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World Road Championships - CM
Salzburg, Austria, September 20-24, 2006
Race 5 - September 23: Under 23 men's road race, 177.2 km
Cool Ciolek shows more class
By Hedwig Kröner in Salzburg
After 177.2 kilometres and 1,864 metres of climbing, the 2005 German champion Gerald Ciolek made his season a complete success by taking the gold medal of the U23 road race at the World Championships, and the colourful jersey that goes with it. Outsprinting Frenchman Romain Feillu for second, and Russian Alexander Khatuntsev for third, Ciolek was the happiest man on earth as he received his prizes.
"Our team tactics worked out perfectly," the 19 year-old said. "We wanted to ride defensively until the finale, so that's what we did. Tony Martin was great when he brought me up the climb, that was a huge effort of him. But judging from the pain in my legs, this is the greatest victory that I've had so far in my career!"
All throughout the fast and aggressive race, marked by many unsuccessful attacks and breakaways, the German team disappeared inside the bunch until the last lap, waiting for the bast moment to play its card. In the final ascent of the Gschaiderberg, the most challenging hill of the bumpy 22.2 km-long parcours, the three podium finishers went clear, together with Jelle Vanendert (Belgium), Francesco Gavazzi (Italy) and Robert Gesink (Netherlands). Although they only had a few seconds to the chasing bunch, the break made it through, and Ciolek being the favourite sprinter didn't fail his task.
"It's a great victory after this season, where I already had other results," Ciolek added. "It's really special. The race was very hard; the level of the field was high. I knew that the last 200 metres were straight, so I just took it from there. It worked!"
Asked why he didn't wait for a bunch sprint, Ciolek replied, "I haven't raced a lot with the national team, and in a bunch sprint every detail has to be right. I drove into the last climb in a front position, as I knew there would an attack there - which I followed without forcing it. I could have waited for a bunch sprint, too, but as the group got a gap on top of the climb, I saw no use in not following it."
The new World Champ also thanked his team, who worked perfectly for him. "The team did everything right; I didn't have to make any efforts until the finale, so that was perfect," he said.
Second-placed Feillu also didn't regret a thing, as he knew that his sprinting capacities are limited. "I'm still really happy about the silver medal," commented the Frenchman after the race, catching his breath. "I was cramped in the finale. I knew that Gavazzi and Ciolek were the fast guys as I had seen them in Tuscany, so I aimed for their wheels. But I put a lot of efforts into this race before the finish, so I paid for them."
Feillu, who just won the Grand Prix de la Somme, was part of an earlier break, about halfway through the race. "I wanted to anticipate as I was afraid I'd miss the decisive move later," explained the CC Nogent-sur-Oise rider, who had to have surgery last year to lengthen his right leg after a crash in 2000. "This is the cherry on the cake of a good coming-back season for me!"
Bronze medallist Khatuntsev, the current Russian champion, considered this to be his biggest victory of all times. "I'm really happy," the Omnibike Dynamo Moscow rider said. "I was in the front with 300 metres to go, as I didn't know the other riders at all."
How it unfolded
Mikhail Ignatiev (Russia) initiated the first attack of the race, later followed by Fabio Duarte (Colombia). The bunch chased hard after them, which caused a few splits in the field, but after two laps the peloton realized that the two were gone for now, and slowed down. Ignatiev led Duarte by 40 seconds, with the bunch another 1'45 behind at the end of the second lap.
This caused another three riders to counter-attack, as Ignatiev extended his advantage to 2'45 on lap 3: Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine), Jonathon Clarke (Australia) and Robert Gesink (Netherlands) jumped, and quickly caught Duarte. But other attacks came out of the bunch and joined the four riders. By the end of the third lap, the chase group was composed of eight riders: Fabio Duarte (Colombia), Robert Gesink (Netherlands), Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine), Simon Clarke (Australia), Andrei Kunitski (Belarus), Pierre Rolland (France), Thomas Frei (Switzerland) and Francesco Ginanni (Italy).
The chasers eventually caught Mikhail Ignatiev (Russia), but the bunch had picked up its aggressiveness, too, and followed them only 35 seconds behind.
After 75 kilometres of racing, it was all back together again - but not for long. After an attack from Frenchman Pierre Rolland, countered by Czech Leopold König, his teammate and soon-to-be silver medallist Romain Feillu caused some damage, and got a gap. He was joined by an tireless Robert Gesink (Netherlands) and Dario Cataldo (Italy). In the long descent of the Gschaiderberg, the peloton chased hard, but the three had got away - the three teams represented up front slow things down.
Despite Irish and Portuguese attacks, the situation was pretty stable at the beginning of the fifth lap, halfway through the race, with 88 kilometres to go: The leading trio had an advantage of 43 seconds, and the bunch let them ride hard on the long leash.
After picking up some food in the fifth lap, the gap was up to more than one minute, and the Russians set the tempo in the pursuit, before getting some help form the Spanish, the Swiss and the Colombians. The break was caught before the race started into the sixth.
