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8th Journalists' World Cycling Championships
Lac de Vassiviere, France, September 12-13, 2008
Writers turn riders
Lac de Vassiviere in the French region of Limousin hosted the 8th Mondial de la Presse (Journalists' World Championships). The lake is no stranger to cycling, having previously hosted three Tour de France time trials with Greg LeMond (1985), Erik Breukink (1990) and Miguel Indurain (1995) winning stages on the testing Circuit Raymond Poulidor, named after the area's famous cycling resident. The 73 year-old Poulidor himself was in attendance, riding in the commissaire's car and presenting the winners with their jerseys.
The time trials took place on a cold Friday afternoon, with the competitors peppered with rain showers during their 11.8km against the clock. Half of the full lap of the lake was used, featuring an uphill start and finish, which when coupled with numerous twists and turns made for a tough course.
In the women's event, German triathlete Miriam Mandt (Roadbike.de) won in 20'11, giving her a comfortable margin over Slovenia's Lucia Petavs/Bosnik (21'14) and Italian Samantha Profumo (21'19).
The 35 and under men's race saw Belgian Frederik Backelandt succeed in winning a world title after many years of trying. Backelandt's time of 16'53 was 20 seconds better than German Martin Boeckelmann (Roadbike.de), with Britain's Robin Coomber (What Mountain Bike) another 15 seconds back in third.
The 36-50yrs men's race went to Jeff Jones (BikeRadar.com), who produced the quickest time of the day to clock 16'45, beating Brit Julian Bray (17'31) and Slovenian Robert Bauman (17'54). Finally, the over 50s men's test against the clock ended in victory for Germany's Gerhard Hack, who missed the title by 10 seconds last year. Hack recorded a time of 18:28 to beat the consistent Belgian Rik Lintermans by seven seconds with another German, Karl Rupp, a minute back in third.
The weather turned nasty on Saturday morning for the road races. The temperature dropped to 10 degrees and it rained for almost the entire event, becoming quite heavy at times. It was decided to start all the categories together with the women, 36-50 men, and 50+ men all doing two laps (44km + 3km neutral) and the U35 men three laps (67.5km + 3km neutral).
With neither Miriam Mandt nor Lucia Petavs/Bosnik opting to ride the road race, only Samantha Profumo and Marjetka Conradi fought it out for the honours of becoming women's journo world champion. Profumo used her strength and experience to claim her second title after the one she won in 2004. Conradi finished five minutes back to take second place.
The U35 men were the only ones to race three laps, which given that they were mixed with the other categories, meant that most of the tactics were played out on the final lap. Christophe Moec made the first real move at the end of the first lap, but was swallowed a few km later.
The strong Belgian pair of Frederik Backelandt and Dieter Roman tried in vain to escape their fellows, as did Dutchman Mark Koghee, who attacked after the last climb with less than 2km to go. He was countered by Robin Coomber at 1km to go, but the winning move finally came from German Martin Boeckelmann at 500m to go. Boeckelmann just stayed away from the rest to win the race from a fast finishing Dieter Roman and Christophe Moec.
The first lap of the 36-50 men's race was very watchful, with everyone content to follow the pace of the younger category and avoid mishap in the slippery conditions. But as the rain intensified at the bottom of the first climb on lap 2, Jeff Jones upped the pace, taking Julian Bray and U35 rider Simeon Green with him. Both the latter riders dropped back, leaving Jones on his own for the final 18km.
The chase was rather disorganised as the U35 riders stopped working and there was not enough firepower left in the 36-50 group to pull back the leader. Jones eventually finished with a 2'51 advantage to the group which was led home by Slovenian Miroslav Cveticanin with Frenchman Franck Leroy rounding out the podium.
The over 50 category was again a two man race between Gerhard Hack and Rik Lintermans. The pair were the only two who could hang onto the 36-50 group until the finish, sprinting at the same time as the others. In the end it was Gerhard Hack who beat Lintermans to claim his second rainbow jersey of the meet, and his third after winning the road race last year in Austria. Karl Rupp (Germany) finished 2'15 back to take third.
