World championships - CM
Madrid, Spain, September 21-25, 2005
Results & report
Race 6 - September 25: Elite men's road race, 273 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Scott Sunderland,
Serge Baguet, Hernan Alvarez and Shane Stokes
Live coverage starts: 10:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 16:30 CEST
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Welcome to Cyclingnews for our live
coverage of the crowning event of the 2005 World Road Cycling Championships
- the Elite Men's Road Race. Held over 13 laps of the not-so-easy 21 km parcours,
today's race is over 270 km long, one of the longest in recent years. Although
talk has been focused on a likely bunch sprint, with Alessandro Petacchi, Robbie
McEwen, and Tom Boonen as a likely podium, we saw yesterday in the U23 men's
race that it can be broken open by riders, provided that there isn't too much
organisation in the chase.
This being pro racing, it's likely that
the combined strength of the Italian, Australian, and Belgian teams should be
enough to keep things in check when they get a bit wild in the last laps. But
bear in mind that the maximum team size has been reduced from 12 to 9 riders,
and the race is a bit longer than usual, so it might not be possible to control
it until the end. I think we'll see a very different race to Zolder 2002, where
the Italians essentially controlled things on their own and led out Cipollini
for a fine win.
As usual in Madrid, it's sunny and will get warmer
during the day, with temperatures around the 20 degree mark at the moment. There
is zero wind.
Later on today, we'll have some guest commentary from
CSC director Scott Sunderland and Belgian champion Serge Baguet.
The men's peloton is lined up on
the start line, with most riders looking cheerful in the morning sun. The Spanish
team is on the front row, and are the first to leave as the gun goes off.
The Italians share the front row
with the Spanish, and the pace at the start is quite steady.
10:03 CEST 2km/271km to go
The bunch rides past
the team boxes for the first time and up towards the Kio Towers, turning left
and hitting the first light descent.
10:04 CEST 2km/271km to go
The first attack comes
from Krasimir Vasilev (Bulgaria), who gets a withering look from the Italians
as he takes off after 2 km.
10:06 CEST 4km/269km to go
No-one is interested
in chasing Vasilev, and the Bulgarian gets 20 seconds quickly.
10:09 CEST 6km/267km to go
Vasilev reaches the
foot of the first climb with a minute, as the speed picks up slightly in the
peloton, courtesy of the blue jerseyed Italians.
Another rider attacks in pursuit
of Vasilev, as the hill starts.
10:11 CEST 7km/266km to go
Vasilev rides up in
the big chainring, as Juan Carlos Lopez Martin (Colombia) gives chase.
10:14 CEST 9km/264km to go
In the peloton, it's
Jens Voigt and Sebastian Lang (Germany) sharing the front row with a Spanish
Lopez Martin is 57 seconds behind the leader, with the
peloton another 25 seconds back.
Vasilev is on the second climb, the
steeper one, where Grabovskyy attacked so strongly yesterday. The Bulgarian
is still 55 seconds ahead of his Colombian chaser.
10:20 CEST 14km/259km to go
Vasilev is actually
putting time into Lopez Martin, who's now at 1'05. The peloton is another minute
back, taking this lap very easy.
10:24 CEST 17km/256km to go
to work hard at the front. He's not the smoothest rider on the bike, but whatever
he's doing, it's working. The course is continually up and down, and it's difficult
to get into a rhythm.
10:28 CEST 20km/253km to go
Vasilev rides past
the team boxes on the other side of the finishing straight. He's nearly at the
end of the first lap. Lopez Martin is just coming onto the Paseo de Castellana.
In the peloton, the Italians take advantage of the slow pace to commune with
10:30 CEST 21km/252km to go
Vasilev takes the
final corner and rides up to the start/finish, going quite strongly. The Colombian
is still at 1'01, while the peloton is 3'17 behind.
The first lap
is completed in 30'13, an average speed of 41.7 km/h.
10:35 CEST 24km/249km to go
There were two non-starters
today: Christian Vandevelde (USA) and Michael Barry (Canada). Bulgaria only
started with two riders, Evgeni Gerganov being the other. Earlier this week,
Bulgarians Ivaïlo Gabrovski and Bogdan Stoytchev were both declared "unfit to
start" the road race, after their blood values were too high.
Trenti (USA) chats to Italians Pozzato and Lombardi as the peloton crosses the
line at the end of lap one 3'47 behind the leader.
10:39 CEST 27km/246km to go
Vasilev is not waiting
around for the Colombian, who is still 1'04 behind the leader. The peloton is
falling further behind, and is now at 4'12.
10:43 CEST 29km/244km to go
Vasilev tackles the
first climb for the second time, mashing his big chainring and asking his team
soigneur for a drink on the next lap. The Colombian Lopez Martin is at 1'15,
with the peloton still over 4 minutes back.
10:47 CEST 31km/242km to go
We have our third
attacker from the peloton, just before the bunch hits the climb. It's Dmitry
Muravyev (Kazakhstan). Also, Saul Raisin (USA) is on the attack. He is joined
by Muravyev near the top of the climb, but they're 4'30 behind the leader.
10:53 CEST 35km/238km to go
The situation on
lap 2: Krasimir Vasilev (Bulgaria) leads by a minute over Juan Carlos Lopez
Martin (Colombia), with Saul Raisin (USA) and Dmitriy Muravyev (Kazakhstan)
chasing at 4'30, and the peloton at 5'42. It's the Belarusian team at the front
of the peloton at the moment, as it rides up the second climb.
10:56 CEST 37km/236km to go
Raisin and Muravyev
have pegged the leader back to 4'14 as the peloton drops back to 6'00, still
lazy in the early morning sun.
