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World Championships - CM
Verona, Italy, September 27-October 3, 2004
Race 8 - Saturday October 2: Road Race - Junior Men, 132.75km
Kreuziger cruises to Verona Victory
Italians shut out of medals again
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Verona, and Jeff Jones
Czech rider Roman Kreuziger was the winner of a two-up sprint that decided the Junior Men's World Road Race Championship over 132km in Verona, Italy. 18 year-old Kreuziger, who had already won a silver medal in the Junior Time Trial, beat Tunisian rider Rafaâ Chtioui after the North African initiated the winning move by breaking away on the final descent of the Torricelle climb. Kreuziger bridged across and the duo was away for good, although the Tunisian almost lost it and nearly crashed on the descent.
Speedy Slovenian Simon Spilak chased hard at the head of a five man group that included Italian pre-race favourite Eros Capecchi and won the race for the bronze from the pursuers. Kreuziger has been one of the best junior riders in Europe this year, with a victory in the Junior Peace Race. Today the Czech showed he was simply the best, while Chtioui became the first ever Tunisian rider to win a World Championship cycling medal.
How it unfolded
The junior men raced over nine laps of the 14.75 km Verona circuit for a total of 132.75 km. The weather was cool and overcast with little wind, making the conditions perfect for racing on. The early laps saw the peloton stick together until Belgian Kevin Seeldrayers (Belgium) attacked on the third climb of the Torricelle (km 38). He was joined by a five others: Pierre Rolland (France), Vitaliy Buts (Ukraine), Ivan Rovnyi (Russia), Marco Corti (Italy) and Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spain), and at the end of the lap had a 30 second lead over the peloton.
The break came back on the fourth lap but Seeldrayers attacked again. He was countered by the big favourite Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic), who was showing his strength early on in the race. After the descent, Nicolas Maes (Bel) attacked with Thijs Van Amerongen (Netherlands), Simone Ponzi (Italy), Matthew Goss (Australia) and Geraint Thomas (Great Britain). They were joined by a few more riders, and a group of 11 riders formed with a 25 seconds gap over the peloton at the end of lap four.
On the fifth ascent of the Torricelle, Swiss rider Michael Schär (Switzerland) joined the leading group, but by the top of the climb it all came back together with Kreuziger leading the chase again. The Czech rider kept the pace up on the descent, causing the peloton to stay separated into two halves. At the foot of the descent, Blel Kadri (France) got away with Kevin Seeldrayers (Belgium), and these two were joined by Jempy Drucker (Luxembourg), Pavel Kochetkov (Russia) and Matt Goss (Australia).
The five leaders had nearly a minute at the foot of the Torricelle on lap 6, but Seeldrayers felt that they weren't going hard enough and rode away on his own. The rest of the break was swallowed at the top of the climb by the Kreuziger-led peloton, which had now thinned to some 50 riders. Matt Goss (Australia) attacked on the descent in pursuit of the Belgian, making contact at the bottom, but the peloton was also very close and it came back together once more.
Moldavian rider Alexandr Pliuschin attacked at the end of lap 6 and was joined by the strong Swiss Michael Schär, who soloed away on the Torricelle. Kreuziger was active in pursuit, but was also closely marked by the rest of his rivals in the peloton. That allowed a chase group to form with Marco Corti (Italy), Pierre Rolland (France), Simon Clarke (Australia), Phillip Seubert (Germany) and Rob Ruigh (Netherlands), who tempoed up the climb about 30 seconds behind Schär. Pieter Jacobs (Belgium) and Simon Spilak (Slovenia) bridged up from the peloton, followed of course by Kreuziger, and at the top of the climb the gap was 15 seconds to Schär.
The Swiss rider sat up on the descent and by the bottom a group of 16 had formed with Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic), Simon Spilak (Slovenia), Simon Clarke (Australia), Ben Hermans, Michiel Van Aelbroeck, and Pieter Jacobs (Belgium), Robert Gesink and Rob Ruigh (Netherlands), Eros Capecchi and Marco Corti (Italy), Geraint Thomas (Great Britain), Pierre Rolland (France), Alexandr Pliuschin (Moldova), Thomas Vedel Kvist (Denmark), Pierre Rolland (France), Rafaâ Chtioui (Tunisia) and a handful of others.
On the eighth climb, the Belgians were trying to control the race for Jacobs, but Spilak and Kreuziger were intent on breaking things up. The Slovene attacked three times, and over the top of the climb it was he and Kreuziger together with Robert Gesink (Netherlands), Ben Hermans and Pieter Jacobs (Belgium) and Eros Capecchi (Italy). But the cooperation wasn't great, and Geraint Thomas (GBr), Michael Schär and Vitor Rodrigues (Portugal) joined on, followed by several others including Rob Ruigh, Cyril Gautier (France) and Rafaâ Chtioui (Tunisia). The latter two didn't hang around and attacked through the team boxes, trying to take advantage of the lack of cooperation among the favourites.