Next year's Mondial de la Presse will be held in the Slovenian city of Kranj between September 11-13 and it promises to be a big event. The Association Internationale des Journalistes du Cyclisme [http://www.aijc.info/] should have more information when it becomes available.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Spila Kalisnik
Images by Jeff Jones
Time trials - 11.8km Women 1 Miriam Mandt (Germany) 20.12 (35.078km/h) 2 Lucija Petavs/Bosnik (Slovenia) 1.03 3 Samantha Profumo (Italy) 1.08 4 Marjetka Conradi (Slovenia) 2.15 Men (U35) 1 Frederik Backelandt (Belgium) 16.53 (41.935km/h) 2 Martin Boeckelmann (Germany) 0.20 3 Robin Coomber (Great Britain) 0.35 4 Dieter Roman (Belgium) 0.38 5 Mark Koghee (Netherlands) 1.09 6 Christophe Moec (France) 1.18 7 Simeon Green (Great Britain) 1.21 8 Ellis Bacon (Great Britain) 3.11 9 David Malle (France) 5.00 Men (36-50) 1 Jeff Jones (Australia) 16.45 (42.269km/h) 2 Julian Bray (Great Britain) 0.47 3 Robert Bauman (Slovenia) 1.09 4 Miroslav Cveticanin (Slovenia) 1.45 5 Frederic Iehl (France) 2.51 6 Primoz Kalisnik (Slovenia) 2.54 7 Giovanni Fantozzi (Italy) 3.27 8 Olaf Mueller (Germany) 4.23 9 Alexandre Verguet (France) 5.18 10 Carsten Mumme (Germany) 6.45 Men (50+) 1 Gerhard Hack (Germany) 18.29 (38.339km/h) 2 Rik Lintermans (Belgium) 0.07 3 Karl Rupp (Germany) 1.05 4 Yosyf Pazyak (Ukraine) 1.16 5 Pierre Daniels (Belgium) 1.35 6 Guy Vallee (France) 1.50 7 Alexandre Coutelis (France) 3.28 8 Pierre Le Bars (France) 4.08 9 Boris Sinigoj (Slovenia) 4.09 10 Maurice Fougeras (France) 5.38 11 Roger Lajoie-Mazenc (France) 6.15 12 Bertrand Duboux (Switzerland) 6.27 13 Jean-Francois Labonne (France) 6.53 14 Pierre Douglas (France) 9.01 Road races Women - 44km 1 Samantha Profumo (Italy) 1.21.26 (32.419km/h) 2 Marjetka Conradi (Slovenia) 5.05 Men (U35) - 67.5km 1 Martin Boeckelmann (Germany) 1.52.42 (35.936km/h) 2 Dieter Roman (Belgium) 3 Christophe Moec (France) 4 Frederik Backelandt (Belgium) 5 Simeon Green (Great Britain) 6 Mark Koghee (Netherlands) 0.08 7 Robin Coomber (Great Britain) 0.14 DNF Ellis Bacon (Great Britain) DNF David Malle (France) Men (36-50) - 44km 1 Jeff Jones (Australia) 1.10.13 (37.598km/h) 2 Miroslav Cveticanin (Slovenia) 2.51 3 Franck Leroy (France) 4 Robert Bauman (Slovenia) 5 Emanuele Conti (Italy) 6 Julian Bray (Great Britain) 7 Frederic Iehl (France) 5.08 8 Giovanni Fantozzi (Italy) 6.18 9 Primoz Kalisnik (Slovenia) 10 Olaf Mueller (Germany) 11.34 11 Alexandre Verguet (France) 16.11 DNF Carsten Mumme (Germany) DNF Stane Petavs (Slovenia) Men (50+) - 44km 1 Gerhard Hack (Germany) 1.13.04 (36.131km/h) 2 Rik Lintermans (Belgium) 3 Karl Rupp (Germany) 2.17 4 Peter De Groot (Netherlands) 5 Pierre Daniels (Belgium) 3.27 6 Arian Kuil (Netherlands) 3.56 7 Guy Vallee (France) 8.43 8 Yosyf Pazyak (Ukraine) 9 Pierre Le Bars (France) 13.20 10 Maurice Fougeras (France) 11 Jean-Francois Labonne (France) 24.53 12 Roger Lajoie-Mazenc (France) 26.11 DNF Alexandre Coutelis (France) DNF Boris Sinigoj (Slovenia) DNF Bertrand Duboux (Switzerland) DNF Pierre Douglas (France) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com