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2002 Road World Championships - CM
Hasselt-Zolder, Belgium, October 8-13, 2002
World Championships news for October 10, 2002
Edited by Jeff Jones
Day 2 wrap up
Day 2 of the World Championships saw the Junior Men's and Elite Women's Time Trial Championships decided, with Russia claiming both gold medals. First up it was Mikhail Ignatiev in the Junior Men's event beating Australian Mark Jamieson and Italian Vincenzo Nibali, with the more favoured top 10 riders failing to get up. 1996 Olympic champion Zoulfia Zabirova mastered the conditions today to win the Women's Time Trial, beating Swiss pair Nicole Brändli and Karen Thürig for the world title.
Comments from the course
Cyclingnews spoke to a number of the competitors after their rides today, to get their thoughts on the course and how they did.
Sara Carrigan (Aus, 5th)
"I gave it absolutely everything and didn't think I had the energy to negotiate the last couple of corners," said Carrigan who whilst happy that she achieved her goal of a top five placing was disappointed not to be in the medals. "I was so close to the podium but you can only do what you can do on the day."
"I didn't think of anything during the ride except making my legs roll over as fast as I could, riding the corners as fast as I could and being as aerodynamic as possible."
Cathy Marsal (Fra, 12th)
"I don't think I could have gone faster," a delighted Marsal told Cyclingnews after her ride. "I didn't make any mistakes. I went all out and started well, it was fast enough. I didn't slow down and tried to keep my speed. No regrets. It's the first time trial I've done all out for myself. I just went "a bloc".
"There are two parts where there is a headwind. The first part when you do the big loop before the canal, and then when you do the hill."
Alison Wright (Aus, 13th)
"I was pretty nervous at the start but also confident because it's just you against the clock and I knew I had good form. I felt like I was stomping because of the tail wind but I stuffed up a few corners on the way and that cost me time."
"It was majority tailwind which made it pretty hard to judge. It was a relatively short time trial too, compared to what we sometimes do. The hill as definitely the hardest part. I sat down and lost so much speed and said 'no, no, back up'. We [Sara Carrigan and I] decided before the race that 53x19 was the way to go, so we just clicked into that at the right time."
"I'm pretty happy to finish top 15 and it makes me think my decision not to ride in Copenhagen was a good one," said Wright who was the bronze medallist in the Individual Pursuit at Manchester and had qualified for selection in the Australian team that contested the recent Track World Championships in Denmark.
Geneviève Jeanson (Can, 14th)
"André (Aubut, her coach and manager) and I went over the course and I had set my goals for the intermediary times. And I didn't make them - that's what really disappoints me. As for my rank - let's just say that if I had kept the pace I had planned on, I would be the champ by now. I was too slow by a bit more than 1.5 km/h, there is no other explanation."
Amber Neben (USA, 15th)
"It was pretty windy out there. A cross/tail wind so it's not ideal for me. I did what I could, I rode as hard as I could and hopefully it'll hold out. The field is so stacked ... it should be interesting."
"I'll be in the road race on Saturday with five other teammates with me. Again it's a flat course which is not ideal for me but you never know, anything can happen. We've got other riders who could potentially do something as well. We'll have a team meeting before the race to talk about things. We'll probably go over a bunch of different scenarios. We've got Laura Van Gilder as a sprinter so if it comes down to that we'll be trying to set her up for that. Before that we'll probably just be real aggressive and try to get something off."
"It wasn't too bad. It was real short. I was struggling to figure out which gear to be in and I was a little overgeared which hurt me. It was one of those things where you had to come into it so fast and you turn the corner and hit the headwind. You just battle through it and try and get over it as fast as possible."
"I don't think it'll be a factor. It'll be a point where people try to attack, and neither will the other hill. The other technical parts of the corner may be more of a factor. We'll see what the weather does too."
Kimberly Bruckner (USA, 16th)
"My bike was great, it worked fine today. The course was good. I probably didn't ride the best ride that I could have. I was hoping for a top 10 finish. I'll keep my fingers crossed."
"It was pretty windy and the cross winds were pretty strong. A couple of times I tipped to the side I think because of the disc. I'm still learning still getting my thought process down so today was another learning process for me."
"This is only me second time at World's and the course is completely different than it was last year at Lisbon. That's good because I have to learn to ride well on whatever course they give us."
"It was a super stacked field. Even thought there were only 42 women, they were all past World Champions or Olympic Champions so it's going to be interesting to see how it pans out today."
Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus, 1st)
"Sure it was important to beat him [Mark Jamieson] and I knew he would be the opponent for me to beat here as I know him well after racing against him in Australia," said the Spain based Russian.
Mark Jamieson (Aus, 2nd)
Australian Mark Jamieson referred to his battle with the winner Ignatiev, who he beat at the Junior World Track Championships in August.
"When we came one-two in Melbourne we realised we would be watching each other and I think there will be a great rivalry between us in the next five or ten years. Hopefully that will spur us on to bigger and better things."
