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World Road Championships - CM

Salzburg, Austria, September 20-24, 2006

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Race 4 - September 23: Under 23 men's road race, 177.2km

Live report

Live Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Hedwig Kröner and Kristy Scrymgeour

Live coverage starts: 09:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 13:40 CEST

09:00 CEST   
Welcome to Salzburg for our live coverage of the U23 men's road race, the first event in this weekend's very packed schedule. The race involves eight laps of the 22 km road circuit for a total of 177.2 km, and features two climbs per lap. If the U23s race like they usually do, then we'll see the bunch in pieces before too long.

09:17 CEST   
The field of 177 - one for every kilometre - has started the race. Only Hannachi Addelbasset (Algeria) did not take the start.

09:32 CEST   
The weather this morning is cool and foggy, but we should some sun soon and the skies will clear.

09:37 CEST    24km/153.2km to go
There has been an attack from Russian Mikhail Ignatiev. He steams through the start/finish at the end of the first lap, having completed the circuit in 29'46 (44.5 km/h). The main bunch comes in 1'12 later.

09:45 CEST    33km/144.2km to go
Canadian Christian Meier has set off in pursuit of the Russian, and is 40 seconds behind as we near the midpoint of lap 2.

09:53 CEST   
Italian U23 director Sylvio Martinello was debating whether to let his riders use radios today. He said that they want to build up their riders to have more responsibility and develop race instinct.

09:56 CEST   
Meier can't close the gap to Ignatiev, but now Colombian Fabio Duarte tries. He's 1'10 behind the Russian, with the field another 25 seconds back.

09:58 CEST   
Danish rider Chris Anker Sorensen is out of the race after crashing on the first lap. He wasn't too badly hurt, but he has plenty of bruising and abrasions.

10:05 CEST    45km/132.2km to go
The riders have completed the second of eight laps, with the lone Ignatiev now 40 seconds ahead of Duarte, and 1'45 ahead of the main field. An Australian rider is leading the chase, and there are already a few splits in the bunch.

Daryl Impey (RSA) had to chase after a puncture.

10:10 CEST    50km/127.2km to go
The attacks ease off in the bunch, with the gap still 1'40 to Ignatiev. The Russian has a very low position, and almost looks like he's riding his TT bike. He finished second in the time trial on Wednesday after winning it the previous year. But he said he wasn't concentrating on it specifically this year.

10:23 CEST    59km/118.2km to go
We're on lap three, and Ignatiev stretches his lead to 50 seconds over the Colombian Duarte, while the bunch eases off the tempo and is at 2'45. But there are more attacks... a group of three, containing a Dutch rider, is in pursuit.

10:25 CEST   
One of the Austrian riders who was allowed to start, Norbert Dürauer, was sitting on a heart rate of 189 bpm as he rode up the first climb. It's not easy out there.

10:31 CEST    64km/113.2km to go
The chasing group has caught Duarte, and now consists of Duarte, Robert Gesink (Netherlands), Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine), and Simon Clarke (Australia).

Ignatiev is 2 km from the finish of the third lap.

10:33 CEST    66km/111.2km to go
Ignatiev finishes the third lap in 31'03, an average of 32.8 km/h. The chasers are now six, with Andrei Kunitski (Belarus) and Pierre Rolland (France) joining after a chase. Their gap is 29 seconds, with the peloton at 56 seconds. It's very aggressive racing.

10:38 CEST    69km/108.2km to go
Francesco Ginanni (Italy) has bridged up to the break, as has one of the Polish riders. They catch Ignatiev at last.

10:40 CEST   
Thomas Frei (Switzerland) is another member of the leading breakaway.

José Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Portugal) has a puncture, and gets a not that great wheel change and is on his way again.

10:42 CEST    72km/105.2km to go
The pace slows in the bunch as Nicolas Maes (Belgium) attacks to stir things up. The gap is only 10 seconds as they start the first climb. Maes just rides tempo, then another Italian attacks: Francesco Gavazzi. He is with Josef Hugler (Austria), who is sitting on 166 bpm and easily closes the gap to the break.

