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2003 Road World Championships - CM

Hamilton, Canada, October 7-12, 2003

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Day 3 - October 9: Elite Men Time Trial, 41.6 km

Complete Live Report

Commentary by Chris Henry, with additional reporting by Mark Zalewski

Time conversion guide: GMT = CEST - 2 hrs, AEST = CEST + 8 hrs, EDT = CEST - 6 hrs, PDT = CEST - 9 hrs

Start time: 12:30 EDT
Last arrival expected at: 16:00 EDT

12:15 EDT    
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Elite Men's time trial, the only event today, the third day of competition at the World Championships.

The 41.6 kilometre Elite Men's Time Trial takes place over two laps of the "long" course. At the Canadian national championships earlier this year, which were held on the same course, Erik Wohlberg averaged 45.5 km/h to win the men's event in a time of 54'50, demonstrating that this course is definitely slower than last year's at Zolder. Wohlberg will be the home town favourite of course, and will be looking to improve on his top 20 finish at the World's last year.

There are many riders capable of pulling off a win, and besides German favourites Michael Rich and Uwe Peschel, other contenders include Great Britain's David Millar, Belgium's Bert Roesems, Laszlo Bodrogi of Hungary, and American Levi Leipheimer, to name a few. Defending champion Santiago Botero is absent, and the field this year is wide open.

12:37 EDT    
It's another lovely day in Hamilton today, with sunny skies and a temperature of 70 F. It will likely get warmer as the afternoon goes on. There is also less wind than yesterday.

12:49 EDT    
The first wave of riders is under way, and Australian Ben Day has taken the start. The second rider off, Dawid Krupa of Poland, has the fastest time at the first time check (9'54).

12:53 EDT    
New Zealand's Glen Mitchell has come through the first check in the 5th best time, while Canada's Jean-François Laroche has the 7th best time.

12:56 EDT    
The crowds are quite big, notably around the Italian team tent where fans are looking for a glimpse of Paolo Bettini, who was out training on the course for Sunday's road race earlier today.

12:58 EDT    
Sergiy Matveyev of the Ukraine has the second fastest time at 8.2km, coming through in 10'05. Australia's Ben Day is not far behind.

13:09 EDT    
Slovenia's Mitja Mahoric has been forced to stop with a mechanical. After a quick check he gets a new bike from his team car.

13:13 EDT    
Aussie Ben Day is coming through the 20.5km check with the second best time, 26'37. Just behind him, however, Matveyev comes through and pushes Day back a place. Fofonov is still the fastest after one lap of the course.

13:22 EDT    
Mitchell comes through the 28.8km check in 6th place, 39'10. Meanwhile, Krupa, who has the best time at the first check, has faded in the next 10km and has not managed his effort as well as most.

Fofonov of Kazakhstan is showing himself to be the early leader and is looking quite comfortable on the bike.

All of the riders of the first wave are out on the course, and the second wave will begin at 1:30pm with American Levi Leipheimer.

13:25 EDT    
Ben Day is going better and better as the kilometres go by, and now has the best time at the third time check. Day has just passed Canadian Laroche and quickly left him behind.

13:30 EDT    
Krupa has just finished his ride in a time of 55'12, which among the earlier finishers is the best time.

But not for long... Fofonov finishes now with a substantial advantage, 50" faster than Krupa.

13:34 EDT    
Levi Leipheimer has just started, launching the second wave out of three. Leipheimer rode himself into form during the Vuelta a España, where he lost his chance to ride as team leader, but steadily rode better throughout the three week race. He performed well in the hilly time trial in Lisbon at the 2001 World's, and could do well here today.

13:39 EDT    
Ben Day is plunging down the final descent, hoping to outdo Fofonov's leading time. He's caught two riders along the way and is looking good.

Day comes across the line and he's got the best time for now: 53'27.

Italy's only rider for the time trial, Dario Frigo, takes off from the start house.

13:44 EDT    
France's Eddy Seigneur, national time trial champion, is catching the rider in front of him, Bjørnar Vestøl of Norway. Seigneur was riding powerfully up the second climb and now begins the long drop to the finish.