"It was pretty nerve-wracking watching everyone else come through and I honestly didn't believe I had done enough for a medal. I had a solid ride but you know when you're having a great day and I didn't think today was an exceptional ride for me."
At the first and second intermediate time checks, at 10km and 20km, Jamieson was almost 20 seconds off the Russian's pace but in the final three kilometres he pegged the deficit back to just 10 seconds.
"The reason I gained time on him in the last bit was more because I hadn't been going so well in the first half."
Tomas Lövkvist (Swe, 6th)
"It was hard to get a rhythm. It was hard to get into it in the wind but it's the same for everyone. It was a really fast course. I should have some more gears in the back [he was limited to a 52x14], but it's the same for everyone."
Richard Moffat (Aus, 11th)
"It was a very fast course. We had a tailwind for the majority of it so it was extremely fast. From the start it was balls out. It wasn't a course where you pace yourself."
"The hardest part was hitting that hill towards the end, with 2 or 3 km out. You've been flat out for the first 20 km and you hit the hill and you really have to punch over it in the big chainring."
Despite his good placing today, Moffat will not be part of Australia's five man team for the road race. "Our team took over six and we decided about a week and a half ago who was riding what events. We had such a strong team in Australia that we had no choice but to take six."
Moffat, who rode in Europe last year, said he was impressed by the quality of racing in Belgium. "It's good. I'm probably more suited to the mountain areas but I think Belgium holds a very good World Championship. Very professional and well organised. The racing over here is so different from Australia. Now our team is getting into the swing of things. It takes some time to learn to race the European style. We go from bunches in Australia from 50-60 to bunches of 180. It takes a while to learn those skills."
For next year, Moffat hopes "to be in Italy with the U23 men's team."
Tyler Farrar (USA, 15th)
"It was pretty windy. It was fast. A lot of head and cross winds blowing around. It was definitely for power riders, turning the gear on the flats as fast as you can, fighting the wind."
"I was hoping for a medal but there's still the road race so we'll see. I haven't seen the whole road course yet - I've just been focusing on the time trial up till now. Hopefully I'll go well. I'll have to check it out tomorrow."
"I felt like I had a good ride, I just didn't go fast enough I guess."
"I was pretty close to [my maximum gear of 53x14] it the whole time. I think I took the hill in my 18. The hill had a little bit of a roll to it. The springboard maybe in the road race."
Zakhary Grabowski (USA, 37th)
In his first World Championships, USA's Zakhary Grabowski finished midway down the field in the Junior Men's time trial. "It's a bit of a shock to be here, it's a great opportunity but it's enjoyable," he commented after toweling down.
"There was lots of wind but it was good though. There were a few sections of tailwind like the finish here."
"The trispoke probably wasn't the best front wheel - it kept blowing around a bit. But you live and learn."
On the hill at the end of the course, Grabowski said that "For me it was pretty hard. Some of the guys are going to roll over it pretty well like Jukka [Vastaranta], or Tyler [Farrar]."
Where did Thürig come from?
The talking point in the Elite Women's time trial today was Swiss rider Karen Thürig, who started second from the beginning and was an unknown quantity. In the end she held off everyone save for gold medal winner Zoulfia Zabirova and her own compatriot Nicole Brändli, who finished in the silver medal position.
30 year old Karen Thürig had only competed in five races prior to today's TT. She's the current world duathlon champion (14km run, 76km bike, 7km run) and she's planning on doing the Ironman in Hawaii in 10 days time - and possibly triathlon in Athens 2004. However on her performance today she could make the Swiss women's cycling team for Athens.
Another tidbit of interest from today's medal winners is that Nicole Brändli and Zouflia Zabirova have both dated the same guy, Swiss ex-pro Felice Puttini.
Elite Men's TT preview
The time trial competitions at the World's wrap up tomorrow, October 10 with the Elite Men's Time Trial, held over 40.4 kilometres. Starting in Hasselt the men ride over the same course as the Elite Women, Junior Men, and U23 Men did today and yesterday, until they cross over the Albertkanaal at Stokrooi. Shortly after making the crossing, they turn right to head towards Zonhoven, doing a short rectangular loop before rejoining the "normal" course. They then head up the hill instead of turning into the finishing circuit they ride down Terlaemenlaan to do the same loop as the U23's. Once they come back to Zolder, they do a full lap of the 3.8 km circuit before finishing. Overall, the course is a lot more balanced than the other categories, although there should be more tailwind sections than headwind.
First rider off is Igor Bonciucov (Moldavia) at 14:00 local time, and riders will depart at 2 minute intervals following him. Riders to watch include Michael Rogers and Nathan O'Neill (Aus), Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus), Ondrej Sosenka (Cze), Evgeni Petrov (Rus), Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) and Aitor Gonzalez (Spa), Fabian Cancellara (Swi), Michael Rich and Uwe Peschel (Ger), Jose Azevedo (Por), Marc Wauters (Bel, on his home track), Santiago Botero (Col), Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), and the last rider to start, David Millar (GBr) at 15:52 local time.