10:44 CEST   
The Italians are keeping the speed up in the front, as the peloton gradually comes back to the break. Gavazzi hammers with Gesink on his wheel. The break is more or less caught.

10:47 CEST    75km/102.2km to go
The peloton takes the first descent, with a French rider attacking on the next little climb. He gets a small gap. It's Pierre Rolland (France), who was in the earlier break. He's caught by one of the Czechs.

10:50 CEST   
The Czech rider is Leopold Konig, but the Italians lift the pace on the second steep climb up from Tiefenbach and it's back together. Not for long: A Frenchman - Romain Feillu, Italian - Dario Cataldo, and Dutchie - Robert Gesink, go clear. This is very hard racing!

10:54 CEST    80km/97.2km to go
The break starts to work as Cataldo takes off his arm warmers. In the bunch, the three teams represented up front slow things down.

10:57 CEST    84km/93.2km to go
There are more attacks in the bunch as one of the Irish riders tries to get a counter going with a Portuguese.

10:59 CEST    86km/91.2km to go
Stian Sommerseth (Norway) punctures and gets a slow wheel change from the neutral service.

Meanwhile, the three breakaways are getting closer to the end of the fourth lap. They're working well together, and the tempo is high.

11:01 CEST    88km/89.2km to go
The Dutch and Italians are doing their best to slow things down in the bunch, which is under the 1 km to go mark at the end of lap 4.

11:03 CEST    89km/88.2km to go
The leaders reach the end of lap 4 with a big crowd here at the finish line. Gesink is first across the line. That lap was done in 30'10 at 44.05 km/h. The overall average is 43.5 km/h.

The peloton cruises across at around 50 seconds.

11:07 CEST    92km/85.2km to go
The rear of the bunch is strung out as it goes through the team box area at the start of lap 5. Plenty of feeding going on here. The Italians and Dutch are back on the front, blocking. Piotr Zielinski (Poland) sits last wheel and eats some food.

The Russians rather at the front, but are not chasing yet.

11:10 CEST    95km/82.2km to go
Feillu, Cataldo and Gesink get to the start of the first climb with 43 seconds. Gesink (who rides for Rabobank Continental) bears more than a passing resemblance to his ProTour teammate Michael Rasmussen.

11:11 CEST   
Now the Russians are chasing as the road begins to climb and the break has 1'10. Things string out again, and this is going to start to hurt a few legs soon. Despite the climbs, it's still a fast circuit.

11:13 CEST    96km/81.2km to go
The Spanish are also helping out with the chase. Last year's world champ, Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukraine), shows himself near the front in fifth place.

The gap comes down to 42 seconds quite quickly.

11:15 CEST    98km/79.2km to go
Aside from Gesink, who has had some very good results this year, and obviously Grabovskyy, look out for Branislau Samoilau (Belarus), who is a very good climber.

Spain and Russia continue to set the tempo in the bunch as the three leaders take the first little descent.

11:18 CEST    99km/78.2km to go
The rear of the bunch strings out again as it goes through the narrow streets. The Spanish and Russians are getting help from the Swiss and Colombians to chase.

11:20 CEST    101km/76.2km to go
Gesink powers the break up the Tiefenbach climb, setting a nice tempo and pedaling easy. The bunch is also on the climb, having flown down the descent. They can see the break just ahead. It is caught.

11:21 CEST    102km/75.2km to go
One of the Spanish riders leads a few more up to the break, and rides hard all the way up and over the top of the Tiefenbach climb. A French rider counters, and is gradually caught by a group of 12 or so. Lars Boom is with him.

11:22 CEST   
The bunch is totally strung out on the descent as rider after rider attacks. Let's see who can establish a gap...

11:23 CEST    105km/72.2km to go
The pace is really on in front and the bunch is in the longest line you could imagine. Ok, maybe not that long, but it's a couple of hundred metres, at least.

11:26 CEST    107km/70.2km to go
The bunch exits the main road, turns left and heads back towards Salzburg. The attacks continue, trying to get a gap. It's not easy.

11:28 CEST   
One of the Colombians attacks with Suray (Belgium) and a French rider.

