Friday 12 October - 12:00 - Espoirs Road Race - 169.4 km (14 laps)

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Popovych pops to World Title

Ukraine Dominates U23 Rainbow Race

By Tim Maloney, correspondent
Click for larger image
Yaroslav Popovych
Photo: © Sirotti

The remarkable season of Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych continued today as the #1 ranked U23 rider in the World didn't crack under the pressure, attacking Italian Giampaolo Caruso on the last lap and soloing to victory. Last year, the Ukrainian took the silver behind Petrov in Plouay, but today he left nothing to chance in Lisbon.

"Yes, we had a plan today," Popovych told Cyclingnews after his victory. "We wanted to make the race hard and put someone in every break. I'm very happy with the result."

Popovych clearly confirmed his top rating with his 19th win of the 2001 season, as he and his Ukrainian teammates completely dominated the U23 World Championship road race. It's been a while since a complete talent like Popovych has emerged on the world cycling scene; one may have to go back to '93 when Jan Ullrich won the amateur worlds in Oslo, then took the bronze in the open TT in '94 for such a promising champion.

Popovych's right hand man Ukrainian Ruslan Gryschenko took bronze, while European U23 champ Giampaolo Caruso was the silver man in the middle. And incredibly, all three medalists are from the same "amateur" team; Italian squad Vellutex-Zoccorinese. As in the '99 U23 Worlds, there were once again two Vellutex riders in the break (Giordani and Gustov), but there was no obvious collusion between the podium riders. Popovych commented that "I was feeling a lot of pressure today; I'm always afraid in a race. It was the same in as in Italy; when I race with everyone on my wheel, but I hardly talked with Caruso today in the break."

Australia's Scott and Allan Davis rode well today; Allan's brave last lap move on the Cote de Serafina got him a gap on the chasers, but Gryschenko's move on the final climb of the Cote d'Alvito sealed his fate. Davis was caught and passed by the Ukrainian climber and finally absorbed by the chase group, where Russian Kolobnev took the sprint for 4th and a frustrated Davis had to settle for 6th.
Click for larger image
Yaroslav Popovych
Photo: © AFP

American Danny Pate, surprise victor in Tuesday's U23 TT finished 13th. "There was just too much looking around at each other," said Pate, who took the chase in hand on the last few laps, but was also frustrated by the strong blocking tactics of the Ukrainians and Italians. "There were a few of us who were chasing, but the Italians didn't want to pull."

Next year, Popovych will move to the small Belgian team Landbouwkredit-Colnago, where he will make his pro transition without a lot of pressure. But remember the name; for if Popovych lives up to his potential, cycling fans will be seeing a lot of this talented Ukrainian in the years to come.


Photos provided by Fotoreporter Sirotti and AFP

Patriotic Belgian fans - get ready to cheer their team on
Italian fans - dressed for the occasion
The Italian team - clearly had something in mind at the start
The U23 men's peloton - ascend one of the steeper sections
The peloton - charge up the climb
Gianpaolo Caruso (Italy) - in action on the climb
Gianpaolo Caruso (Italy) - in action on the climb
The Italian team - making it tough on one of the climbs
A Ukrainian rider - paves the way for Popovych's attack
Yaroslav Popovych and Gianpaolo Caruso - during their race winning attack
Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine) - crosses the line to win the U23 men's road race
Yaroslav Popovych - crosses the line to win
Gianpaolo Caruso - crosses the line to finish second
Yaroslav Popovych - salutes the crowd on the podium
Yaroslav Popovych - salutes the crowd
Yaroslav Popovych - with his gold medal
The podium - Gianpaolo Caruso, Yaroslav Popovych and Ruslan Gryschenko
Yaroslav Popovych - with his race winning machine
Yaroslav Popovych - with his Vellutex team director


