Kevin Geniets is now totally reigning on Luxembourgish cycling as the 24-year-old young man indeed holds both national titles. After his victory in the time trial on Friday, the Groupama-FDJ rider brilliantly retained his crown in the road race on Sunday, in Harlange. The Luxembourg puncher took the win in an uphill sprint and will therefore wear his country’s colours for at least another year, whatever the race…
Around 2pm on Sunday, a small peloton of about 50 riders took the start in the Harlange circuit for a total distance of 148 kilometers. Kevin Geniets was then putting his title on the line, but was doing so with quite a peace of mind after his success in the time trial two days earlier. Initially, four riders made up the day’s breakaway that got a maximal lead of four minutes on the peloton including the main contenders. Laps after laps, the favourites got closer and closer from the leading group while dropping the weakest men from the peloton. Therefore, starting the last lap, they were down to a dozen for the day’s victory. “It was a pretty tough course with some punchy climbs,” Kevin explained later. “I tried to go away, but I didn’t have the legs today. It’s always difficult when you’re on your own. Besides, the two Trek-Segafredo riders controlled really well. One even sacrificed himself, so there wasn’t much to do. You had to be much stronger than the rest to go alone, and that wasn’t my case today.”
“I really won thanks to my mental strength”, Kevin Geniets
The young man therefore tried to save as much energy as he could and focused on a final sprint. “I knew I had to do a perfect race if I wanted to win,” he added. “The work done with my mental coach paid off as well: I could perform despite being in a bad day. I maximized everything knowing I only had one bullet. I couldn’t make any mistakes, otherwise it was all over. Everyone looked at me, everyone was in my wheel when I moved. I did not feel at my best but I absolutely wanted to win”. It eventually all came down to the final climb. “I launched the sprint with 500m to go,” explained Kevin. “I know I can hold the lactic efforts pretty well, which is why I started early. A rider came back on my rear wheel but had to sit down and that was enough for the win.” Thanks to his punch and his tactics, Kevin Geniets thus retained his title in the Luxembourg road racing championship, winning ahead of Jempy Drucker, Loïc Bettendorff and Alex Kirsch. “I really won thanks to my mental strength, because I suffered all day”, he concluded. “Emotionally, last year’s title was better, but this one is more valuable because it was harder to get. Winning the time trial beforehand really took the pressure off me for the road race, but I really wanted to keep my jersey anyway. Winning both is great. I will now be able to enjoy my break properly, and I’m very satisfied with my last races. It feels good”.