11:29 CEST   
The Colombian rider wants to keep the pace up to establish the gap. The French and Belgian rolls through, but there are counter attacks behind.

11:30 CEST    110km/67.2km to go
A Danish rider joins, then a group of about five as the pace lifts coming into town. All together.

11:31 CEST    112km/65.2km to go
The Dane counter attacks with 1 km to go to the end of the lap, but can't get a gap as everyone is strung out in pursuit.

11:34 CEST    113km/64.2km to go
The bunch hits the finish straight with Kolesnikov (Russia) attacking with Stamsnijder (Netherlands). That lap was 30'29 at 43.597 km/h. The overall average is 43.516 km/h. The pace slows at the start of lap 6, and Matt Goss (Australia) comes up to the front.

11:37 CEST    113.2km/64km to go
Florian Morizot (France) is the next to attack, with Matt Goss, Stamsnijder, Laurent Didier (Luxembourg) getting a chase going. No nice. The Frenchman is still alone. Kristoffer Gudmund Nielsen (Denmark) and Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine) are in pursuit.

11:39 CEST    115.2km/62km to go
Nielsen joins Morizot out in front, but the bunch is coming back to them led by the Spanish and Australians.

11:43 CEST   
Nielsen and Morizot hammer up the first climb as Thomas Frei (Switzerland) sets off in pursuit. He puts in a long, out of the saddle attack and has TT winner Dominique Cornu for company.

11:45 CEST    118.2km/59km to go
Four leaders: Florian Morizot (France), Kristoffer Gudmund Nielsen (Denmark), Dominique Cornu (Belgium), Thomas Frei (Switzerland). A Colombian, Latvian, Dutchman (Langeveld) and Slovenian (Spilak) are chasing the them over the top of the climb.

Cornu keeps it going while the others prefer to wait for the chasers.

11:46 CEST   
Gatis Smukulis (Latvia) tries to close the gap, but fails. Cornu is driving it with Nielsen, then the other remaining five chasers very close.

11:49 CEST    123.2km/54km to go
Cornu and Nielsen tackle the Tiefenbach (Gschaiderberg) with Florian Morizot (France), Thomas Frei (Switzerland), Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands), Simon Spilak (Slovenia), and Edwin Arnulfo Parra Bustamante (Colombia) in hot pursuit.

11:50 CEST    124.2km/53km to go
There are problems in the peloton as people drop chains and cause general chaos. The bunch catches four of the five chasers, while Spilak gets across to Cornu and Nielsen.

11:52 CEST    125.2km/52km to go
Three leaders ahead of a very strung out peloton. One of the Colombians is in pursuit of the break, and has company as the peloton splits on the descent. An ITalian is driving it.

Nielsen misses a turn as he grabs something to it.

11:54 CEST    127.2km/50km to go
Spilak does a strong turn on the descent with Cornu and Nielsen rolling through. There are eight riders chasing, including Langeveld and Malacarne, but they will be caught it looks like.

11:57 CEST    129.2km/48km to go
The three leaders have 30 seconds on the bunch as they tackle the very small hill near the finish.

12:00 CEST    131.2km/46km to go
The chase group with Malacarne and Langeveld is closing down on the three in front. We could have a group of 11 at the front soon. Yes, the junction is made.

Kristoffer Gudmund Nielsen (Denmark), Simon Spilak (Slovenia), Dominique Cornu (Belgium), Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands), David Malacarne (Italy), Stefan Denifl (Austria), Rene Mandri (Estonia), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway), Cyril Gautier (France) are among the breakaways.

12:02 CEST    132.8km/44.4km to go
The break reaches the end of the sixth lap. Just 44 km to go now, and the race is at an interesting phase.

The lap time was 29'21(!) 45.281 km/h, with the overall average 43.8 km/h.

12:03 CEST    134.2km/43km to go
The bunch is led by the Italians across the line, at 40 seconds behind the break. There is one Italian rider in the break, but it's probably not the right one.

