The final men’s under-23 road race of the European Road Championships in Anadia was decided in a sprint, with German Felix Engelhardt taking the gold medal. Mathias Vacek (Chéquia) was second, followed by Italian Davide De Pretto.
The moves in this afternoon’s race started early, with Jose Marin Aragon (Spain), Gal Glivar (Slovenia) and Joonas Kurits (Estonia) forming a breakaway. The three riders even had a lead of more than four minutes, and it wasn’t until the third of seven laps of the circuit that they began to lose ground. At this point, in the peloton, it was the team from the Netherlands who took charge of the race.
By the fourth passage through Monte Crasto the lead had already been reduced to 2m25s and by the fifth passage through the finish line. By the next pass over this point that was known to be decisive in the race, the peloton was only 25 seconds behind, with riders from the Czech Republic and Italy trying to increase the pace in the peloton. The first of the breakaway elements to give way was Joonas Kurits, but the remaining two escapees would eventually be caught at the entrance to the last two laps.
On this penultimate lap, four riders launched an attack, gaining 45 seconds on the peloton. They were Mathias Vacek (Czechia), Davide De Pretto (Italy), Felix Engelhardt (Germany) and Erik Fetter (Hungary), who at the start of the last lap remained 40 seconds ahead of the peloton.
It was on the Monte Crasto climb that the advantage decreased to 15 seconds, but the peloton never managed to catch the fugitives, who crossed the finish line with the main group in the background. The victory would be discussed in a thrilling sprint, with German Felix Engelhardt getting the better of Czech Mathias Vacek, just over the finish line. Italian Davide De Pretto closed the podium in third position.