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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

World Championships Cycling News for September 22, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Elite Men's TT wrap-up

Big win for Cance

The new world champion
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara rode to victory in the elite men's time trial today in Salzburg, smashing the field with a stunning 1:00:11.75 (50.664 km/h) on the hilly parcours. Cancellara had the best splits at every time check, and relegated David Zabriskie (USA) to second place by 1'30, while Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) finished third at 1'49. It was Cancellara's first gold medal at the elite world championship level, even though he's had past successes in this discipline as a junior and an U23.

The race was held in excellent conditions over a testing 50.83 km parcours. Brian Vandborg (Denmark) was the early leader with a 1:02:04, and stayed in the hotseat for a long time before David Zabriskie (CSC) flew home in 1:01:41. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) suffered a slight mishap when his chain fell off on the first climb, but rode well to come in 20 seconds behind Zabriskie. But finally, with triple defending champion Michael Rogers (Australia) off the pace all day, it was Cancellara with a superior ride coming home to beat Zabriskie by almost a minute and a half, pushing Vinokourov to the bronze position and Vandborg to fourth. And even though the world championships are run with national teams instead of trade teams, the top ProTour team CSC could still claim three of the top four riders today.

Click here for the full results, report & photos and live report from the men's TT.

Zabriskie's silver completes the set for the USA

American Dave Zabriskie finished second in the elite men's time trial today in Salzburg, Austria, behind his trade teammate Fabian Cancellara. Zabriskie's time of 1:01:41 withstood all challengers save for the powerful Swiss rider, who was 1'30 faster. But the silver medal means that the USA now has gold, silver and bronze medals in this year's World's, and sits at the top of the medal table at the halfway point.

Surprisingly, given the USA's strength in this discipline, it was the first time that one of its riders had won a medal in the elite men's event. Other than Zabriskie, Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer are the only Americans ever to crack the top five.

Zabriskie's performance came two weeks after winning the USA Cycling Professional National Championship. "I felt good today," Zabriskie commented afterwards. "There was no way I could have gone any faster than I did. He (Cancellara) deserved to win with a time gap like that. Silver is okay, but to win is even better. Still, I'll celebrate tonight."

"I knew he'd be super today, but I didn't know he'd be Superman," Zabriskie quipped of Cancellara. "So congratulations to him."

Chris Baldwin, who was on his way to beating Zabriskie at the USA TT Championships two weeks ago before a late crash derailed his hopes, finished in 26th place in his first 50 km time trial for three years.

"I didn't have any expectations really with it being my first world's," Baldwin commented. "I just wanted to have a good experience. I tried to stay calm and not let the pressure of it being the world championships get to me, but I think the pressure did get to me and I shot out of the start gate a little hot. I did the first 10 kilometres too fast and never got my legs back under me. It could have been better, it could have been worse, but it was a great experience."

Post-race comments

By Hedwig Kröner in Salzburg

Stijn Devolder (Belgium, 13th)

Stijn Devolder (Belgium)
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

"It wasn't great, not bad. I know I can do better than this but my condition just went down. At the Vuelta, I was at the top but now it's slowly degrading. I still feel those three mountain stages in Spain, where I tried to hold on to my GC placing. I haven't recovered from that yet. Today, I had a good ride, but no extra."

David George (South Africa, 17th)

"I think I'm happy with my race today: I just finished the Vuelta so I wasn't really sure of how I was going to come out of that. In a time trial, you always give a 100 percent, that's all you can do. But it was essential not to go out too hard today, to be able to keep the speed going in the end."

Ben Day (Australia, 21st)

"It didn't go too bad; I just felt that I couldn't really suffer anymore in the finish. It's just the wrong season and I'm not really fit. It's a tough course and a fair climb, so the winner today will really deserve the rainbow jersey."

Fostervold: from soccer to cycling

By Jean-François Quénet in Salzburg

Sport fans who don't only follow cycling may have wondered if Knut Anders Fostervold representing Norway at the time trial world's in Salzburg had anything to do with the former soccer player from Molde FK, who played in the Champion's League in 1999. He's actually the same athlete.

Aged 35, he took up cycling after a bad knee injury that interrupted his soccer career four years ago. "I cycled for fun for two years, then I started doing it seriously last year and I came third twice at the Norwegian time trial championship," he explained before taking part in the world championship for the first time. "Thor Hushovd and Kurt-Asle Arvesen didn't want to ride the time trial, so they decided to give me a chance of doing it."

Arvesen, who hails from the outskirts of Molde, is actually Fostervold's personal advisor. "I need to learn how to cycle, I'm a junior", the former soccer star said. "If my results improve, I'll try to qualify for the Olympics in Beijing. That will depend on my family also." He's married with four kids, all boys between 3 and 11. "For now, they aren't soccer players nor cyclists."

Fostervold has amazed Norwegian sport scientists with his VO2Max of 94. In Norway, only eight times Olympic gold medalist for cross country skiing Bjorn Daehlie scored more at the labs with 96. Today in Salzburg, he finished in 43rd, one position ahead of Tour de France rider Benoît Vaugrenard. When the head coach of Norwegian cycling Sven Gaute Holestol completed the course driving behind him, he was impressed by his margin of improvement. "Only with taking curves like a proper cyclist, he can ride one minute faster", he commented.

