It's that time of year again when pretty much the rest of the world, or at least most of Europe, hold their national road cycling championships. Some still have the road races to come, so here's a wrap of those won and done overnight.
Sunday 26 Jun 2016

Lotto NL Jumbo's young sprint star Dylan Groenewegen looks in fine form for the Tour de France after a strong victory in the Dutch national road race. 

Groenewegen finished off a lead-out by Timo Roosen to sprint across the line ahead of Wouter Wippert (Cannondale) and Wim Stroetinga (Parkhotel Valkenburg). 

“It's amazing. This is the first time that I am the Dutch champion. The last time the team grabbed the title was quite long ago. I was the main favourite as well, so I felt some pressure. I was very confident, on the other hand. We finished it off as a team.”

Bram Tankink (LottoNL Jumbo) Boy van Poppel (Trek Segafredo), Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank) and Huub Duijn (Roompot) was the lead group the peloton used as its carrot. A 20 second lead on a Dutch course was enough for the chase to be a tough one. 

"It was a big fight from start to finish. The average speed was 48km/h and that says a lot about the way they were riding," sports director Jan Boven said. 

"The big part of today's race wasn't too nervous but the local laps were. We had to be very focused in those final kilometres. Mike Teunissen, Moreno Hofland and Bert-Jan Lindeman paid attention to that job. With 1.5kms to go we took control of hte race and held it until the end."

LottoNL-Jumbo off to the Tour without Robert Gesink
Finishing sixth in 2015, Robert Gesink will miss this year's Tour de France through injury. The team says it will be on the hunt for stage victories.
 

 

Retiring at the end of this season, Emma Johansson wanted one last Swedish road race title. 

She wanted it so much, she soloed with about 30 kilometres to go and finished 4 minutes and 28 seconds clear of Sara Mustonen (Liv-Plantur) and Emilia Fahlin (Ale-Cipollini).

“It wasn’t easy. It’s never easy. Some people might think that it’s simple just go go home – because I’m on a high level – but it’s hard when you have the whole peloton racing against you," she said. 

“It’s always a hard fight, and this year’s course wasn’t very hard but really technical. I just had to make it hard with all the corners and, okay it’s going to be hard for me, but at least it’s going to be hard for everyone else too.

“So I just rode it hard from the start. Not fully attacking, but half-attacking out of the corners and splitting it up all the time. It was a course where you can’t hide, you can’t just sit in the peloton like it has been in other years.

“Suddenly I had 15 seconds, then 20 seconds. When I came into a little headwind section with about 36km to go, I thought it was now or never. Sara had been really dangerous all day, so I didn’t want to go back to the group, so I thought I would see what happened.

Elsewhere in Europe, Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s riders were taking medals or finishing strongly in their own National Championships.

Italian Road Race Championships
1. Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM)
2. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
3. Anna Stricker (INPA-Bianchi)
4. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

Spanish Road Race Championships
1. Margarita Garcia (Bizkaia-Durango)
2. Anna Sanchis (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
3. Sheyla Gutierrez (Cylance)

Japanese Road Race Championships
1. Eri Yonamine (Hagens Berman-Supermint)
2. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
3. Yumi Kajihara

Result French Road Race Championship
1. Edwige Pitel (Michela Fanini)
2. Marjolaine Bazin (DN17 Poitou-Charentes)
3. Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

In winter, Jose Rojas had heart surgery and at Paris-Nice he broke his wrist.

But the former sprinter said not to be surprised about his victory in the 196km undulating road race in a hot Alicante. 

“People say I wasn't in the stakes for victory, but I'd tell them to look at my work in the Giro or the Route du Sud, since those were races where I proved that my role in the team is quite different from the past," he said. 

Team-mates Ruben Fernandez and Jose Herrada got in the early break on the first lap of the six lap course their gap never rising beyond four minutes. Ultimately just Fernandez and local rider David Belda were chased down by a group including Rojas. 

Rojas attacked Angel Vicioso (Katusha) and Jordi Simon (Verva ActiveJet) in the closing stages of the race to take his second national road race title five years after his first. 

"Should today's race situation have happened years before today, I'd have probably saved all my energies for the sprint, because I often came out as the fastest at them. However, things have changed for me. I just couldn't wait, because I had the legs to win solo.

"I attacked lots of times into the final lap: I couldn't make a gap on the first one, then Vicioso was the only one to keep my wheel on the second, and with six kilometres to go, I could leave him behind and go for the win.

It was a marvellous day for me riding almost on home roads. I had to undergo heart surgery in the winter, I broke my wrist in Paris-Nice and it hurt me a lot, even today. It's such an important win. 

"Now I'd like to ride the Vuelta. I don't race looking for individual goals anymore: I do things that can be valuable for the whole team and that's how I earned my team-mates' confidence, especially for this Championships. It's been a beautiful season for all of us: we claimed the Giro podium with Alejandro, we took so many wins that contribute to keep the squad's streak alive... It's not so important to win by myself - I've found this role pretty comfortable for me."