1 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr)        4.02.43 (41.876 km/h)
2 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita)            0.17
3 Ruslan Gryschenko (Ukr)           1.24
4 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus)           1.31
5 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe)
6 Allan Davis (Aus)
7 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel)
8 Luca Solari (Ita)
9 Christian Pfannberger (Aut)
10 Daniele Bennati (Ita)
11 Kristoffer Ingeby (Swe)          1.35
12 Fabian Wegmann (Ger)
13 Danny Pate (USA)
14 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra)
15 Santo Anza (Ita)
16 Antonio Quadranti (Ita)
17 Matej Mugerli (Slo)
18 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita)
19 Kevin De Weert (Bel)             2.34
20 L. Laverde Jimenez (Col)         2.35
21 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb)             2.42
22 Pieter Weening (Ned)
23 Sergio Paulinho (Por)
24 Israel Nunez Baticon (Spa)       1.04
25 Marko Zepic (Slo)                4.32
26 Robin Sharmen (GBr)
27 Vladimir Goussev (Rus)
28 Dumitru Bondari (Mda)
29 Frederik Willems (Bel)           5.20
30 Mikhail Timochine (Rus)          5.35
31 Radoslav Rogina (Cro)
32 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr)           6.32
33 David Kupka (Cze)                6.24
34 James Perry (RSA)
35 Alexandr Arekeev (Rus)
36 Mark Scanlon (Irl)               6.33
37 Tom Boonen (Bel)
38 Aliaksandr Kazlou (Blr)
39 Stefan Rucker (Aut)
40 Javier Lindez Del Peral (Spa)
41 Yannick Talabardon (Fra)
42 Thys Al (Ned)
43 Thomas Brun Eriksen (Den)
44 Tarmo Raudsepp (Est)
45 Theo Eltink (Ned)                6.06
46 Gustav Larsson (Swe)
47 David Ruckstuhl (Swi)
48 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa)
49 Volodymyr Starchyk (Ukr)         6.08
50 Jérôme Pineau (Fra)              8.08
51 Olegs Melehs (Lat)               8.40
52 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz)           9.25
53 Petr Sestak (Cze)               10.17
54 Yanto Barker (GBr)
55 Tomasz Dejewski (Pol)
56 Bernhard Kohl (Aut)
57 Gilberto Martins (Por)
58 Juha Paajanen (Fin)
59 Hrvoje Miholjevic (Cro)
60 Gregorz Zoledziowski (Pol)
61 Hugo Sabido (Por)
62 Michael Creed (USA)
63 Hernani Broco (Por)
64 Thomas Rohregger (Aut)
65 Michael Albasini (Swi)
66 Patrick Kofler (Aut)
67 Tamas Lengyel (Hun)
68 Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr)
69 Rasmus Dyring (Den)
70 David Arato (Hun)
71 M. Ardila Cano (Col)
72 Massimo Demarin (Cro)
73 Helder Miranda (Por)
74 Philippe Gilbert (Bel)
75 Lukasz Bodnar (Pol)
76 Alexandr Bespalov (Rus)
77 Tomasz Nose (Slo)
78 Denis Lynch (Irl)
79 Riadh Baatout (Tun)
80 Thomas Kaufmann (Ger)
81 Tomislav Danculovic (Cro)
82 Kristian House (GBr)
83 Markus Joho (Swi)
DNF Frank Schleck (Lux)
DNF Benn Würth (Lux)
DNF Aivaras Baranauskas (Ltu)
DNF Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu)
DNF Gene Bates (Aus)
DNF Petter Renäng (Swe)
DNF Vincent Bader (Swi)
DNF David Loosli (Swi)
DNF Eric Baumann (Ger)
DNF Zoltan Csomor (Hun)
DNF Benedek Vörös (Hun)
DNF Helder Miranda (Por)
DNF Yauheni Soboll (Blr)
DNF Daniel Halstuch (Isr)
DNF Charles Dionne (Can)
DNF Jean-François Laroche (Can)
DNF François Parisien (Can)
DNF Jamie Alberts (GBr)
DNF Neil Swithenbank (GBr)
DNF Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre)
DNF Gary Mcquaid (Irl)
DNF Leonardo Duque (Col)
DNF Carlos Andres Ibanez Gonzalez (Col)
DNF Serghei Smirnov (Mda)
DNF Lars Ytting Bak (Den)
DNF Thomas Oredsson (Den)
DNF Kimmo Kananen (Fin)
DNF Mikko Vastaranta (Fin)
DNF Jussi Veikkanen (Fin)
DNF Jun Otsuka (Jpn)
DNF Tomoya Sato (Jpn)
DNF Takashi Tsumuraya (Jpn)
DNF Andri Lebedev (Est)
DNF Lars Breiseth (Nor)
DNF Per Martin Lund (Nor)
DNF Lukasz Podolski (Pol)
DNF Tomasz Kalisnik (Slo)
DNF Matic Strgar (Slo)
DNF Mark Louwers (Ned)
DNF Arno Wallaard (Ned)
DNF Jeremy Maartens (RSA)
DNF Walker Ferguson (USA)
DNF Fabian Ceron Maya (Mex)
DNF Carlos Lopez Gonzalez (Mex)
DNF Juan Pablo Magallanes Aranda (Mex)
DNF Assan Bazaeyv (Kaz)
DNF Bakhtiyar Mamyrov (Kaz)
DNF Andrey Medyannikov (Kaz)

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