Fostervold is fascinated by his second sports career. Coming from a sport where money is flowing, he has no intention to make any in cycling. "This is just a challenge for the love of the sport", he said. He already achieved something unreal when he played vs the mega stars from Real Madrid, the likes of Roberto Carlos, Raul and Christian Karembeu. Molde FK was a surprise in the Champion's League group containing also Olympiakos and Porto after they defeated CSKA Moscow in the preliminary tournament.

Rogers contemplates time trial break

Former world champion
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

Triple world time trial champion, Michael Rogers (Australia), says he may take a year out from the event to regain his 'hunger' after finishing eighth at the 2006 UCI road cycling World Championships in Salzburg, Austria.

Rogers has been time trial World Champion since 2003 and, as per tradition, was the last rider to leave the starting gate for the 50.83 kilometre 'race of truth'. By the first time check at 10 kilometres he was 26 seconds down on eventual winner and the man who started before him, Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland. Cancellara, who was third last year, stopped the clock at 1:00:11.75, while Rogers was 2'31.86 slower.

"My plan was to go out relatively controlled and it would have been ideal not to lose that amount of time (in the first ten kilometres) but at the end of the day I didn't have the top end (speed) I've had for the last couple of years," Rogers said adding with a wry laugh. "I tried to peg it back but lost more - it was a hard day."

Rogers, who finished tenth overall in this year's Tour de France after working for T-Mobile's podium finisher Andreas Klöden, admitted he felt the pressure coming into today's event. "I didn't have the best day but I went the hardest and the best I could, it was just the other guys were stronger," he said. "I'm a little bit disappointed but I can't be too ashamed of goes on.

"I had quite a good rest after the Tour and my condition was good leading into here but I think I'm just going to take a year out next year from the time trial and get some real hunger back," explained Rogers who after fourth place in the event in Athens has Beijing Olympic gold as his goal. "Maybe I took it for a little bit for granted, the whole thing, and maybe if I take a year out now (I can) get my motivation back for the next year."

Cycling Australia professional rider co-ordinator, Neil Stephens, believes Rogers' Tour de France effort might have had more of an impact that the 26 year old Canberra cyclist was willing to admit. "We're a little bit disappointed but I suppose we knew that Michael had had a really solid Tour de France where he was obliged to help his team leader (Klöden)," said Stephens. "That meant he went a bit deeper than he has in other years.

"Having said that his preparation was pretty optimal coming up to World's but unfortunately you don't know how it's going to fall into place until race day," Stephens said. "Although he wasn't bad - he wasn't in super shape which you had to be to be on the podium."

Stephens said during the ride they were forced to set new goals when they realised Cancellara was putting in a superb effort.

"We didn't get many time checks on the radio but we had Dave (Dr Dave Martin) from the Australian Institute of Sport in the car and he gave us some really great info about projected average speeds," said Stephens. "When we came through the second interval I knew (Rogers) was not up for the win but we thought the podium might be a chance - unfortunately that wasn't to be."

Australia's only other starter was Queenslander Ben Day, 27, who finished 13th at last year's World Championships and was the silver medallist in the time trial at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Today he finished 21st in 1:04:05.17, almost four minutes slower than Cancellara.

"I didn't really know what to expect," said Day. "I peaked for Commonwealth Games in March and now it's the end of September and I'm feeling pretty tired and ready for a break.

"It was really interesting because the course we all knew was very hard but the hardest parts were in the first ten kilometres so to choose the pacing strategy correctly... was a fine line to find what you needed," Day explained. "I didn't feel super and didn't feel bad either but the guys in the front were absolutely super."

Gutiérrez well off the pace

José Ivan Gutierrez (Spain)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Spanish hope José Iván Gutiérrez was not at his best in the elite men's time trial today, losing 3'07 to Swiss train Fabian Cancellara to finish in 14th place. "Things did not go well for me today," he said after the finish. "It have had had better days for sure. Moreover, luck was not on my side. Around kilometre 28, my handlebar broke and I was forced to continue with another bike. That disturbed me, because I was riding on a bike that was not the one I am used to. I could not find a good position and did not feel at ease.

"But the result is what it is and I am not looking for excuses to explain my bad result. This incident made me lose 30 or 40 seconds, nothing more, and I think that at best, I could have finished sixth or seventh. When Cancellara passed me, I tried not to lose contact, but on the climb I was not able to follow the pace. Then I lost my concentration and in a one hour long time trial, it is obviously not the ideal situation. Let's hope that next year in Stuttgart I will be able to finally make my dream come true and win the title of world champion in this discipline."

Maier comments on road course

By Nick Warren in Salzburg

Skiing legend Hermann Maier gave his opinion to Austrian paper Oesterreich on the road race course, saying he "has always found cycling a fascinating sport." A keen cyclist himself, Maier turned out a pretty decent time when he appeared as a guest rider at the Tour de France prologue a few years ago.

Despite the sizeable amount of climbing involved in the race routes, he predicts that the road race "will be decided in a sprint," claiming, "It's not as hard as I thought it would be."

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