With one lap to go, the front group had reformed and everyone had their eyes set on the final climb of the Torricelle. Belgium was well represented with four riders, and Van Aelbroeck sacrificed himself to tow the leading group to the foot of the climb in the hope that one of his teammates would make the winning attack. But Kreuziger was glued to Van Aelbroeck's wheel and kept a careful eye on Jacobs when he moved up to the front.
In the end it was Simon Clarke who attacked at the foot of the climb, gaining perhaps 15 seconds lead over lone chaser Ivan Rovnyi (Russia) with the very watchful peloton another 10 seconds back. But when Clarke hit the false flat with 1 km from the top, Kreuziger had already closed the gap with the rest of the group clawing their way back onto the strong Czech rider's wheel. Kreuziger attacked again, but couldn't get clear, then Spilak countered but also couldn't break the elastic. Over the top of the climb it was Kreuziger, Jacobs, Hermans, Capecchi, Gesink ,Spilak and the surprising Tunisian Rafaâ Chtioui.
Just before the descent really started, Chtioui tried his luck and immediately got a gap. It didn't take long before he was joined by Kreuziger, with the Czech using his excellent descending skills to bridge the gap. The five chasers couldn't or wouldn't close the gap, and at the base of the descent with 3 km to go, the two leaders had 10 seconds on Spilak, Jacobs, Hermans, Gesink and Capecchi.
Spilak countered to try to bridge the gap, but even 10 seconds was too big and the Slovenian returned to the chase group. Kreuziger and Chtioui were not hanging around, and kept working together all the way to the finish, with Chtioui probably throwing his chances away for the gold by leading Kreuziger to within sight of the line. The pair started sprinting together and Kreuziger easily came around Chtioui to take the victory, while Spilak won the small group sprint for the bronze.
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
Images by Roberto Bettini
Images by Mitch Friedman Photography
1 Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic) 3.25.39 (38.731 km/h) 2 Rafaâ Chtioui (Tunisia) 3 Simon Spilak (Slovenia) 0.06 4 Eros Capecchi (Italy) 5 Pieter Jacobs (Belgium) 6 Robert Gesink (Netherlands) 7 Ben Hermans (Belgium) 8 Alexandre Binet (France) 0.32 9 Ivan Rovnyi (Russia) 10 Cyril Gautier (France) 11 Thomas Vedel Kvist (Denmark) 12 Michael Schär (Switzerland) 13 Simon Clarke (Australia) 0.47 14 Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) 0.54 15 Pierre Rolland (France) 1.42 16 Vitor Rodrigues (Portugal) 17 Johan Lindgren (Sweden) 18 Kevin Seeldrayers (Belgium) 3.09 19 Michiel Van Aelbroeck (Belgium) 20 Joze Senekovic (Slovenia) 3.29 21 Gatis Smukulis (Latvia) 3.30 22 André Steensen (Denmark) 3.40 23 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) 24 Nikolas Maes (Belgium) 25 Viktor Renäng (Sweden) 26 Mathias Belka (Germany) 27 John-Lee Augustyn (South Africa) 28 Roman Kireyev (Kazakhstan) 29 Michael Franzl (Germany) 30 Tobias Eggli (Switzerland) 31 Herberts Pudans (Latvia) 32 Yury Yazepchyk (Belarus) 33 Artur Tarasau (Belarus) 34 Carlos Julian Quintero (Colombia) 35 Rafael Nick (Switzerland) 36 Leopold Konig (Czech Republic) 37 Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia) 38 Ruben Reig Conejero (Spain) 39 Pavel Kochetkov (Russia) 40 Tanel Kangert (Estonia) 41 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Colombia) 42 Marcel Wyss (Switzerland) 43 Anton Reshetnikov (Russia) 44 Anders Berendt Hansen (Denmark) 3.56 45 Clinton Avery (New Zealand) 4.12 46 Rob Ruigh (Netherlands) 4.13 47 Kristjan Koren (Slovenia) 5.20 48 Marco Corti (Italy) 5.47 49 Mathias Frank (Switzerland) 50 Egidijus Jursys (Lithuania) 6.21 51 Petr Novotny (Czech Republic) 52 Thijs Van Amerongen (Netherlands) 53 Alexandr Pliuschin (Moldova) 6.28 54 Mikael Cherel (France) 