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World championships - CM

Madrid, Spain, September 21-25, 2005

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Race 2 - September 21: Under 23 men's individual time trial, 37.9km

Cycling's future stars slug it out in Casa de Campo

By Shane Stokes in Madrid

2004 winner Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia)
Photo ©: AFP
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Some of the world's best Espoir talent will clash on the first day of the 2005 world championships in Madrid when they line out in the under 23 men's individual time trial. Like the other TT disciplines, this will take place in and around the Caso de Campo in the west of Madrid on a course previously presumed as flat and easy, but now being described by those who have ridden it as more challenging than was first thought.

The riders will complete two laps of the circuit for a total distance of 37.9 kilometres. As will be the case with the Elite Men's time trial on Thursday, riders will depart the start house in waves in order to avoid the pandemonium (aka crash/bang/wallop) which would otherwise ensue if those beginning their test met those embarking on their second lap.

Malaysia's Yong Li Ng has the honour of getting things underway at 1pm. CEST. 14 other riders will follow at 90 second intervals, with the first wave finishing at 1.21. The second batch of clock bashers will be led off by Steven Cozza (USA) at 2pm, with Colombia's William Aranzazo Escobar then starting the next wave at 3pm. Although the race favourites generally go in the last burst of riders, contenders such as Francesco Rivera (Italy) and Maciej Bodnar (Poland), sixth and ninth respectively last year, are part of this penultimate group. They head off before Tour de l'Avenir stage winner Tyler Farrar (USA) gets that final section of riders on the road at 4pm.

With most of the big hitters featuring here, the leaderboard could change quite a bit over the final 20 minutes. Slovenian Miha Svab finished third overall and won a stage in the under 23 Internationale Thurinigen Rundfahrt this year. Maxim Belkov was tenth in the 2004 world's at Lake Garda and is the current Russian TT champion, while Mark Jamieson was the silver medallist in the junior race in Zolder three years ago. He is hoping for another podium finish here.

The Australian is then followed by European road race champion Frantisek Rabon (Czech Republic), multiple race victor Bransilau Samoilau (Belarus) and Germany's Tony Martin, winner of two stages of the Tour of Regioni. Things will really be hotting up at this point, especially when one of the big race favourites, former world junior RR champion Kai Reus (Netherlands), jets down the starting ramp to begin his bid for gold.

Tryptique des Barrages winner Tisiano Dall'Antonia follows and is third from last in the start order. The Italian will be chased by Belgium's Dominique Cornu (fourth in 2004 and runner up in this year's European TT champs) and the current European TT champion Dmytro Grabovskyy of the Ukraine. It's going to be a titanic struggle and, together with the tussles from the women's time trial earlier, should ensure a highly exciting start to the 2005 world's here in Madrid.

Course preview

By Shane Stokes in Madrid

The tree-lined avenue
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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All three of the time trials will take place on a variation of the same course in and around Casa de Campo, a vast and picturesque park to the West of Madrid. Serviced by the city's excellent metro system, it is expected that a large crowd will attend on Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd of September to watch, cheer and fiesta, Spanish style, as the under 23 men, Elite women and Elite men slug it out against the clock.

The time trial begins close to the artificial lake on the east side of the course, a few hundred metres from where the TT ends. It should therefore be possible to travel back and forward between the two, again facilitating the spectators here to see the world's best do their thing.

Once out of the park,
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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The time trials get underway on the Pase de los Castaños, a sheltered, tree-lined section which stretches for about a kilometre before opening up into the slightly more exposed Paso de Los Platanos. After about 1.3 kilometres of racing the route bears gently left and then travels past the theme park and zoo, all the while dragging gradually upwards on the sluggish Carretera de los Rodajos.

Approximately 4 kilometres into the test the riders head out of the park, flick left, bear right around a roundabout and then onto an undulating dual carriageway. The road rises for about 100 metres, gaining altitude, but riders should be well able to power up this and over subsequent drags; however, this section is quite exposed, so if an unexpected wind crops up it may well play a part in the outcome.

Around the turn
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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The under 23 men and Elite women have a slightly shorter TT course, the riders looping around a roundabout 5.6 kilometres into the lap and tearing back along the other side of the dual carriageway to once again pass through the gate of the Caso del Campo. This represents for them the high point of the TT, with an altitude of 650 metres (as compared to the starting height of 580 metres).

However the Elite men continue on past the Under 23/Elite women's turn for another 1.6 kilometres, passing through two roundabouts before their own 180 degree switchback. Apart from lengthening their lap, it also sees them climb to a slightly higher altitude of 680 metres.

Past the summit,
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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Once back into the Caso de Campo the riders have a gentle downhill to the lowpoint of the course, the 570 metre base of the Teleférico climb, close to the start/finish area. The ascent up the Camino de los Pinos sees a gain of 60 metres in just under a kilometre and features the steepest part of the course, with riders powering up the hill in an effort to either make up time or to limit their losses. Once past the top, the course plateaus briefly before flicking right onto the Carretera de Garabitas and the start of a long, fast decent through a wooded section and back down towards the lake.

The riders will then head around the right hand side of the water to the finish area at the Puerta del Ángel (573 metres altitude). The Elite women end their race here after one lap, while the under 23 riders and the Elite men continue on to do a second circuit before completing their time trial and determining who are the new world champions.

Putting the final touches
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
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Reaction: The course has been described by several riders as 'deceptive.' Many say that they were told it was flat but were then surprised to discover that it is quite rolling and definitely a bit tougher than they were expecting.

"It is quite a deceiving course, really," defending Elite men's TT champion Michael Rogers told Cyclingnews on Tuesday. "All the reports were saying it is pretty much flat, but that is not the case. It is relatively up and down the whole way and on narrow roads, too. It is harder than people think."

Trivia: While undeniably beautiful and a big hit with cyclists, joggers, race walkers, soccer players and other sportsmen and women, the Caso de Campo is somewhat notorious amongst Madridlenos due to the high presence of "ladies of the night" there. Surprised passers by often get flashed by those keen to show off their wares, even during daytime.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Shane Stokes/Cyclingnews.com

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