The full composition of the leading group: Kristoffer Gudmund Nielsen (Denmark), Nazareno Rossi (Switzerland), Simon Spilak (Slovenia), Dominique Cornu (Belgium), Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands), David Malacarne (Italy), Stefan Denifl (Austria), Rene Mandri (Estonia), Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway), Cyril Gautier (France), Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia).

12:07 CEST    137.2km/40km to go
Two Italians are leading the bunch now, so they obviously don't have a great deal of confidence in Malacarne's abilities. He was junior 'cross world champion a few years ago.

12:11 CEST    139.2km/38km to go
One of the Brits is working with the Italians on the front of the bunch. They have Mark Cavendish as their gun sprinter, and this race - although hard - could still end in a bunch sprint. The gap to the break is 30 seconds.

Petter Nordhaug lifts the pace on the climb, causing a small split in the break, but it comes back together. The bunch is coming up fast.

12:13 CEST   
Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spain) sets a strong tempo in the bunch, but doesn't get any cooperation from the Italian on his wheel.

In front, Spilak, Mandri and Rubiano gap the break.

12:14 CEST    140.2km/37km to go
The break has shattered now as Cornu and Langeveld close to the three in front.

12:17 CEST    141.2km/36km to go
Simon Spilak (Slovenia), Dominique Cornu (Belgium), Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands), Rene Mandri (Estonia), and Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia) are the leaders, with Branislau Samoilau (Belarus) bridging across to the remnants of the break over the top of the first climb.

12:20 CEST    143.2km/34km to go
Malacarne and Nielsen bridge across to the five in front on the Gschaiderberg, with Branislau Samoilau leading Denifl, Nordhaug and Rossi in pursuit. The bunch is at 50 seconds.

12:21 CEST   
The leaders work over the top of the climb, which is a false flat before the descent back into town starts. Branislau Samoilau has dropped the rest of the chasers and is about 20 seconds behind the leaders.

12:24 CEST    145.2km/32km to go
Cornu is having another good ride today, and is doing a lot of the work. Malacarne is swinging off the back, trying to stay in contact but not do any work.

12:26 CEST    146.2km/31km to go
Samoilau is going to have a tough time getting up to the front group, but he's got a chance. The counter attacks are starting in the peloton now, but the gap is almost a minute.

12:30 CEST    154.2km/23km to go
Samoilau is closing in on the break at 10 seconds. The bunch sits at 1'05 seconds. The leaders look back and see a reinforcement.

12:31 CEST    155.2km/22km to go
One of the Aussies is leading the pursuit, and the bunch is picking up some of the gap. Samoilau is almost on the leaders. He closes the gap just before 1 lap to go. Nice riding.

12:33 CEST   
They get the bell! Will the world champ be one of these riders?

That lap was ridden in 30'16 (43.9 km/h) for an overall average of 43.8 km/h. There's a bit of shoving in the bunch, which has closed the gap to just 30 seconds!

12:35 CEST    157.2km/20km to go
The break rides up past the team boxes with Samoilau taking Langeveld and Mandri with him in a counter attack.

12:37 CEST    159.2km/18km to go
Spilak crosses the gap to the three in front, while the other four in the break try to close as well.

The Germans are riding hard in the bunch for their main man Ciolek.

12:39 CEST    160.2km/17km to go
The four leaders are working hard, but the bunch is right on their wheels. They sit up. Could this be a bunch sprint? There's still a couple of climbs to come.

12:40 CEST    161.2km/16km to go
Langeveld is the last rider in front, and because he has two teammates in second and third wheel in the bunch, he might stay away for longer.

12:42 CEST   
As the first climb steepens a bit, Langeveld is caught. A Polish rider counters - Maciej Bodnar, then explodes. Matt Goss is sitting last wheel, not really a place you want to be at this stage of the bike race.

12:43 CEST   
A Belgian is the next to attack, but it goes nowhere. The bunch is in a long line. Stamsnijder counters and gets Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) for company. He goes over the top hard. The bunch gives them a gap.

12:44 CEST    163.2km/14km to go
Belkov (Russia) bridges the gap and does a really hard turn. A fourth rider is coming up to them, with the bunch very close.

