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2002 Road World Championships - CM
Hasselt-Zolder, Belgium, October 8-13, 2002
World Championships news for October 9, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Day 1 wrap up
Day 1 of the World Championships saw the Junior Women's and U23 Men's Time Trial Championships decided, with Italy's Anna Zugno and Lithuania's Tomas Vaitkus claiming the gold medals in their respective categories. Conditions were just about perfect for time trialling today, with a light cross wind blowing from the riders' right hand side for most of the way. The sun came out in the early afternoon for the U23 Men's race, and there were some very fast times recorded.
Tomorrow is expected to be similar, with early cloud clearing to sunny skies with temperatures getting up to around 14 degrees. Make sure you join us at 12:00 noon local time (03:00 PDT/06:00 EDT/20:00 Aust. EST) for live coverage of the Junior Men's Time Trial, followed by the Elite Women's Time Trial three hours later.
Comments from the course: Cowman, Long and Creed
Cyclingnews spoke with a few of the competitors after the time trials today, to get their thoughts on the course and the conditions.
Australia's Sally Cowman was happy with her performance in the Junior Women's TT, where she finished 7th in a time of 16'15.84, 21 seconds behind the winner Anna Zugno. "It was fast and it was a good course," said Cowman. "It had a few hills so it was a bit testing. The weather wasn't too bad for it."
What gear did she choose for most of it? "A couple down from the max - around 52x14."
USA's Magen Long was quite happy with her ride and the course, as she told Cyclingnews. "I thought it was a really great course. It was nice to start in the city. I thought it was a good course and good conditions today - not too hot and not too cold."
"There was bit of a tailwind and there was some water coming off the canal. Not exactly a sidewind. Kind of a cross/tailwind. There were two rises but nothing I'd call a hill. Enough to get your heart rate up a bit more, get out of the saddle a little more."
"I think I lost some time in the corners, the roundabouts, I wasn't sure whether to stay in my aero bars or not. I'm happy with my time, it's the best time I could do on this day in these conditions.
On her choice of gear: "I stayed in my 53x14 a bunch. Up the hill I'd maybe go up to the 16."
In the U23 Men's TT, USA's Mike Creed was one of the favourites. However when he came in with the fourth best time with 22 riders still to come, he knew he wouldn't end with a good result - He finished 17th, 2'12 off the pace. Curiously, Mike was using a single speed track bike, equipped with front and rear brakes and a 56x14 gear. How did he find that setup on today's course?
"It was pretty good - maybe a little big in the headwind," he said. "But it's one of those things where you don't come to the World Championships to get a top 10 which unfortunately looks as though it's going to happen. So I knew if I got on top of it I was going to win. My goal was 100-110 rpm but it was more like 90. To be honest I'm surprised I was in fourth when I came across because I thought I was hauling ass. To know that three guys beat me I'm pretty surprised. C'est la vie."
"In my result I'm disappointed but in my ride I rode as fast as I could. "
On the conditions today, Creed commented that "There was only one tailwind section towards the end. In my mind, when we turned back that was the finish. It was my last chance to gain time. I had a guy in my sights when I entered the straight so it was nice because he was like a rabbit and I caught him."
Next year, Creed will be riding for Prime Alliance, although he was aiming at a European contract. "I was really hoping to ride with a European team next year, but maybe I didn't make the proper contacts. I really like Prime Alliance, they're good. Everybody is so nice. It's probably the only team I could ride on in the US. Kirk [Willett] allows people to be neurotic - Pate and Swain and Candelario and myself. It's a pretty whacky group of guys. I was hoping to get a win here and that would open up a couple of doors but obviously I overestimated myself."
"I raced a lot with the national team. I had an OK spring trip, a couple of top fives. But my fall trip I wanted a win but I'd always finish in the top five. It seemed like everything I did I got beat this year."
Creed's immediate goal is the U23 Road Race on Friday. "I'm doing the road race - 210 espoirs. I won't be making any bets with the bookie on me before the start," he laughed.
Three more U.S. riders added to men's team
Three U.S. riders have been added to the men's elite road race team: Mariano Friedick (Jelly Belly), Ryan Guay (Navigators) and Tim Johnson (Saturn). That brings the USA's total to 10 riders, of a maximum of 12. The rest of the team is Fred Rodriguez (Domo-Farm Frites), Guido Trenti (Acqua e Sapone), Chris Horner (Prime Alliance), Dylan Casey (USPS), Mike Sayers (Mercury), Antonio Cruz (USPS), and Jeff Louder (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago).
They rode how fast?!?
Those watching the Junior Women's time trial this morning on TV might have been surprised at some of the average speeds recorded by the competitors. Most were supposedly over the 50 km/h mark, with the best riders up around the 56 km/h region. Not a bad effort when you consider that there was a cross wind blowing and there were a couple of hills on the course. However, people started to get suspicious, especially after the average speed at the intermediate check at 7.6 km was generally around 42-43 km/h. The Junior Women certainly didn't look as though they were riding at 70-80 km/h for the rest of the race...