11:00 CEST 42km/231km to go
Vasilev isn't waiting
around for anyone, as he drives down the Paseo de Castellana, towards the final
corner. He takes it at about 35 km/h and winds up again. He comes up to the
start/finish having completed the second lap in 30'36, at 41.176 km/h.
Lopez Martin is next across the line,
riding at almost the same speed as Vasilev during that lap. Together, they would
be faster. The gap is 1'14 to the Colombian.
11:05 CEST 45km/228km to go
Raisin and Muravyev
have made up a bit more time on the leader, and are 3'45 behind the Bulgarian
as they cross the line. The peloton is now at 7'00 as it rolls along at 37-38
11:07 CEST 47km/226km to go
Some info on our
leader, Krasimir Vasilev. He was born on April 6, 1974, which makes him 31 at
the moment. He currently rides for the Portuguese team Duja-CC Tavira. His victories
include a stage in the Volta ao Alentejo and a stage in the GP MR Cortez, both
11:10 CEST 48km/225km to go
The bunch crosses
the start/finish 8'10 behind the lone leader, led by Britain's Tom Southam.
Everyone's still chatting as the race hasn't really got going yet. Don't worry,
11:13 CEST 49km/224km to go
Vasilev gets a bottle
from his soigneur at the top of the Dehesa de la Villa climb, which he's now
completed three times. He's still looking strong, still riding in that big gear.
11:16 CEST 51km/222km to go
Lopez Martin is 1'40
behind the leader at the top. He'd be best off waiting for Raisin and Muravyev.
The Kazakhstani and the American are 2'54 behind - really making up ground on
The British team leads the peloton
up to the climb, as Sebastian Lang gets a bit of a gap, but not in the interests
of attacking. It was more seeing how fast he could descend.
11:23 CEST 57km/216km to go
The bunch rolls up
the Dehesa de la Villa climb as a solid block, with Jan Hruska and Sebastian
Lang sharing the front row with several others. It's still a very steady pace,
and no-one is really suffering. Peter van Petegem is towards the back, as is
Raisin and Muravyev have caught Lopez Martin now.
11:25 CEST 59km/214km to go
By the way, both
Raisin and Muravyev may be riding in different jersey today, but for 99.72 percent
of the year, they ride in the same team: Credit Agricole. There is understanding.
They have combined with Lopez Martin to reduce the gap to Vasilev to 2'02.
The peloton falls to 10'10 back,
and one of the Slovenian riders gets on the front: looks like Gorazd Stangelj.
11:29 CEST 62km/211km to go
A little more on
Saul Raisin, a very talented 22 year-old rider from the USA. As mentioned already,
he rides for Credit Agricole, after being with their development team last year.
In 2003, he rode for Ofoto/Lombardi Sports. This year, Raisin has won the mountains
competition in the Tour de l'Avenir and finished a solid ninth in the Deutschland
Tour. One of these years, he has to win the Druivenkoers in Belgium ;-)
11:32 CEST 63km/210km to go
Vasilev rides up
the right hand side of the road to the start/finish, completing the lap in 30'50
for 40.865 km/h. The average speed so far has been 41.2 km/h. 10 laps to go.
Saul Raisin (USA)
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
11:35 CEST 66km/207km to go
The chasing trio
comes up to the start/finish, led by Raisin, 1'55 behind the leader. They're
not picking him up much on the flat, but on the climbs there is a difference
the peloton is more strung out now - we should see some
action in the next two laps, otherwise a bunch sprint is going to be extremely
probable. With the extended "warm up" that they've had, the race has been reduced
from 273 to about 210 km. Well, you've still got to ride the distance, but Milan-San
Remo is longer, and it tends to take a while to get going, so a bunch sprint
The bunch is nearly 11 minutes back
as last year's U23 champion Kanstantsin Siutsou lifts the tempo. He's a Fassa
Bortolo rider for 99.72 percent of the year, and is probably not riding for
his own chances today.
11:42 CEST 71km/202km to go
Siutsou strings out
the peloton as it enters the long, tree-lined Paseo de Castallana. He's effectively
a Petacchi man today, that's clear. It's also quite understandable, given who
pays his wages.
The gap seems to have topped out at 11'44. We'll
see at the start/finish.
11:44 CEST 72km/201km to go
One of the Argentinean
riders - time trialist Matias Medici - leads the bunch past the start/finish
with 10 laps to go, 11'43 behind the leader Krasimir Vasilev. The pace is less
relaxed now, as Roger Hammond (GBR) gets some assistance from his team car.
11:45 CEST 73km/200km to go
Vasilev is now at
the top of the Dehesa de la Villa climb, getting another bidon from his soigneur
on the fourth lap.
Muravyev leads Lopez Martin and Raisin up, putting
the pressure on on the climb. They've reduced the gap to only 43 seconds.
Medici, Siutsou, and Hruska lead
the bunch now, setting a pretty stiff tempo on this fourth lap.
11:48 CEST 75km/198km to go
Medici looks for
Siutsou to take over, which he does. Two British riders follow - looks like
Wegelius is one of them.
Vasilev is on the second climb, the
Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria. He looks back to see where his chasers are.
They're getting closer. The four should get together soon.
11:52 CEST 77km/196km to go
The Brits pick up
the pace, courtesy of Wegelius and Southam (?), just before the Dehesa de la
Villa climb. They'll want to make it hard because they don't really have a top
sprinter. Good to see!
Vasilev is caught by Muravyev, Lopez Martin,
and Raisin. He hooks onto the back.
