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Junior Men's Road Race, 130 kms (8 laps)

Saturday, 9:00 am October 9, 1999

As it Happened

Lap 1

Our man in Verona, Tim Maloney is ready to go once again with his timely updates. Thanks Tim!

It is another beautiful day here in Verona, temp around 19 degrees C, calm and cool. Once again a perfect day for racing.

They're off - the start is very nervous and there are a lot of crashes on the first lap due to the tight course and the huge bunch. It will rapidly get smaller in the coming laps though.

Lap 2

Two riders (a Belgian and a Polish) attacked but are being brought back up the climb of the Torricelle.

By the end of the lap the bunch is back together, but has been cut down to 90-odd riders. Lots of crashes. Active at the front are Lithuania, Belarus, and Italy.

Average so far: ~ 41 km/h

Lap 3

They're on the third lap - Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) has attacked and he is followed by Austrian Harald Starzengruber up the Torricelle. The two have a 10" lead over the top.

Behind, the bunch is being shredded by more crashes, and is very disorganised.

The two are caught over the top and the pack negotiates the descent with the odd crash here or there. The front group is about 60 and there are two chasing groups 1 minute down. Italians still active at the front.

On the flat coming into the finish, Frenchman Samuel Torres attacked and has a 15 sec lead.

Leader after lap 2: Samuel Torres (Fra)

Lap 4

Torres has a 34 sec lead but two riders manage to bridge up on the Torricelli - Giario Ermeti (Ita) and Kevin de Weert (Bel). However, they are caught over the top. Moldavians active at the front, Italians controlling.

By the end of the lap, the bunch is back together, but rider number 33 - Luuc Hutten (Ned) attacks strongly through the start/finish area.

The bunch is still really moving, but there have been many casualties. Only one American left in the front (Mike Creed). Also, Caleb Manion (Aus) has retired, plus several Canadians. Dane Glen Bak was taken to hospital but is ok.

Lap 5

Peleton regroups up and over the Torricelle, but is now down to 45 or so. Ben Thaes (Bel) leads the Italians and French on the descent, but it is the Moldavian, Alexandr Sabalin and Estonain Lebedev who attack for a little gap, but are brought back in the town. No crashes for a while.

The end of the lap, a little group of Sabalin, Hutten (Ned) and Gergor Zaborc have a 5" gap to the peleton, who are chasing hard. Average over 40 km/h so far.

Australian, Darren Rolfe has had a bike change in the pits and is trying to regain the bunch.

Lap 6

The first serious attack of the race goes up the climb - Morten Knudsen (Den), Ben Thaens (Bel), and Damiano Cunego (Ita) establish a good lead. Italians controlling with an Estonian and a Portugese leading the bunch.

The Italian is a Verona local, riding a Chesini bike

On the descent, there is a partial regrouping and a new break forms - Swiss dual TT champion Fabian Cancellara goes with Cunego, Bernhard Eisel (Austria) and Cristophe Kern (Fra), but the Russian team works hard at the front for Kaiomov, and the group comes back by the end of the lap.

30 riders left with two laps to travel. Still some Aussies left I think.

Average speed: a shade under 40 km/h

Lap 7

Lots of action - an attack by Kern (Fra) and 6 others was brought back by Cunego, who unfortunately a) dragged the Russians up to the break with him and b) chased down a teammate who was in the break. Cunego and Kaiomov are looking the goods though and the 13 rider front group will be a battle between the Italians and the Russians.

American Mike Creed is still there and there are constant attacks.

Lap 8

They're into the last lap, and it's another French rider - Oliver Cambet who attacks with Mike Creed (USA) - they gain a 15 sec. gap on the peleton on the flat.

However, the Russians and Italians are chasing hard and have the situation in hand. The group is now up to 25.

Creed and Cambet are caught and dropped by Cunego (Ita) and Kaiomov (Rus) who forge ahead on the last climb. In the bunch are: Eiser, Austria, Kern, France, Bucciero, Italy, Ana, Portugal, and Klobnev, Russia.

Cunego attacks on a bend on the descent! He has a 32 second gap to Kaioumov, who has a further 30 a 5 man chase group. Another Italian gold, and a hometown victory at that? Cunego must know this descent like the back of his hand.

The Russian is coming back! He hasn't caught Cunego yet. The Italian, living in the area, is standing, the Russian sitting at 100 meters down the road but he is not gaining. The "main group" is now about eight riders.

The Russian is coming back! Cunego suffers into the headwind and his lead evaporates, but he still holds on.

Into the finish now, and it's Italy's Damiano Cunego who takes the second successive gold medal for his country, heading Russian Rouslan Kaioumov by just 3 seconds. Cristophe Kern of France comes through to take the bronze and he is very happy.

Final Result

1. Damiano Cunego (Ita)     3.14.36
2. Rouslan Kaioumov (Rus)      0.05
3. Christophe Kern (Fra)       0.37
4. Filippo Pozzato (Ita)
5. Bernhard Eisel (Aut)        0.38