Ullrich surges to Elite TT victory
Battle with Bodrogi beats back Millar
By Tim Maloney, cyclingnews.com correspondent
Jan Ullrich (Germany) took his second World Time Trial Championship today in Lisbon, when a powerful last lap surge by the Man From Merdingen pulled back a 10" gap on brilliant Brit David Millar, who had led the Elite TT at every time check except the last. Ullrich caught his Hungarian minute man Laszlo Bodrogi at the top of the last climb of the Cote d'Alvito with one kilometre to race, and the ensuing back and forth battle with the Hungarian brought Ullrich's game up a notch and turned Millar's golden dreams into bitter silver.
"It was good for me that I caught (Bodrogi); maybe that's why I had such a fast time," admitted Jan Ullrich in the post-race press conference. "I attacked on the 2nd lap since I knew that my split times were 20" behind."
Ullrich's Telekom DS saw that Ullrich was gaining time on Millar at the end and told Jan on his radio to "go harder; you can win it," and the German fuoriclasse responded.
The visibly disappointed Millar had little to say after the Elite TT; he told Cyclingnews that "I really can't comment on the time splits; I was speeding up towards the end and I guess Jan was as well - I'm really disappointed."
But despite the post-race bitterness, Millar showed his tremendous class and showed that he is part of the great tradition of British testers today.
In contrast to Millar, Santi Botero was pleased with his bronze medal ride. "For Colombia, (it) is very positive," Botero told Cyclingnews. "When I saw the parcours, I knew it was good for me and I was hoping to get on the podium."
Botero's ride knocked American Levi Leipheimer back to 4th but the emerging Santa Rosa, CA man was not so disappointed today. A smiling Levi told Cyclingnews that "I had never gone as fast as the (final) Vuelta TT (where Leipheimer was 2nd behind Botero) and last week, I was a little worried about how I felt. I was a little flat on the first lap; usually I have more punch. I just didn't have the acceleration. But I felt better the 2nd lap and that's encouraged me for Sunday."
2000 Elite World TT champ Serguei Gontchar suffered today; it was painful to see the Ukrainian powerhouse trying to turn his huge gear up the Lisbon hills today. Bodrogi's battle with Ullrich paid off for him, pushing the talented young Hungarian into 5th, just 4" in front of an excellent Leif Hoste of Belgium who had to settle for 6th.
Special mention to Nathan O'Neill of Australia, who put in a solid effort for 8th, 1'22" behind Ullrich. But it was the newly crowned World Champ himself who had the final world today. "The important thing about today's time trial is that it showed the riders condition."
Ullrich is clearly in great shape and after his TT win today, the Man from Merdingen is even more clearly the man to beat in Sunday's Elite Road Race.
(Germany) - powers along during his all-out TT effort
Additional photos provided by Fotoreporter Sirotti
Belohvosciks - during the TT
1 Jan Ullrich (Ger) 51.49.99 (44.797 km/h) 2 David Millar (GBr) 0.06.30 3 Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) 0.11.73 4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) 0.24.70 5 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) 1.00.38 6 Leif Hoste (Bel) 1.04.28 7 Santos Gonzalez Capilla (Spa) 1.26.55 8 Nathan O'Neill (Aus) 1.28.88 9 David Plaza Romero (Spa) 1.45.77 10 Michael Blaudzun (Den) 1.51.39 11 Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) 1.55.29 12 Piotr Chmielewski (Pol) 2.05.94 13 Jean Nuttli (Swi) 2.07.63 14 Roland Green (Can) 2.17.70 15 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) 2.23.60 16 Denis Bondarenko (Rus) 2.31.17 17 Nico Mattan (Bel) 2.34.30 18 Piotr Przydzial (Pol) 2.39.11 19 Eddy Seigneur (Fra) 2.40.14 20 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) 2.41.57 21 Michael Rogers (Aus) 2.44.85 22 Jan Hruska (Cze) 2.52.78 23 Andrei Mizourov (Kaz) 3.04.22 24 Daniele Nardello (Ita) 3.34.81 25 Marco Pinotti (Ita) 3.36.58 26 David George (RSA) 3.38.19 27 Eric Wohlberg (Can) 3.38.83 28 Joaquim Adrego Andrade (Por) 3.41.87 29 Jens Voigt (Ger) 3.46.74 30 Jan Valach (Svk) 3.47.83 31 Joaquim Augusto Gomes Oliveira (Por) 3.56.79 32 Oleksandr Klymenko (Ukr) 4.10.31 33 Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Col) 4.19.55 34 Florent Brard (Fra) 4.21.95 35 Remco Van Der Ven (Ned) 4.27.69 36 Jonathan Vaughters (USA) 4.33.87 37 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) 4.35.85 38 Bart Voskamp (Ned) 4.47.33 39 Ryan Cox (RSA) 4.53.77 40 David McCann (Irl) 4.55.25 41 Martin Cotar (Cro) 4.59.80 42 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) 5.02.73 43 Stuart Dangerfield (GBr) 5.21.58 44 Ivaïlo Gabrovski (Bul) 5.24.48 45 Frank Hoj (Den) 5.34.27 46 Dimitar Gospodinov Dimitrov (Bul) 5.47.23 47 Mitja Mahoric (Slo) 6.16.79 48 Damir Iratov (Uzb) 6.23.15 49 Peter Legradi (Hun) 6.26.98 50 Alexandar Nikacevic (Yug) 7.02.97 51 Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn) 8.32.50 52 Vasilos Anastopoulos (Gre) 10.05.69 DNS Sven Harms (Chi)