11:55 CEST 78km/195km to go
The situation after
78 km: We have four leaders: Krasimir Vasilev (Bulgaria), Juan Carlos Lopez
Martin (Colombia), Saul Raisin (USA), and Dmitriy Muravyev (Kazakhstan). They
have 10'19 on the chasing peloton led by Brits Tom Southam and Charly Wegelius.
Matias Medici is in third wheel and Bettini in fourth.
Vasilev shake hands and get to know each other a bit better. It's quite a friendly
By the way, Tom Southam is riding
in memory of his countryman Tom Simpson today. Simpson won the World Championship
in Lasarte, Spain, 40 years ago. Southam showed up at the start of the world's
in Madrid, Spain, with a piece of textile around his wrist, which was actually
Simpson's undershirt the day he became the world champion and it was given to
Southam by Simpson's nephew Chris Sidwells.
(Thanks to Jean-Francois
Quenet for this)
11:59 CEST 80km/193km to go
Vasilev might have
spent his bikkies today. He's sitting on the back of the break at the moment,
eating and drinking. The other three make the tempo. They ride up to the Kio
Towers with a larger crowd of people gathering to cheer them on.
12:02 CEST 83km/190km to go
Medici and his teammate
Martin Garrido help out the Brits in the peloton as they peg back the gap to
9'33. Bettini and Bernucci laugh and chat to each other, obviously not finding
the pace on the Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria particularly hard.
Vasilev is now working in the break again, as it reaches the 1 km to go banner.
The wind is picking up a bit, but it looks like a tailwind sprint.
12:04 CEST 84km/189km to go
At the end of four
laps, the four man break is keeping the average speed at the 41 km/h mark. That
lap was completed in 31'30 - 40 km/h. But remember, Muravyev, Raisin and Lopez
Martin were two minutes quicker, so they averaged 42.7 km/h.
12:09 CEST 88km/185km to go
Bortolo) strings out the bunch with the Argentineans and Brits also helping.
The Swiss riders are moving up too. The peloton is in a fairly long line at
the moment as it heads down the Paseo de Castellana at the end of lap four.
12:14 CEST 91km/182km to go
At the start/finish,
the peloton rides through led by Siutsou at 9'24 behind the break. A quick and
dirty calculation reveals that the bunch rode that lap in 29'10, at an average
of 43.2 km/h.
Belgians Nuyens and Gilbert are at the back of the
bunch, sorting out a problem with their radios. Either that or playing on their
12:15 CEST 92km/181km to go
The break is at the
top of the first climb again, all working together as Vasilev takes on more
food. The chase is on though now, courtesy of Britain, Argentina and Belarus/Fassa
12:18 CEST 93km/180km to go
The bunch continues
to rumble along with Thomas Dekker (Netherlands) in last wheel with some Belgians
for company. Greg Henderson (New Zealand) is also back here.
12:25 CEST 100km/173km to go
The peloton is at
the top of the Dehesa de la Villa climb 9'16 behind the four leaders, who have
done well to hold their gap as the bunch is not hanging around. Dekker, T. is
still in last wheel.
12:31 CEST 104km/169km to go
The bunch hits the
Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria climb with Petacchi's teammate Siutsou lead
the way. The Argentinean pair of Garrido and Medici are also doing their share
of chasing. They have Ruben Bongiorno and Alejandro Borrajo as their sprinters.
12:33 CEST 105km/168km to go
The four leaders
head down the start/finish straight into the wind, then take the corner at the
bottom and ride back up to the start/finish. The average after five laps is
41.194 km/h, having ridden that lap in 29'47 (42.3 km/h). That's the quickest
lap of the race.
12:35 CEST 106km/167km to go
The four leaders
grab feed bags from the team boxes as they pass them for the sixth time.
A little more on Dmitriy Muravyev.
The Kazakhstani was born on November 1, 1979, which makes him 25 at the moment.
He turned pro in 2001 with Domo-Farm Frites, and rode for Mapei-Quick.Step in
2002, and Quick.Step-Davitamon in 2003. In 2004, he switched to Credit Agricole.
He's won the Kazakhstan time trial championships twice (2003 and 2005) and the
road championship once (2002). He's also got a stage win in the Vuelta a Navarra
to his credit.
The Colombian, Juan Carlos Lopez
Martin, is the most inexperienced rider in this break. He's been a stagiaire
with Saunier Duval this year, but hasn't ridden professionally before now.
The Spanish team is taking Valverde back to the bunch after a mechanical. He's
done one race since the Tour, so he's a bit of an unknown.
12:42 CEST 111km/162km to go
The Spanish team
makes contact with the bunch just on the last corner. They take him up towards
the front of the peloton.
The Australians have been fairly quiet
so far, although they should be happy with this scenario as Robbie McEwen is
The gap at the start/finish is 9'04. The four leaders
have done very well.
12:46 CEST 113km/160km to go
Anibal Andres Borrajo
is the other Argentinean working with Medici on the front. Not to be confused
with Alejandro Borrajo, who is a better sprinter. Also, in the GP Citta' Di
Misano Adriatico last week, Argentinean Guillermo Ruben Bongiorno led a Panaria
1-2-3 home in a bunch sprint.
Saul Raisin drives the break up the
Dehesa de la Villa climb again. The sun is warmer now.
12:49 CEST 114km/159km to go
Cadel Evans (Australia)
chases onto the peloton after a trip to the team car.
(NZl) has abandoned, the first rider to do so. He won the Grafton to Inverell
last week in Australia over 232 km, but that's a bit different to a World Championship.
12:52 CEST 115km/158km to go
Siutsou leads the
bunch onto the climb, with two Argentineans and two Brits in tow. Slowly, they're
pulling back the four leaders with this five man chase.
At the top of the climb, the bunch
is 8'28 behind the five leaders. It's a fast pace, but not too hard yet.
