Congratulations to the happy couple. #ForeverMine

T is for Twice Team Time Trial Champions

What’s better than winning a team time trial at the World championships? Winning TWO! Which is precisely the feat Team Sunweb performed on the opening weekend. The parcours with windswept bridges and stinger of a climb really tested the togetherness element of the discipline, and the riders in black and white were not found wanting. It was definitely a #SunwebSunday

The secret to their success? Leah Kirchmann has the answers in her article for Cycling News.

Watch and learn folks

U is for Unexpected rainbow joy

Everyone and their dog expected the mighty Dutch team to dominate the elite women’s road race. They certainly made their strength pay, placing three in the crucial final move. While all the attention focused on fancied favourites Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten, Chantal Blaak seized the opportune moment and rode away solo to take an unexpected, but oh so deserving victory – after crashing earlier in the race.

Cav hits the nail on the head

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She couldn’t quite believe it at first, but by the time she got to the podium the hugest of smiles appeared.

I think she’ll be wearing it for a long time yet

View this post on Instagram

3 days later & still this feeling 😎

A post shared by Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (@chantalvandenbroekblaak) on

V is for Vivacious Vocals

From rousing renditions of national anthems to fans breaking out into tuneful (or not) chants of support, singing has never been far from the action in Bergen.

As befits any major sporting event these days there is an official song, “We all have someone at the finish line”

But the race organisers blew me away with this. A cycling choir serenading fans and riders alike. Come ON!

The article also mentions the importance music plays in the rich cultural heritage of Norway. I like to think Twitter played its own small part in this laudable aim.

W is for Waiting with bated breath

One minute we were watching Julian Alaphilippe and Gianni Moscon riding like fury and Vasil Kiryienka being awesome

The next minute – nothing, nada, zip – the host broadcasters lost the ability to send pictures due to a power outage. As the race entered the crucial final phase everyone was on the edge of their seat waiting and willing the riders to fly around the corner into the realm of the fixed camera. Who… WHO WOULD IT BE!!!

Safe to say I nearly had a heart attack when the lone Dane appeared and Twitter lit up when Peter Sagan did his thing.

We had no idea how we got from Alaphilippe to Sagan until much later. Here’s the missing kilometres in case you still haven’t seen them.

X is for X-List

I was going to use the letter X  to talk about Gianni Moscon. But why sully the round-up of a brilliant week with such a black mark? So I’m making an executive decision to use a photograph that grabbed my attention but couldn’t fit into a category. It illustrates exactly what it means to some riders to race for their country. Ireland’s Sean McKenna made the BOTD for the elite men and when his work was done found his father in the crowd. #Chapeau [I totally approve of your executive decision, Midge – Ed.]

Y is for You’ve got to hand it to Norway

They certainly put on a Championship with style.

Rainbow dustbins that transport the litter straight to containers a kilometre away via some magical underground rubbish chutes.

Policemen that know how to deal with the very occasional running fan – icehockey body check style

and can party with the best of them

Perhaps best of all, knitted tree cosies

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Woollen trees😉#Trees #worlds2017 #bergen

A post shared by Mavis Evans (@mave1337) on

Z is for ZZZZZZs

We salute these diehard fans staking prime position on the finish line – the day before the race. Hope it was a dry night.

That’s a wrap for Bergen 2017. The next rainbow festival is in Innsbruck.

It’s big shoes to fill, but I’m sure we’ll find just as much to talk about this time next year. One thing Innsbruck, any chance you could fix this for the tweeting cycling fan?


Until then – tusen takk Norway

Header image:  © Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images

2 thoughts on “World Championships: A to Z (Part 2) from Nostalgia to Zzzs

  1. Gerard van Bohemen says:

    Very nice!
    But i’m missing the fact that the organisation was about a million euro short.
    After that came out in the newspapers, the Norwegian fans decided to put money together, to get the figures right again!!!
    How about that!!!
    Great people those Norwegian!!!

  2. Pingback: VeloVoices Podcast 112: The Dark, Dashing Dutchman and the Falling Leaves. | VeloVoices

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