12:45 CEST   
It's hard to get a gap. The peloton strings out over the top of the first climb and the attacks continue. A Colombian powers away past the second lot of team boxes.

12:47 CEST    164.2km/13km to go
One of the German riders gets to the front to keep the pace up for Ciolek. It's Tony Martin. They have Ciolek in fourth wheel, and he's not a guy you want to have to beat in a bunch sprint.

12:49 CEST    165.2km/12km to go
They hit the Gschaiderberg for the last time, and the attacks are constant. Gavazzi puts in his big move, but can't get a big gap. They go over the top with six men, including a German, Vanendert (Belgium), a Dutchman and a Russian.

12:50 CEST    166.2km/11km to go
The Russian is Alexander Khatuntsev, and he continues the attack on his own.

In the back of the bunch, Brandon Crichton (Canada) crashes after being bumped by a support car. He's not happy, waiting for a spare.

12:52 CEST    168.2km/9km to go
Khatuntsev takes the corner a bit too wide halfway down the descent, but he keeps his gap. He's powering along towards the finish, with five riders in pursuit. The German isn't working with them, while the French rider tries to get everyone else to roll through.

12:53 CEST   
The five have to avoid a race moto that has crashed on the descent.

Gerald Ciolek is the German in the chase group!

12:54 CEST    170.2km/7km to go
The leader is caught, and Feillu (France) tries to keep them rolling over. The bunch is only 5 seconds back. Looks like a bunch sprint.

12:55 CEST    172.2km/5km to go
The break contains Alexander Khatuntsev (Russian Federation), Jelle Vanendert (Belgium), Francesco Gavazzi (Italy), Gerald Ciolek (Germany), Romain Feillu (France), Robert Gesink (Netherlands). It's high powered, and it could stay clear.

12:56 CEST   
Gesink forces the pace with a big turn, and the bunch loses ground, maybe 10 seconds now.

12:57 CEST   
Now they're looking at each other, as Ciolek rolls through for his turn. Vanendert is frustrated that the rest aren't working. It's too soon to play poker.

12:57 CEST    174.2km/3km to go
Ciolek knows he's the best sprinter, and keeps doing short, fast turns. Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania) is trying to bridge up to them.

12:58 CEST    175.2km/2km to go
Jos Van Emden (Netherlands) is with Ignatas Konovalovas, but isn't working with him. The pair will get caught.

12:59 CEST    176.2km/1km to go
The six leaders go under 1 km to go, still working. They should stay away...

12:59 CEST   
Ciolek does a turn, then slows and Feillu comes through. Ciolek takes his wheel.

13:00 CEST    176.2km/1km to go
Feillu wants them to work, Ciolek does one more turn as they go under 1 km to go. A Dutch rider - Van Emden - is closing the gap!

13:00 CEST   
Gesink attacks a bit early. He has a teammate coming...

Ciolek plays it cool.

13:01 CEST    177.2km/0km to go
Van Emden bridges up almost, but can't do it. Ciolek easily wins from Feillu and Khatuntsev. Sergey Kolesnikov (Russia) wins the group sprint for eighth. Ciolek is world champ!!!!!

13:06 CEST   
Great ride by Gerald Ciolek to win that from the breakaway. He worked with them, kept it going to give himself the best chance in the sprint. He was unbeatable there. Feillu came from a long way back to get second ahead of Khatuntsev, with Gavazzi, Vanendert, Gesink, and Van Emden finishing behind.

That was a very aggressive race, and we can see that the parcours is not really hard enough to break things up. If the elite women and elite men don't race hard from the beginning, then we'll get two bunch sprints.

We'll be back with the elite women's coverage in about an hour and a half. Wiedersehen!


1 Gerald Ciolek (Germany)                   4.00.49
2 Romain Feillu (France)
3 Alexander Khatuntsev (Russian Federation)
4 Francesco Gavazzi (Italy)
5 Jelle Vanendert (Belgium) 
6 Robert Gesink (Netherlands)
7 Jos Van Emden (Netherlands)
8 Sergey Kolesnikov (Russian Federation)       0.06
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
10 Danilo Wyss (Switzerland)

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