London: Mads Pedersen not only became Denmark’s first road world champion in Harrogate on Sunday, he also offered further proof of the rise of an exciting new generation in men’s cycling.

On a rain-lashed day that beat down some of the world’s biggest names including several Grand Tour champions, the 23-year-old Pedersen did not put a wheel out of place to become the youngest man to win the title since Oscar Freire in 1999. Pedersen, who held his nerve to beat the far-more-experienced Italian Matteo Trentin in the final sprint, said young riders were now much better prepared to step up.

“The junior teams and federations start earlier,” he said. “I was already on the national team when I was 17, and we already started to become more professional. That’s happening more and more now. The national federations are getting way more professional, and that’s paying off at a younger age.”