13:48 EDT    
Last year's world time trial champion in the under 23 ranks, Tomas Vaitkus of Lithuania, has just left the start. Four riders remain in the second wave as Ben Day relaxes at the finish, watching his leading time hold up for the moment.

Out on the course, Dario Frigo has the second best time at the first check.

13:51 EDT    
The second American to start is Bobby Julich, who told Cyclingnews yesterday that the tough parcours suited him well.

The big Swede Magnus Backstedt takes off now, the final rider of the second wave.

13:58 EDT    
Canada's Eric Wohlberg has powered up the first climb, hoping to give the host nation a solid performance.

At the second check, Leipheimer has the second best time and is on a good ride today.

14:07 EDT    
Most riders are climbing in the small ring, though typically larger than a 42t. France's Eddy Seigneur commented that his 46t inner ring may have been a bit too big, noting that a 44t would have served him better.

Frigo, on the other hand, is hammering away in the big ring on the first part of the third climb.

14:13 EDT    
At the third time check, Levi Leipheimer holds the best time ahead of Ben Day and Evgeni Petrov (Russia).

Tomas Vaitkus is not having a particularly good day, passing through the 20km check in only 20th place.

14:18 EDT    
Eric Wohlberg comes through 20km time check to the cheers of the crowd, but he's off the fastest pace.

Experienced time trial rider Marc Wauters looks to be mounting a solid challenge to Ben Day's early best time.

Leipheimer is riding in excellent position, very steady and seemingly handling the effort quite well.

Backstedt comes through the 20km check more than a minute behind Wauters' time.

14:26 EDT    
Levi Leipheimer has come home for a second best time, to the apparent surprise of Ben Day, who remains atop the classification for the moment. Back on the course, Julich is 6th fastest at the third time check.

14:33 EDT    
Ben Day has sadly seen his leading time fall to two successive riders. First it was Michal Hrazdira of the Czech Republic, then Dario Frigo came through with the fastest time so far: 53'08.

The third and final wave of riders is under way now, and Swiss Jean Nuttli and Colombian Victor Hugo Peña have taken off. Next up is France's young hope, Sylvain Chavanel.

14:40 EDT    
Bobby Julich is using an oval chainring, and he's put it to good use, powering past another rider (apparently Tomas Vaitkus) on the climb.

Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano, last year's bronze medal in the Zolder time trial, has started his quest for a higher place on the podium. After Gonzalez de Galdeano it's Swiss contender Fabian Cancellara who rockets from the start.

14:44 EDT    
Two possible favourites are on the road now: Michael Rogers of Australia, followed by Uwe Peschel of Germany, a true specialist for the time trial. Peschel and Michael Rich won this year's two man GP Eddy Merckx time trial ahead of Rogers and his Quick.Step-Davitamon teammate Laszlo Bodrogi, who starts next.

Canada's Wohlberg finishes his ride with a sprint, and it gets him 13th place for the moment.

14:48 EDT    
The big Belgian Bert Roesems takes off now, hoping to confirm his excellent GP des Nations performance, where he finished just behind today's final starter Michael Rich.

Russian Viatcheslav Ekimov has passed through the first time check 5" faster than the previous best time.

Magnus Backsted finishes now with a modest performance, 22nd place and nearly 3 minutes behind Dario Frigo, who still holds the best time.

Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has passed the first time check behind Ekimov, but very close on time. Gonzalez de Galdeano's ONCE-Eroski teammate (and Vuelta a España revelation) Isidro Nozal has now started his ride.

14:50 EDT    
Now it's the turn of Great Britain's David Millar to launch from the start. Millar is certainly a favorite today after steadily building his condition (and winning a road stage) in the Vuelta.

The last rider to start is Germany's Michael Rich, silver medal last year in Zolder.

14:52 EDT    
Michael Rogers passes through the first time check in 7th place, 7 seconds behind Ekimov.

14:56 EDT    
Ekimov, reigning Olympic time trial champion, is finding a challenger in Uwe Peschel, who took 7" from the Russian at the first time check.