55 Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa) 56 Federico Masiero (Italy) 57 Simone Ponzi (Italy) 58 Roderick Muscat (Malta) 7.08 59 Jempy Drucker (Luxembourg) 8.22 60 Pawel Cieslik (Poland) 8.56 61 Matthew Harley Goss (Australia) 62 Franz Grassmann (Austria) 63 Phillip Seubert (Germany) 64 Alexander Slivkin (Russia) 65 Daniel Martin (Great Britain) 9.14 66 Daniels Ernestovskis (Latvia) 11.19 67 Rui Costa (Portugal) 11.51 68 Yevgeniy Nykolenko (Ukraine) 11.59 69 Vitaliy Buts (Ukraine) 12.23 70 Blel Kadri (France) 13.09 71 Michel Kreder (Netherlands) 72 Marcel Barth (Germany) 13.11 73 Branislav Zachar (Slovakia) 14.59 74 Ervin Korts-Laur (Estonia) 15.10 75 Cyrille Heymans (Luxembourg) 76 Marko Hlebanja (Slovenia) 77 Sebastian Hans (Germany) 78 Oleg Berdos (Moldova) 79 Luis Pulido Naranjo (Mexico) 80 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spain) 81 Kristijan Durasek (Croatia) 82 Patrick Shaw (Australia) 15.14 83 Andrew Pollock (New Zealand) 15.30 84 Tomas Tareilis (Lithuania) 15.37 85 Juan Van Heerden (South Africa) 15.59 86 Andrew Thompson (New Zealand) 87 Philipp Ludescher (Austria) 16.01 88 Marius Bernatonis (Lithuania) 89 Michal Prachar (Slovakia) 90 Christoph Sokoll (Austria) 91 Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan) 92 Ben Gastauer (Luxembourg) 93 Jonas Follmann Madsen (Denmark) 94 Van Ooijen Cornelius (Netherlands) 95 Nikolay Onysechko (Ukraine) 96 Andrew Wade (Australia) 97 Mark Nestor (Ireland) 98 Spas Gyurov (Bulgaria) 17.16 99 Lukas Hanus (Slovakia) 17.48 100 Istvan Cziraki (Hungary) 18.28 101 Chris Stockburger (USA) 19.49 102 Nick Clesen (Luxembourg) 21.55 103 Eligijus Dalisanskas (Lithuania) 23.40 104 Alexander Kristoff (Norway) 105 Janis Ozols (Latvia) 106 Martin Munroe (Ireland) 107 Simone Podeschi (San Marino) 108 Stoica Marius Nicolae (Romania) 109 Adam Thuss (Canada) 110 Janar Jermakov (Estonia) 111 Makharashvili Archil (Georgia) 112 Panagiotis Potsakis (Greece) 113 Slavomir Benc (Slovakia) 114 Laszlo Madaras (Romania) 115 Fredrik Johansson (Sweden) 116 Makoto Shimada (Japan) 117 Robert Schmitt (Luxembourg) 23.47 118 Zachary Bolian (USA) 119 Zachary Taylor (USA) 120 Sergiu Catan (Moldova) 27.31 121 Ilias Periklis (Greece) 27.34 122 Gints Reinolds (Latvia) 28.56 DNF Calvin Wilson (New Zealand) DNF Ryuta Morimoto (Japan) DNF Duncan Viljoen (South Africa) DNF Nadiradze Giorgi (Georgia) DNF Ruslan Karimov (Uzbekistan) DNF Hector Gonzalez Baeza (Spain) DNF Jonas Bjelkmark (Sweden) DNF Alexander Urychev (Russia) DNF Jaroslaw Marycz (Poland) DNF Alexander Boyd (USA) DNF Stefan Denifl (Austria) DNF Bolat Raimbekov (Kazakhstan) DNF David Balogh (Hungary) DNF Milos Velickovic (Serbia and Montenegro) DNF Arkaitz Duran Aroca (Spain) DNF Fabio Donesana (Italy) DNF Patrik Fabian (Slovakia) DNF Lukasz Bujko (Poland) DNF Lukasz Modzelewski (Poland) DNF Oleg Opryshko (Ukraine) DNF Barbosa Márcio (Portugal) DNF Eric Boily (Canada) DNF Ivan Zhiyentayev (Kazakhstan) DNF Sandor Koczka (Hungary) DNF Gergely Liska (Hungary) DNF Panayotov P Etar (Bulgaria) DNF Matej Fonovic (Croatia) DNF Dejan Stefanovic (Serbia and Montenegro) DNF David Abal Diego (Spain) DNF Samuel Dias Coelho (Portugal) DNF Andrei Mironov (Moldova) DNF Vedran Vitasovic (Croatia) DNF Tal Eizinbad (Israel) DNF Maurice O'Brien (Ireland) DNF Zdenek Machac (Czech Republic) DNF Edwin Crossling (New Zealand) DNF Jorge Pereira (Portugal) DNF Piotr Pyszny (Poland) DNF Alistair Stoddart (Great Britain) DNF Anatoliy Yugov (Ukraine) DNF Heimo Flechl (Austria) DNF Brooke Boocock (Canada) DNF Martin Grashev (Bulgaria) DNF Shawn Pullicino (Malta) DNF Troels Ronning Vinther (Denmark) DNF Adam Switters (USA) DNF Siarhei Zatonenka (Belarus) DNF Ian Stannard (Great Britain) DNF Lorenzo Antonini (San Marino) DNF Marco Zafferani (San Marino) DNF Raphael Tremblay (Canada) DNF Mouhim Hayani (Morocco) DNS Gasper Svab (Slovenia)