The attacks succeeded each other, with another Frenchman, Florian Morizot, getting a gap with 60 km to go. Kristoffer Gudmund Nielsen (Denmark) joined him, as well as TT winner Dominique Cornu (Belgium) and Thomas Frei (Switzerland). As they tackled the second of the two hills of the parcours, the Gschaiderberg, Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands), Simon Spilak (Slovenia), and Edwin Arnulfo Parra Bustamante (Colombia) bridged up to them.
But one three survived the climb: Spilak, Cornu and Nielsen, who powered into the city centre of Salzburg, as a chase group formed behind them.
Going into the penultimate lap, a chasers made the junction with the three leaders, forming a breakaway of 11 riders: 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).
But the Italian team continued to put the pressure on, only 30 seconds behind, so Spilak, Mandri and Rubiano split the break. Cornu and Langeveld managed to come back to them, and so did Malacarne and Nielsen as the race came to the Gschaiderberg once again. With 34 kilometres to go, Branislau Samoilau, Denifl, Nordhaug and Rossi chased, with the bunch at 50 seconds.
Samoilau caught the leaders just before they got the bell for the last lap. But as the Germans drove the tempo up for their leader and later winner Gerald Ciolek, Mandri, Samoilau, Langeveld and Spilak were caught with 17 kilometres to go.
The bunch was strung out as the attacks continued, but nobody managed to get away before the Gschaiderberg, where Russian Alexander Khatuntsev made his move. In the descent, a chase group of five riders - Jelle Vanendert (Belgium), Francesco Gavazzi (Italy), Gerald Ciolek (Germany), Romain Feillu (France), Robert Gesink (Netherlands) - got organised and caught the Russian, but the bunch was only a few seconds behind.
While Ciolek saved his forces by doing only short turns in the break, the others worked well and kept the pack at six seconds as they approached the last kilometre. Jos Van Emden (Netherlands) bridged over to them in the very last moment, and his teammate Gesink attacked once more. But it wasn't enough to keep Ciolek distanced, and the German won the sprint easily. Feillu came from a long way back to get second, so one might wonder what he could have done hadn't he spent his forces in earlier breaks.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net
Images by Luc Claessen/www.ctm-images.com
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
Images by Andrea Hübner/www.velo-photos.com
1 Gerald Ciolek (Germany) 4.00.50 (44.146 km/h) 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) 0.04 8 Sergey Kolesnikov (Russian Federation) 0.05 9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) 10 Danilo Wyss (Switzerland) 11 Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) 12 Andris Buividas (Lithuania) 13 Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukraine) 14 Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) 15 Diego Milan Jimenez (Spain) 16 Michal Golas (Poland) 17 Grega Bole (Slovenia) 18 John Devine (United States Of America) 19 Jure Kocjan (Slovenia) 20 Dmytro Grabovskyy (Ukraine) 21 Gil Suray (Belgium) 22 Peter Velits (Slovakia) 23 Rene Mandri (Estonia) 24 Filipe Duarte Sousa Cardoso (Portugal) 25 Roman Kireyev (Kazakhstan) 26 Anders Lund (Denmark) 27 Stefan Denifl (Austria) 28 Christoph Sokoll (Austria) 29 James Meadley (Australia) 30 Nikolas Maes (Belgium) 31 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia) 32 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia) 33 Denis Cioban (Republic of Moldova) 34 Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands) 35 Jan Barta (Czech Republic) 36 Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan) 37 John-Lee Augustyn (South Africa) 38 Josef Kugler (Austria) 39 Leopold Konig (Czech Republic) 40 Anton Reshetnikov (Russian Federation) 41 Thomas Peterson (United States Of America) 42 António Manuel Campos Jesus (Portugal) 43 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Portugal) 44 Alexandr Pliuschkin (Republic of Moldova) 45 Chris Froome (Kenya) 46 Tiago Jose Pinto Machado (Portugal) 47 Cameron Evans (Canada) 48 Christian Meier (Canada) 49 Mark Cassidy (Ireland) 50 Thomas Frei (Switzerland) 51 Andriy Buchko (Ukraine) 52 Martin Velits (Slovakia) 53 Piotr Zielinski (Poland) 54 Simon Spilak (Slovenia) 55 Edwin Arnulfo Parra Bustamante (Colombia) 56 Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania) 57 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) 58 Stefan Trafelet (Switzerland) 59 Dominique Cornu (Belgium) 60 Ermanno Capelli (Italy) 61 Steve Bovay (Switzerland) 62 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spain) 63 Andrei Kunitski (Belarus) 0.12 64 Francesco Ginanni (Italy) 65 Daniel (Irl) Martin (Ireland) 66 Jerome Coppel (France) 67 Tom Stamsnijder (Netherlands) 68 Istvan Cziraki (Hungary) 0.25 69 Dalivier Ospina Navarro (Colombia) 0.35 70 Timothy Gudsell (New Zealand) 71 David Veilleux (Canada) 72 Paidi O'brien (Ireland) 73 Hanco Kachelhoffer (South Africa) 74 Gatis Smukulis (Latvia) 75 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway) 76 Kristijan Durasek (Croatia) 77 Florian Morizot (France) 78 Cyril Gautier (France) 79 Oleg Opryshko (Ukraine) 80 Bartlomiej Matysiak (Poland) 81 Pawel Cieslik (Poland) 82 Lars Boom (Netherlands) 83 Pierre Rolland (France) 84 Maciej Bodnar (Poland) 85 Benoît Sinner (France) 86 Craig Lewis (United States Of America) 87 Davide Malacarne (Italy) 88 Michael Stevenson (Sweden) 1.01 89 Lucas Persson (Sweden) 1.48 90 Rein Taaramae (Estonia) 91 Toms Veinbergs (Latvia) 2.18 92 Peter Latham (New Zealand) 2.26 93 Herberts Pudans (Latvia) 3.52 94 Dmytro Kryvtsov (Ukraine) 95 Patrik Tybor (Slovakia) 96 Alexander Kristoff (Norway) 97 Alexander Gottfried (Germany) 98 Laurent Didier (Luxembourg) 99 Enrique Mata Cabello (Spain) 100 Luis Pulido Naranjo (Mexico) 101 Dominik Roels (Germany) 102 Tony Martin (Germany) 103 Stefan Kushlev (Bulgaria) 104 Mikhail Ignatiev (Russian Federation) 105 Vitaliy Kondrut (Ukraine) 106 Stian Sommerseth (Norway) 107 Nazareno Rossi (Switzerland) 108 Norbert Dürauer (Austria) 4.18 109 Jonas Aaen Jorgensen (Denmark) 4.21 110 Bolat Raimbekov (Kazakhstan) 111 Oleg Berdos (Republic of Moldova) 112 Vladimir Kerkez (Slovenia) 113 Alvaro Argiro (Argentina) 6.55 114 Abdelkader Belmokhtar (Algeria) 115 Branislau Samoilau (Belarus) 116 Dario Cataldo (Italy) 117 Jackson Jesus Rodriguez Ortiz (Venezuela) 118 Elio Frausto Saavedra (Mexico) 119 Matthew Goss (Australia) 120 Mathias Belka (Germany) 121 Jonathon Clarke (Australia) 122 Jan Simek (Czech Republic) 123 Emanuel Kiserlovski (Croatia) 124 Ryan Connor (Ireland) 125 Ian Stannard (Great Britain) 8.02 126 Kristoffer Gudmund Nielsen (Denmark) 127 Ben Greenwood (Great Britain) 128 Brandon Crichton (Canada) 9.06 129 Ivan Viglassky (Slovakia) 13.09 130 Mitsunari Mitaki (Japan) 131 Berik Kupeshov (Kazakhstan) 132 Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia) 17.03 1 lap behind 133 Darwin Luis Urrea Vergara (Venezuela) 134 Johan Lindgren (Sweden) 135 Arturs Ansons (Latvia) 136 Andrei Mustonen (Estonia) 137 Miguel Ochoa Gonzales (Spain) 138 Peter Kusztor (Hungary) 139 Gabriel Lenin Juárez Herrera (Mexico) 140 Zoltan Mecseri (Hungary) 141 Esad Hasanovic (Serbia and Montenegro) 142 Frantisek (Jr) Kloucek (Czech Republic) 143 Hyun Wook Joo (Korea) 144 Nicolae Stoica Marius (Romania) DNF Shaun Higgerson (Australia) DNF Ruslan Sambris (Republic of Moldova) DNF Miha Svab (Slovenia) DNF Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Colombia) DNF Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) DNF Tiago Fiorilli (Brazil) DNF Simon Clarke (Australia) DNF Lukas Fus (Czech Republic) DNF Maxim Belkov (Russian Federation) DNF Daryl Impey (South Africa) DNF Ben Gastauer (Luxembourg) DNF Andrew Tennant (Great Britain) DNF Gonzalo Rabunal Rios (Spain) DNF Federico Pagani (Argentina) DNF Jorge Soto (Uruguay) DNF Georg Hausbacher (Austria) DNF Norihide Murayama (Japan) DNF Gert Joeaar (Estonia) DNF Logan Dennis Hutchings (New Zealand) DNF André Steensen (Denmark) DNF Arthur Alberto Garcia Rincon (Venezuela) DNF Yusuke Hatanaka (Japan) DNF José Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Portugal) DNF Mohamed Larbi Aoun Seghir (Algeria) DNF Cyrille Heymans (Luxembourg) DNF Ramon Orlando Lopez Roger (Mexico) DNF Romas Sinicinas (Lithuania) DNF Tanel Kangert (Estonia) DNF Javier Alejandro Salas (Argentina) DNF Stefan Koychev Hristov (Bulgaria) DNF Milos Velickovic (Serbia and Montenegro) DNF Chris Anker Sorensen (Denmark) DNF Sergey Renev (Kazakhstan) DNS Hannachi Abdelbasset (Algeria)