Join us at 14:00 local time (05:00 PDT/08:00 EDT/22:00 Aust. EST) for the full live coverage of the Elite Men's Time Trial.
No Danes in Elite TT
Danish rider Lennie Kristensen will not ride the elite time trial in the World Championships due to illness. Thus there will be no Danes in the event.
A lap of the road course
By Jeff Jones
The Zolder course has been talked about for months as being a flat track for sprinters, conjuring up images of a wind blown kermesse-style course in the Belgian country side. However a closer inspection of the course reveals that this is not the case, and bunch sprints will not necessarily be the rule. I decided to "beat the heat" this morning and take a look at the road race course, up close and personal like. The following are some general observations.
For a start, it's not 13.1 kilometres. This was slightly confusing although I did find a way to make it up to the advertised distance. Fortunately the UCI set me right later that day - it's 12.8 kilometres.
Secondly, flat to me means dead flat, with the altitude varying by a maximum of 5 metres. The Zolder course has plenty of flat sections, but there always seems to be a slight uphill or downhill slope. There are also two 400m long hills, the steepest one starting with less than 3 km to go, and not that easy by yourself. It remains to be seen how it will affect the racing, but a well timed attack there could prove decisive in the finale.
Speaking of hills, the finishing straight is gradually uphill from about 500m to go, while only the last 200m or so is flat or downhill. Timing will be critical in a bunch sprint, and the pure sprinters will have to time their run very late in order to get the most out of the downhill.
Unlike the time trial course, the road course is as smooth as glass. There are no bumps, potholes, or even any of the classic Belgian concrete slab roads. It's clear that a lot of work has been done to resurface parts of the track. The 4 km section inside the motor racing circuit itself is beautiful to ride on.
The entry and exit to the circuit is at the same place. I'm sure the organisers have thought of this, but what happens if a break gets 5 or 6 minutes in front of the peloton? The break will be leaving the circuit on the same corner as the peloton enters it. Presumably a well placed barricade will do the trick.
The scenery around the course is very pleasant, with plenty of trees and parkland surrounding the Zolder circuit. This will also provide some shelter from the wind, if it gets really strong. There is an interesting section on the Terlaemenlaan between two patches of water which is more exposed to cross winds, and comes before the first (easier) climb. It and the climb may cause some gaps in the bunch if the wind is blowing hard.
Overall, the course should be very fast and not too selective. However if a small winning break forms, things could get interesting in the final laps on the climb. If it's a bunch sprint, the two corners within the final 1.5 km will make it a little harder to organise a big sprinters' lead out.
Watch for the campervan city on Galgeneinde!
Course distances changed
After yesterday's rather embarrassing mix up with the distance of the Junior Women's Time Trial (advertised as 15 km, reduced to 11.2 km), the UCI today issued a communiqué with the correct distances for the remaining races at the World Championships. Tomorrow's Elite Men's Time Trial is in fact 40.4 km, and not 43.5 km as was first announced. In addition, the road circuit was remeasured to be 12.8 km rather than 13.1 km. This will affect all the road race distances as follows:
Junior Women: 6 x 12.8 km = 76.8 km
2004 World's earlier
Although the dates of next year's World Championships in Hamilton, Canada, have been fixed between October 7-12, the 2004 World's will take place at the end of September, September 28 - October 3 to be precise.
Medals table after day 2
Country Gold Silver Bronze Total Russia 2 1 - 3 Italy 1 1 1 3 Lithuania 1 - - 1 Switzerland - 1 1 2 Australia - 1 - 1 Germany - - 1 1 Portugal - - 1 1
Time table after day 2
This is an unofficial classification based on the sum of the best times of each country's top rider in each discipline. In some cases there are enough riders in all categories to have a second team. Russia has taken the lead now, with the Netherlands surprisingly moving into second place, despite having won no medals. Yesterday's leader Lithuania drops down to third place.
1 Russia 1.54.56,2 2 Netherlands 1.40,9 3 Lithuania 1.52,3 4 Germany 2.15,5 5 Australia 2.23,0 6 Russia II 2.33,3 7 Italy 2.34,9 8 France 2.44,4 9 Sweden 2.54,1 10 Spain 3.10,4 11 USA 3.12,7 12 Poland 3.56,9 13 Belgium 4.06,1 14 Netherlands II 4.40,0 15 Ukraine 4.43,2 16 Germany II 5.09,3 17 Sweden II 5.26,4 18 USA II 5.30,4 19 Belarus 5.52,2 20 Colombia 6.11,5 21 Czech Republic 6.16,2 22 Switzerland 6.22,7 23 Belgium II 6.40,8 24 Canada 6.53,1 25 Norway 7.50,6 26 Switzerland II 9.40,9 Courtesy of Tomas Nilsson