Before the rumours got completely out of hand, the UCI issued a communiqué to rectify the course distance. Instead of being 15 km it was 11.2 km, cutting the average speed by around 14 km/h. We weren't fooled, honest.
"The Organising Committee and the UCI technical delegation regret the erroneous communication of the distance of the Junior Women's Time Trial course according to an unforeseen last minute adjustment of the route," read the communiqué. "After meticulous verification, the exact distance for the following course will appear in an official communiqué."
You have been warned.
Jeannie Longo set to defend TT title for France
Jeannie Longo, age 44 and going strong, returned Sunday from a three week training excursion to the United States, where she trained at altitude in Colorado and worked on her speed at the Lehigh County Velodrome in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania. This year Longo will focus all of her attention on the elite women's time trial, foregoing the road race.
Discussing her training for the event, her coach and husband Patrice Ciprelli told Reuters, "the idea is to prepare for the time trial just as Jeannie prepared for the hour records. The course in Zolder is flat, the whole effort lasts 45 minutes, so she must have a lot of power to win."
Indeed, Longo has put on two kilos of weight since this time last year as a result of this different style of training. "Since my return from the U.S. on Sunday," Longo said, "I've been trying to recover well from a trip that had a lot of down-time."
As much as the competition, including Swiss Nicole Brändli, whom Longo beat by less than one second in Lisbon last year, the French champion cites the weather as a factor to consider. "For my part, I feel very good, better than last year but I don't like competing in October. I don't perform as well in colder temperatures anymore."
Nations analysis by time
The first day of competition at the World's saw Italy claim a gold and silver medal, Lithuania a gold, Russia a silver, and Germany and Portugal a bronze each. That would be the traditional order of ranking by medal count, but it does not take into account exceptional performances like we saw today in the U23 Men's time trial, where Lithuania's Tomas Vaitkus blitzed the opposition in winning the gold medal.
Regular Cyclingnews contributor Tomas Nilsson has calculated an unofficial nations ranking based on combining the times of each country's two best riders (in some cases there were two sets of riders). This can be considered a form of nations stage race, or even a progressive team relay. As it stands, Lithuania comes out on top, combining Tomas Vaitkus with Junior Women's competitor Milda Galdikaite, who was 24th in her event. In second place at 27 seconds is Germany (3rd in the Junior Women's TT, 8th in the U23 Men's) with Russia taking the third slot. Italy is back in 6th after its best rider in the U23 Men's TT, Enrico Franzoi, lost 2'21 to Vaitkus.
It should be noted that these performances are in theory weighted towards the longer distances.
1 Lithuania 55.47,6 2 Germany 0.27,4 3 Russia 0.35,6 4 Belgium 0.52,0 5 Netherlands 0.55,0 6 Italy 1.09,2 7 Sweden 1.16,1 8 USA 1.19,8 9 France 1.34,1 10 Spain 1.35,5 11 Italy II 1.43,2 12 Germany II 1.43,6 13 Russia II 1.45,3 14 Poland 1.48,1 15 Belgium II 2.01,1 16 Netherlands II 2.08,0 17 Ukraine 2.14,1 18 Australia 2.27,9 19 Spain II 2.29,1 20 Latvia 2.33,0 21 USA II 2.43,1 22 Belarus 2.54,6 23 Sweden II 2.58,8 24 Poland II 3.03,3 25 Czech Republic 3.24,3 26 Canada 3.30,0 27 Colombia 3.45,0 28 South Africa 3.58,2 29 Switzerland 4.22,3 30 Norway 4.45,2 31 Switzerland II 6.28,2
A Circuit Zolder time line
The Zolder racing circuit will celebrate its 40th birthday in 2003, having established itself over the years as one of Belgium's top motor racing circuits. The surface is beautiful to ride on, and its smooth corners should present no problems to any of the riders.
Zolder first hosted a Belgian Road Racing Championship in 1963, the year of its inauguration. Six years later it was the scene of the World Road Championships, won by Dutchman Harm Ottenbros. In 1970 it hosted the World Cyclo-cross Championships, where Eric De Vlaeminck was triumphant. Zolder saw the finish of a Tour de France stage in 1981 (Eddy Planckaert) and it hosted a round of the Cyclo-cross World Cup in 2000 (Sven Nijs) and the Cyclo-cross World Championships in 2002 (Mario De Clercq).
On the motor racing front, there were 10 F1 Grand Prix races held at Zolder between 1973 and 1984, while in 1977 the first edition of the 24 Hours of Zolder was held. Other events such as the Truck Super Prix (first held in 1986), Formula 3000 (1988), Belgian Masters (1998) and FIA GT Championship (1999) have been added over the years, and it is licensed to host motor sports until 2019.
Circuit Zolder's location is in the heart of Limburg, near the Dutch and German borders. The closest city is Hasselt, about 10 km away, and it is accessible via car, public transport, and bicycle, as long as you don't ride towards Genk...