12:59 CEST 120km/153km to go
So far, this race
has got "bunch sprint" written all over it. None of the big guns in the other
teams have tried to attack yet, and they'll have to do that in order to create
stress among the other other teams that want a sprint. The current chase is
falling into the hands of the Italians, Belgians, Australians, and anyone else
who has a good sprinter in their ranks.
Siutsou leads on the Avenida
del Cardenal Herrera Oria.
13:02 CEST 125km/148km to go
to pedal hard on the front of the break, as it heads down the Paseo de Castellana
for the end of the sixth lap. He has done most of the work in this break, although
the others are certainly contributing.
13:03 CEST 126km/147km to go
At the end of lap
6, the leaders have an average of 41.21 km/h. The last lap was ridden in 30'31,
a bit slower than the previous one.
13:06 CEST 127km/146km to go
Raisin's pace is
pretty strong, as he gets on the front again past the team boxes. Muravyev takes
his wheel, then Vasilev and Lopez Martin.
The bunch races down the downhill
section of the Paseo de Castellana, stringing out at 50 km/h. The wind seems
to have died a bit. Siutsou leads into the U-corner again.
13:11 CEST 131km/142km to go
At the end of lap
6, the peloton is 7'49 behind the four man break, which is at the foot of the
first climb again.
The peloton at large grabs feed bags
as Southam and Wegelius lead past the team boxes.
13:16 CEST 132km/141km to go
Lopez Martin has
been dropped on the climb, and now there are three leaders. The Colombian is
outta gas. Raisin and Muravyev lead over the top, 27 seconds ahead of Lopez
13:17 CEST 133km/140km to go
Vasilev is also
looking a big ragged as he sits on the two Credit Agricole/USA/Kazakhstan riders.
The peloton is 7'35 behind them.
13:21 CEST 135km/138km to go
Tom Boonen (Belgium)
is sitting in the last 20 riders of the peloton as it tackles the early part
of the seventh lap. David McCann (Ireland) is now bringing up the rear.
Robbie McEwen and Henk Vogels are
in the top 15 of the peloton as it crests the first climb, led by Medici again.
The gap is 7'25 at the top.
13:26 CEST 138km/135km to go
The Colombian Lopez
Martin is losing ground continuously, now 1'17 behind the leading trio. Bold
prediction #3: He will not finish this race.
Thomas Dekker is now
having his turn at the rear of the bike, as McCann relieves himself on a descent.
We're at the halfway point!
13:30 CEST 144km/129km to go
The bunch rides
up the Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria for the seventh time, the pace solid
but still not too painful for most. Van Petegem is fifth last, his preferred
position until he decides to do something.
Someone is stirring it up in front,
as the peloton strings out a bit more to one or two riders wide.
13:32 CEST 146km/127km to go
Raisin leads again
as the breakaway trio rides down the start/finish straight with 1 km to go.
13:34 CEST 147km/126km to go
At the end of lap
seven, Raisin, Muravyev and Vasilev have 7'15 on the bunch and 3'03 on Juan
Carlos Lopez Martin. That lap was completed in 29'53 (42.165 km/h). The overall
average is 41.3 km/h.
13:35 CEST 148km/125km to go
Muravyev grabs a
feed back, as does Vasilev as they pass the team boxes on lap 8. Raisin opts
to grab a bidon.
13:38 CEST 150km/123km to go
Lopez Martin crosses
the line 4'04 behind the leaders, having lost that in about 15 km. The peloton
is now on the Paseo de Castellana, nearing the kilometre to go banner.
13:40 CEST 152km/121km to go
On the line at the
end of lap 7, the gap is 7'06, with exactly the same riders leading it across:
Medici, Southam, Wegelius, Borrajo and Siutsou.
13:43 CEST 153km/120km to go
There is the usual
scramble for feed bags through the team boxes, but it's pretty well organised.
There haven't been many (any?) crashes so far during this race, which has been
13:45 CEST 154km/119km to go
Muravyev and Raisin
keep forcing the pace on the climb, as the Bulgarian Vasilev hangs on grimly,
going for bidons on each lap.
13:49 CEST 156km/117km to go
Leon Van Bon (Netherlands)
drops back to consult with the team car. "What's da plan, boss?" "Just win!!"
13:51 CEST 158km/115km to go
Peter Van Petegem
(Belgium) is consulting with his team car, chatting to Jose de Cauwer.
The first attack of the day, Krasimir Vasilev is gone from the lead break on
the second climb. Lopez Martin is nearly caught by the bunch too.
13:53 CEST 160km/113km to go
Lopez Martin is
caught just before the top of the climb, as Wegelius leads the bunch over at
6'39. Karsten Kroon (Ned) also shows himself near the front of the bunch.
So we have two leaders now: Saul Raisin and Dmitry Muravyev. Krasimir Vasilev
has done his dash, having been in front for over 150 km.
13:57 CEST 163km/110km to go
(Belarus) leads the bunch up the Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria on lap 8,
with Wegelius on his wheel.
14:00 CEST 164km/109km to go
Vasilev has fallen
to 1'18 behind the leading pair, with the peloton now at 5'59. None of the big
teams have had to do a tap of work all day.
14:04 CEST 168km/105km to go
Raisin and Muravyev
ride up to the start/finish at the end of lap 8, riding that last lap in 30'23.
The overall average speed is still 41.36 km/h.
14:06 CEST 169km/104km to go
Vasilev looks very,
very tired as he rounds the last corner, getting out of the saddle and cruising
up to the line. He's already at 2'29 and looks on the verge of pulling out.
