The Great Britain elite men’s road team worked as one in the elite men’s road race, securing Ethan Hayter a ninth place finish on the final day of the Great Britain’s Cycling Team’s most successful road world championships in recent years.
In an animated race that saw attacks from the off, the Great Britain team, made up of Ethan Hayter, Luke Rowe, Jake Stewart, Ben Swift, Connor Swift, Ben Tullet, Ben Turner Fred Wright, executed their roles well and delivered a strong performance.
The race saw attacks from the start, with a breakaway forming just ahead of the 6km Mount Keira climb of 11 riders, including five French and Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar, ahead by 2:24.
The first lap of the Wollongong city circuit saw Jake Stewart and Ben Tullet get into a chase group including Australia’s Michael Matthews and defending world champion Julian Alaphillipe.
Throughout the bulk of the racing, a strong lead group remained, its members changing periodically, with the biggest gap from the peloton being around eight minutes. However, with four laps to go both the breakaway and peloton split into two as the attacks started and the race began to heat up, leaving three major groups. Britain’s Jake Stewart and Ben Tullet made it to the front chase group, 01:10 behind the breakaway of nine.
With around 45km to go, Belgium’s Quintin Hermans launched an attack to close the gap between the chase and lead groups, taking Evenepoel with him, a move that would give Evenepoel the space he needed to go full gas and create a lead that was too long to ever be brought back, leaving him to sensationally claim the world title.
With 30km to go and Ben Tullet still in the front group, Great Britain made a play from the bunch to join the chase group. But an unfortunate puncture for Jake Stewart on the penultimate climb dropped him from the bunch and effectively ended his contention in what was otherwise a spectacular ride for the Brit.
This left Wright and Hayter working hard to reach Tullet at the front and in a sensational final push, they made it to the finishing straight to go for the bunch sprint after over six hours of racing. Hayter dug deep, but a final podium to end the championships was not to be and he finished the race in a respectable ninth position.
An impressive ride from Ben Tullet, who maintained his place in a chase or lead group for the majority of the race saw him take 14th place. Fred Wright finished 53rd, Ben Swift 79th, Ben Turner 100th, Jake Stewart 102nd, Connor Swift 103rd and team captain Luke Rowe did not finish.
The Great Britain Cycling Team has had its most successful Road World Championships in recent years at Wollongong 2022, topping the medal table with a total of five medals; three gold, one silver and one bronze.
Great Britain’s medals won at the UCI Road World Championships 2022:
Gold, Zoe Backstedt, Junior Women’s Individual Time Trial
Gold, Josh Tarling, Junior Men’s Individual Time Trial
Gold, Zoe Backstedt, Junior Women’s Road Race
Silver, Pfeiffer Georgi, Elite Women’s Road Race (Under-23 race)
Bronze, Leo Hayter, Under-23 men’s individual time trial