Roesems can manage only 6th best at the first check.

15:01 EDT    
Isidro Nozal of Spain has lost 19" in the first 8km, and is unlikely to challenge for the podium today. Nozal won two individual time trials in the Vuelta, but cracked in the final week and is likely still tired after his long season and difficult Vuelta.

David Millar now has 7" on Uwe Peschel at the first check! His average speed is over 49 km/h for the first 8km.

15:06 EDT    
Canadian ex-pro Steve Bauer, who designed the parcours in Hamilton, responded today to comments about less than perfect road conditions for the time trial.

"I can't say the road surface is perfect, and if the riders are having difficulty negotiating it, then I guess they are having them," he said. "I can't say it's a good thing... water on the course, in my opinion as a bike racer, is something they have to negotiate throughout their career regardless. The finishing stretch... perhaps there could have been some more work done to that area."

15:08 EDT    
Michael Rogers set the fastest time at 20km, but just behind him Peschel is pushing the time very close, and passes the line one second faster.

15:12 EDT    
At the third time check Ekimov has faded slightly, taking the second fastest time, 1 second behind Marc Wauters.

Meanwhile, Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has caught and passed Raivis Belohvosciks of Latvia.

15:15 EDT    
Former world time trial champion Sergeui Gontchar is far from his best form, nowhere near the leaders at the 20km check.

Millar is storming the course, 25" faster than Peschel at the 20km time check and seemingly on his way to the podium, if not the victory.

15:20 EDT    
At the 20km check, heavy favourite Michael Rich is only 4th fastest, meaning Millar's ride is all the more likely to take him to victory. The Scot is now catching Isidro Nozal on one of the hills as a fan sporting the British flag runs frantically alongside.

Rogers has the best time at the 28km check. He's passed Fabian Cancellara and held off Uwe Peschel, who is 6" behind at the intermediate point.

15:28 EDT    
David Millar is surely on a great day, well ahead of Rogers at the third time check. Rich looks perfect behind, but is not riding a quickly as expected.

Colombian Victor Hugo Peña has had a modest ride, finishing in 20th place, immediately pushed to 21st as Sylvain Chavanel comes in right behind him.

Ekimov has not managed to beat Frigo, and takes second place.

15:29 EDT    
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano has crashed and is forced to abandon his ride. He's climbed into the team car, apparently having crashed on one of the descents. This is a major upset for Spain.

He may have broken a rib, as he was having difficulty breathing when his team car reached him.

15:32 EDT    
MIchael Rogers is heading into the final descent, looking to conserve a place on the podium, as it looks like Millar will certainly take more time out of the Aussie.

15:35 EDT    
Frigo's time has fallen as Michael Rogers comes in for the best time, 26" faster. Peschel comes in for the second fastest time pushing Frigo back to third.

15:38 EDT    
Millar is chasing Serguei Gontchar up the long second climb, but for a minute looked to be losing ground, perhaps indicating a problem. He's closing the gap once again (Gontchar started three minutes ahead) but will need to pace himself carefully to maintain his advantage on Peschel and Rogers.

Bert Roesems comes into the finish for 7th best time.

15:41 EDT    
Millar gets into a tuck and zips down the descent now, with Nozal and Gontchar together and trying to catch him.

Millar was on his way to victory in 2001 in Lisbon before Jan Ullrich took back considerable time in the closing kilometres. This year Millar looks set to maintain his advantage all the way to the line.

No such problem this year. He rounds the final corner and comes home in a time of 51'17, raising his arm knowing that the victory is his!

15:44 EDT    
Michael Rogers looks set for silver as the last rider on the road, Michael Rich, comes into the finishing stretch.

Rich comes in for a finishing time of 52'52, missing the podium by one place.

Preliminary results

 
Second time check, 20.5km
 
1 David Millar (GBr)             25.12
2 Uwe Peschel (Ger)               0.35
3 Michael Rogers (Aus)            0.36
 
Finish
 
1 David Millar (GBr)             51.17.29
2 Michael Rogers (Aus)            1.25.09
3 Uwe Peschel (Ger)               1.25.65
 

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