14:07 CEST 170km/103km to go
The peloton, led
by Liquigas's Charly Wegelius (Britain) and Fassa's Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus),
heads down the Paseo de Castellana once more. The Argentineans Borrajo and Medici
are also still contributing.
14:10 CEST 172km/101km to go
At the end of the
lap, the bunch is 5'59 behind the leading trio. Just over 100 km to go, and
the peloton is essentially intact.
Andreas Klier (Germany) grabs a few
cans of coke from the team car and prepares to give them to his teammates. The
bunch passes the team box zone, grabbing feed bags as usual.
14:14 CEST 174km/99km to go
Lopez Martin (Colombia)
has abandoned, together with Tom Southam (GBr). They've done a hell of a lot
of work today, so it's not surprising.
So have Saul Raisin and Dmitry
Muravyev, who are on the Dehesa de la Villa climb, with both in the big ring,
14:16 CEST 175km/98km to go
Muravyev leads Raisin
to the top of the climb, clearly working a bit harder.
14:21 CEST 178km/95km to go
The peloton hits
the climb, led as always by the same riders. Things will have to start happening
soon or the bunch sprint is a certainty.
Vasilev is near the top
of the climb, looking a bit stuffed. He's caught by the peloton right at the
top. He still grabs a bidon. The gap is 5'28 at the top, with a Spaniard in
front for the first time.
14:25 CEST 180km/93km to go
The peloton hits
the descent with three South Africans towards the rear of the bunch. Plenty
of riders are trying to unpack their feedbags as they hurtle down the hill.
The gap is 5'17, as the Spanish gets stuck into things, courtesy of Zaballa,
Blanco. Bettini and Paolini are up there. Two teams in front. It's all Italians
and Spanish in the first 15!
14:26 CEST 181km/92km to go
Blanco and Zaballa
really force the pace on the Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria climb, cutting
the gap down to 4'52. A gap is created with some 30 riders hanging onto the
Spanish train. This is when it starts to hurt.
14:28 CEST 182km/91km to go
Blanco's turn is
very hard as Zaballa takes over. It's doing plenty of damage behind, splitting
the bunch. Maybe 50 riders in front. The Italians have to chase, as Petacchi
is in the second group. Oops.
McEwen is on the back of the front
group, and has a few teammates there. Maybe only 30 riders in front, including
a number of Italians (who are slowing it a bit to allow Petacchi to get back
on) and the strong Spanish team.
14:29 CEST 183km/90km to go
The peloton regroups
as the three Italians in front keep the tempo up, but not too much. Now the
Spanish come back and lift it.
An attack! It's Joost Posthuma (Netherlands)
flying off the front. Now the race has really begun!
14:33 CEST 187km/86km to go
Posthuma is caught
by five riders, including Mancebo (Spain), Pozzato (Italy), Efimkin (Rus), and
Murillo Fischer (Brazil). But the peloton is right behind.
14:34 CEST 189km/84km to go
The two leaders are
at the end of lap 8, having ridden that one in 30'23, same as the previous lap.
The average is still 41.3 km/h. The bunch is already flying down the finish
straight on the other side.
14:36 CEST 190km/83km to go
The peloton regroups
a bit as it races towards the last corner. Ivanov and Voigt are near the front,
as is Zaballa.
14:37 CEST 191km/82km to go
Zaballa and Tosatto
lead the bunch up to the line, then Voigt takes over with Wesemann and Nuyens
close behind. The gap is 3'25.
That's been the quickest lap for
the bunch so far, around 27'45 (over 45 km/h).
14:40 CEST 193km/80km to go
Wegelius and Cummings
have abandoned, the Brits losing two more riders. Evgeny Petrov has also pulled
In front, Muravyev and Raisin are heading towards the climb.
14:46 CEST 196km/77km to go
It's 2'49 as the
Italians set a hard tempo to the foot of the Dehesa de la Villa climb. Alexandre
Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) has had enough, it looks like.
has abandoned on lap 9. No surprises there, but he did play an active role in
Muravyev and Raisin are at the top
of the climb, with the bunch in hot pursuit. Ivanov and Tosatto are leading
14:47 CEST 197km/76km to go
Vino is sitting last
wheel on the climb with Philip Zajicek (USA). He doesn't look interested today.
14:49 CEST 198km/75km to go
Ivanov and five Italians
lead over the climb, 2'09 behind the two leaders, who are not going to be out
there for much longer. The bunch is still intact though. It's the second climb
that really hurts.
14:53 CEST 200km/73km to go
The Italians continue
to dictate the pace on the second climb, riding pretty hard with Sergey Ivanov
(Russia) also up there. No mass attack by the Spanish this time.
Stijn Devolder (Belgium) moves to
the front, sitting out in the wind.
14:55 CEST 201km/72km to go
Efimkin attacks again
with one of the Spanish. But Bettini is there, as are several others. Now is
that Devolder countering? Not really. He stops pedaling. Then a Russian rider
comes up and the pair get a gap. There is some chasing behind, and the gap is
The two leaders have just 1'08 left.
They're at the top of the hill now,
and it's strung out, but there are no breaks.
14:56 CEST 203km/70km to go
In front, Muravyev
encourages Raisin to keep going. They've only got a minute, but they can hold
out for a bit longer.
14:58 CEST 204km/69km to go
Another attack goes
from the peloton, a Spaniard and a Belgian. They get a five second gap, as a
third rider - a Frenchman - gives chase.
14:59 CEST 205km/68km to go
It's Zaballa, Devolder
and Anthony Geslin(?) But they are caught by the bunch again. Bettini forces
15:02 CEST 209km/64km to go
The attacks continue
to rain, with Denis Shkarpeta (Uzbekistan) getting a small gap. He's nearly
onto the two leaders. The pair look at each other and realise that it's over.
The final corner
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
They take the corner for the 10th
time, with Shkarpeta leading Raisin and Muravyev, and the peloton 10 seconds
back, led by Matt Hayman (Australia).
15:05 CEST 210km/63km to go
Raisin is cooked,
and has to let go of Muravyev and Shkarpeta, who reach the end of the 10th lap.
That lap time was 30'55.
The Australians lead the bunch over the
line at 7 seconds.
15:06 CEST 211km/62km to go
The peloton completed
that lap in roughly 27'30 - 45.8 km/h, the fastest to date.
is now solo, with Muravyev gone. He has 10 seconds over the bunch, which will
get him, surely.
15:09 CEST 212km/61km to go
Jaan Kirsipuu (Estonia)
has abandoned, as has François Parisien (Canada).
jerseys tow the bunch behind Shkarpeta. It's going to be very very difficult
to get away in the last three laps.
Zajicek (USA) has pulled the
15:09 CEST 214km/59km to go
The Uzbek is caught
as a French rider counters - looks like Chris Kern.
15:11 CEST 215km/58km to go
Shane Stokes spoke
to Sean Kelly a few laps ago, and the Irish legend gave us his opinion of the
race so far: "I think that at this moment with six laps to go it is the time
for the action from the teams who need to try and form a break and make the
race more difficult. It has to be done in the next couple of laps because if
we get to 3 or 4 laps from the finish and it is altogether, then it is going
to be a a bunch sprint. The sprinters’ teams like the Italians and the Belgians
will start controlling it.
"If it is a bunch sprint, then Petacchi
is the big favourite. McEwen, of course, with this corner - it gives him a little
bit more of a chance, but I think Petacchi is the big favourite. But you never
know with this corner - I think it will be a big group of riders, 60 riders
it comes to the finish, and when you that many so many things can happen in
the final corner. There is a lot of riders waiting and hoping for that kind
of opportunity, second row sprinters like Hushovd, Nazon and Jimmy Casper -
guys like that will be hoping that something can happen to the main sprinters
and they can come into position where they can contest the win. Otherwise they
are always sprinting for fifth or tenth place."
15:12 CEST 216km/57km to go
Kern takes the first
descent at a most excellent speed, holding 10-15 seconds over the chasing peloton.
Australia and Italy are leading.
15:14 CEST 216km/57km to go
has abandoned. Kern can't get much more than six seconds over the peloton, where
Cadel Evans is on the front. Constantino Zaballa attacks again, with one of
the Danes on his wheel. Wesemann and a Belgian close the gap, along with the
rest of the bunch. Kern is caught.
15:15 CEST 217km/56km to go
Oscar Pereiro counters,
to a huge cheer. He gets company from the same Dane, it looks like. Jakob Piil.
Piil and Pereiro try to make their
escape count, but they'll need a lot of speed to get away from the bunch. 5
15:18 CEST 219km/54km to go
The two leaders hammer
on the descent, with one of the Dutch leading the peloton. A Polish rider is
up there, but doesn't want to work. Neither does the Spaniard on his wheel,
15:19 CEST 220km/53km to go
The gap is up 18
seconds as the Italians get to the front to control things, along with a couple
of the Aussies. That's McEwen himself!
Pereiro and Piil hit the second climb
up the Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria with the Italians keeping things in
check. Pieter Weening (Netherlands) attacks, looking back many times. He has
Calcagni and seven others for company. It's one of the Spaniards driving it,
with Bettini also there. Interesting.
15:22 CEST 221km/52km to go
The climb is doing
a lot of damage: Bettini, Gilbert, Calcagni, Lagutin, Allan Davis, and Perdiguero
are chasing Piil and Pereiro. They have a nice gap over the broken peloton.
Piil and Pereiro are caught by Bettini,
and a front group forms with Oscar Pereiro, Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spain),
Jakob Piil (Denmark), Paolo Bettini (Italy), Allan Davis (Aus), Sergey Lagutin
(Uzb), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Luis Laverde (Col), Fabian Wegmann (Ger), Patrick
15:25 CEST 224km/49km to go
Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)
sets off in pursuit of the leaders, who are working together now. This is an
interesting looking group. Valverde and Devolder are also up there!
15:27 CEST 225km/48km to go
The pace reduces
in the peloton, as most of the top countries have a man in front. The cooperation
in front is poor, though. 39 seconds.
The break: Oscar Pereiro, Alejandro
Valverde, Miguel Martin Perdiguero (Spain), Jakob Piil (Denmark), Paolo Bettini
(Italy), Allan Davis (Aus), Sergey Lagutin (Uzb), Philippe Gilbert, Stijn Devolder
(Bel), Fabian Wegmann (Ger), Patrick Calcagni (Swi)
15:29 CEST 227km/46km to go
Laverde is not there
- Valverde is.
The bunch is now 52 seconds back. This is looking
like an interesting move. Kolobnev (Rus) attacks in pursuit.
Piil is interested in keeping the
break going, and keeps the tempo high. Davis is not doing much, and Bettini
is keeping an eye on him. The Spanish and Belgians are also driving the break.
15:32 CEST 231km/42km to go
Wegmann does short
turn, followed by Pereiro. Lagutin comes through next. They reach the end of
the lap 11. 27'12, an average of 46.3 km/h. It's getting quicker.
15:34 CEST 232km/41km to go
Valverde in front
now, doing a strong turn. The next three across the line at 58 seconds are Andriy
Grivko (Ukraine), Alexander Kolobnev, Patrick Calcagni (Swi), the latter being
dropped from the break.
The peloton is led by the French, who have
missed it totally, at 1'14.
15:36 CEST 234km/39km to go
Max Van Heeswijk
has abandoned. That's probably the biggest hope for the Dutch gone.
The break is now cooperating, including Allan Davis. They have a minute on the
chasing three, and 1'12 on the peloton.
15:38 CEST 235km/38km to go
The French are forced
to chase, as they don't have anyone in the break. Neither do the Dutch, so we
might see them in a bit too.
The three chasers have been swallowed,
and the gap is down to 1'03.
15:39 CEST 236km/37km to go
The leaders continue
to ride together, hitting the foot of the climb on lap 12. Valverde looks good.
15:41 CEST 237km/36km to go
The break numbers
10 riders, and has some good names in it: Bettini, Davis, Wegmann, Valverde,
Perdi, Pereiro, Piil, Lagutin, Gilbert, Devolder.
The bunch has
pegged the gap back to 52 seconds, courtesy of the French.
Valverde looks strong as he does
a long turn on the front. Perdiguero comes through next with Bettini on his
wheel. The pace on the climb is very hard. Lagutin is having problems following.
The chase has run out of gas, with
the French team disappearing off the front. Well, there's one left, who tries
15:44 CEST 239km/34km to go
Pereiro leads the
break over the top as the peloton splits a little in pursuit. But all the countries
with riders up front are near the front of the bunch. The gap is just 28 seconds
as Koos Moerenhout does a big turn.
15:45 CEST 240km/33km to go
Moerenhout has a
bit of a gap over the bunch, with a couple of riders on his wheel on the descent.
Mancebo and Pozzato are there, along with a couple of others.
The chasers are making big inroads
into the leaders. Marek Rutkiewicz (Poland) and Murillo Fischer (Brazil) are
the other two.
15:48 CEST 242km/31km to go
The chasers are caught
by the bunch, and the pace slows a bit until Zaballa attacks at the foot of
In front, Pereiro and Davis are dropped as Bettini attacks!
Wegmann can close the gap.
Wegmann and Bettini are working together,
forcing the pace on the Avenida del Cardenal Herrera Oria. Bettini looks great.
They are chased by five riders: Piil, Devolder, Gilbert, Valverde, and Perdiguero.
The seven are together.
15:52 CEST 244km/29km to go
(Kazakhstan) is chasing the seven leaders, as is Denis Menchov. In front, Wegmann
has his jersey flapping.
15:54 CEST 245km/28km to go
Kashechkin and Menchov
are now together. They're 27 seconds behind the lead group, with the peloton
at 35 seconds. The French are in front. Well, one of them is. Pozzato is in
second wheel, not going through hard of course. Moerenhout attacks again, with
Rogers and another Russian on his wheel. The bunch follows.
15:56 CEST 247km/26km to go
Kashechkin and Menchov
are caught, as Rogers does a strong turn in front of the bunch. A break forms,
and it looks like Fraser MacMaster (NZl) has made it to the front there.
The seven leaders are nervous, but working together. Perdi comes through for
15:58 CEST 251km/22km to go
Valverde and Bettini
get a small gap in the front group, but it comes back together. The bunch is
charging, 20 seconds behind. Rogers is strong. The break is disintegrating as
In the heat of the battle now, and
Scott Sunderland (Team director CSC) and Belgian National Champion Serge Baguet
(Davitamon-Lotto) have joined us for the last hour of the race.
Serge Baguet: Fabian Wegmann is in very good shape...exceptional what he is
Scott: Wegmann is a very good rider; it's a big gap they've
made but it won't be enough; twenty seconds. The poker game really starts now.
Serge: The Belgians aren't looking to good. Bettini is the strongest. According
to me it's going to end up in a mass sprint.
16:00 CEST 252km/21km to go
The leaders reach
the end of the 12th lap. One to go. That lap was in 27'31 (45.79 km/h). Elmiger
is at 14 seconds, then the Aussies lead the big bunch through.
tried to attack towards the end of the lap, but he was brought back. They're
all working together now, but only with 13 seconds.
16:01 CEST 253km/20km to go
the break, but Bettini counters him like he was standing still! That can't be
good for you.
16:02 CEST 254km/19km to go
was just to show them who's boss, I think. All together in front, with 15 seconds
as they ride past the boxes for the last time.
Piil attacks again
- impressive. Gilbert goes with him.
Piil and Gilbert continue to work
as Wegmann gives chase alone, nearly headbutting a moto.
16:04 CEST 255km/18km to go
Wegmann is about
3-4 seconds behind Piil and Gilbert, who are going full gas. The German is catching
them though. Wegmann is there now. Three leaders.
16:05 CEST 256km/17km to go
That cost Wegmann
a bit of energy to get up. Behind them, the Italians and Aussies are chasing
pretty hard. Vogels on the front of the bunch. They're all caught!
16:06 CEST 257km/16km to go
to drive hard, waving his arm at the rest of the bunch to follow him. He wants
a bunch sprint for McEwen, naturally. They reach the foot of the first climb
for the last time.
Scott: Bjarne said Piil has been
training very hard, and that shows today. He's doing a great race. Question
is; these guys go away and Italy is left behind, then Italy will start riding
in the peloton...Wegmann is a strong as Bettini as far as I can see, to be able
to close that gap at this moment in the race, you simply have to be very classy.
Belgium and Germany are in a beneficial position.
Serge: look at
the Australians giving full blast.
Two Aussies and one Italian string
out the peloton at the foot of the Dehesa de la Villa for the last time. It's
one loooooooooooooong line.
Vogels pulls off and lets the two
Italians set tempo. And a solid tempo it is, courtesy of Lorenzo Bernucci. Lars
Bak (Den) is in third wheel.
16:09 CEST 258km/15km to go
No it's not Bak,
it's another red jersey. Giovanni Lombardi is leading now, in any case. Several
more Aussie and Italian jerseys are close behind. Paolini moves up.
16:10 CEST 259km/14km to go
The peloton is near
the top of the climb, led by Paolini. Rogers is right up there with McEwen and
two more Australians. There are breaks in the peloton all over the place.
16:11 CEST 260km/13km to go
Paolini takes the
descent in the lead, with the Aussies going through next with three. The attacks
will surely come on the last hill.
There are perhaps 40-50 riders left
in the front group, no more.
Scott: It's nice to see Vogels working
so hard for McEwen. He's surely digging deep.
Serge: This is heading
for a mass sprint. There's no way an attack will get away anymore at this time.
Vino looks comfortable and alert. He is the one rider who might still launch
an attack. Boonen is still very well surrounded. Peter Van Petegem nicely in
the front. It looks ok.
16:13 CEST 261km/12km to go
Rogers now takes
over as the peloton grows again. The sprinters are all here: Petacchi, McEwen,
Boonen. The Belgians are up in front too. They'll surely work for Boonen.
Serge: with three kms to go the Belgians
will start riding, full blast. Boogerd is in the front too, he has been hiding
in the peloton the whole day and will certainly try his luck in a little while.
16:15 CEST 262km/11km to go
It's not Boogerd,
it's Karsten Kroon who attacks. Just at the foot of the Avenida del Cardenal
Herrera Oria. Bettini joins him, as does Dean. The peloton has to let them go
16:16 CEST 263km/10km to go
Bettini leads with
Leukemans (Bel) in tow. Then Vinokourov attacks! Oh well, he wasn't so bad after
all. Bettini and Leukemans go with him.
16:17 CEST 264km/9km to go
It looks like Julian
Dean up there too - yep. The break has about 10 riders in it, as Vinokourov
attacks. Not bad, but the others chase him.
16:18 CEST 265km/8km to go
A group of about 15
leads the peloton by less than 10 seconds. The peloton is not so big through
- 40 riders.
Moerenhout attacks the front group.
16:19 CEST 267km/6km to go
Moerenhout has a small
gap to the break, which is coming back to him. The cooperation is not so good
in the chase. A Slovenian rider closes to Moerenhout, then Vino counters again...dangerous,
16:20 CEST 268km/5km to go
It's Moerenhout, Stangelj
and Vinokourov in the lead, but they are joined by Bettini. Dean is dropped
from the chase group, which has Nuyens in it. Nope. He's dropped too. Leukemans
makes it to the front group.
Vino attacks again!
16:22 CEST 269km/4km to go
Boogerd and Bettini
take off after Vinokourov. The gap is tiny. 3 seconds. But the peloton must
Vinokourov pounds the pedals hard,
then Bettini bridges up to him. Boogerd is there, then a gap to Serrano, Moerenhout
(who won't work), and Stangelj. Then the peloton.
Scott: All the non-sprinters are
trying a last time; giving 100%; Julian Dean is full gas. Vino goes again, unbelievable!
Serge: Vino would make a fantastic world champion I reckon, impressive!
16:23 CEST 271km/2km to go
Serrano powers on
the Paseo de Castellana in pursuit of the three leaders. Stangelj and Moerenhout
chase. The six are together.
The front part of the peloton is
10 seconds behind with 1 km to go. Oooh, this will be close.
16:24 CEST 272km/1km to go
The six leaders are
all over the place, with Boogerd hammering. Vino goes again. Nope. Bettini chases
They race towards the corner and
the peloton is very very close. 6 seconds. They take the corner with 700m to
go, Vino leads.
Stangelj leads out at 500m but they
16:26 CEST 273km/0km to go
Vino waits, but it's
too late. He goes at 250m then Valverde, then Boonen comes through and wins
the World Championship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
silver, I think.
16:27 CEST 273km/0km to go
Tom Boonen is beside
himself, jumping up and down after the line. He's swamped. What an incredible
season. Geslin took the bronze ahead of Ljungqvist. Petacchi and McEwen didn't
make that final group. Wow, what a finish!
Serge: Boonen, Boonen, Boonen!!!
Scott: Ja man!!!!
Well, it was a bunch sprint of sorts,
but with only 25 riders or so. And it nearly wasn't as that six man break almost
stayed away until the end. Boonen was without doubt the best sprinter there
- when Valverde hit the front at about 150m out, Boonen didn't waste time and
went straight around him, winning by over a bike length.
capped off an incredible season, winning the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix,
as well as a host of other big races. And he's World Champion at 24! You've
gotta hand it to Valverde too, as he has barely raced since the Tour and was
in doubt of not starting due to his dicky knee. But he got in one of the key
breakaways and finished with the silver medal. As for Geslin, that's a nice
result for the French team, which did have to work quite hard to pull back the
dangerous break with two laps to go.
As the Belgians go wild celebrating
their young hero, we leave you in Madrid with the image of Tom Boonen wearing
the rainbow stripes of World Champion. Despite the words said before the race,
I think Patrick Lefevere is going to be very happy with this result.
1 Tom Boonen (Belgium) 6.26.10
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
3 Anthony Geslin (France)
4 Marcus Ljungqvist (Sweden)
5 Murilo Fischer (Brazil)
6 Jakob Piil (Denmark)
7 Alexandre Kolobnev (Russsia)
8 Andreas Klier (Germany)
9 Julian Dean (New Zealand)
10 Martin Elmiger (Switzerland)
11 Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia)
12 Steffen Wesemann (Switzerland)
13 Paolo Bettini (Italy)
15 Thomas Dekker (Netherlands)
21 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan)
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