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World Championships - CM

Stuttgart, Germany, September 26-30, 2007

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Race 3 - September 27: Elite men's time trial - 2 laps, 44.9km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Hedwig Kröner, Susan Westemeyer and Bjorn Haake

Live coverage starts: 12:50 CEST
Estimated finish: 16:30 CEST

Hello and welcome back to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the 2007 World Championships from Stuttgart, where a nice drizzle accompanies the eight degrees centigrade. Not great time trial conditions, but a maybe a guarantee that the strongest will win. Also, you can watch the 2007 UCI World Road Championships, On-Demand Webcast at WCSN.com. Click Here.

12:50 CEST   
As we noted, the weather has changed, and not for the better. The rain that was predicted for yesterday has arrived and it will make things tricky on this technically demanding course. We hope that everyone stays upright!

12:51 CEST   
Australian Ben Day has just passed the Swiss rider who started a minute before him.

12:53 CEST   
We'll be looking a time of about an hour today, but of course the rain could slow that down.

12:55 CEST   
There is a real dearth of fans on the sidewalks. But it is not only a workday, but a rather unpleasant fall day - who can blame them for staying inside today?

12:56 CEST   
Jürgen Van Den Broeck of Belgium is underway, and so far he has set the best times at the intermediate time checks. We admit that we don't have a clear overview right now, but will do our best to figure out just what the heck is going on.

13:01 CEST   
David Millar has shared his thoughts on the course. "It's hard, but not as hard as the profile suggests. It is not the easiest course, but the easiest course is not always the fastest."

13:02 CEST   
Van Den Broeck has just crossed the finish line for the first time and he has the fastest time. At 28'34"33, he is ahead of Ben Day who is second.

13:03 CEST   
Van den Broeck was only the fourth rider to start, so no one has come through the finish yet.

13:10 CEST   
Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spain) is sixth as he passes the finish line for the first time. It's still raining - nasty weather.

13:11 CEST   
Ben Day looks powerful in his aero position, pushing a pretty big gear on a straight passage at the moment. We're waiting for his next intermediate time.

13:15 CEST   
42'04" at the 31.1 km-mark. But Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium) is already faster than the Australian.

13:16 CEST   
Let us take a look at the various favourites for the crown today. First of all, there is of course the current World Champion in the discipline, 'Spartacus' Fabian Cancellara. The Swiss powerhouse should be in top form to defend his title, but he has played down his chances to the media in recent days, saying that he had more racing days in his legs this season compared to last, and that he might be more tired. "I can't hope to win with more than a minute advance this year," he smiled.

Next on the list would be Cancellara's teammate at CSC, American Dave Zabriskie. The man with the driest humour in the peloton was runner-up to the Swiss last year, and certainly has the rainbow jersey targeted. But will he be able to get the most out of his time trialing talent on this particular course, which provides quite a lot of rhythm changes? We shall see.

Other favourites include Russians Vladimir Gusev and Vladimir Karpets, British Bradley Wiggins and David Millar, Laszlo Bodrogi of Hungary, José Ivan Gutierrez of Spain, German Sebastian Lang and the young Belgian Dominique Cornu, last year's U23 World Champion. We think the course could well be suited to the Spaniard Gutierrez, who got second in Madrid in 2005 - on a circuit more similar to this one. But really, can anyone of the above mentioned beat the reigning World Champion of the specialty?

13:18 CEST   
Benoît Vaugrenard (France) is riding alongside Van Den Broeck now.

13:22 CEST   
Swiss Michael Schär comes in seventh fastest through the 31.1km-mark, carefully speeding out of a corner. Ben Day should be approaching the finish soon.

13:28 CEST   
There are a few more spectators out on the course now. Also it seems the rain has finally stopped!! Streets are still wet, of course...

13:30 CEST   
Day is struggling up that last hill before the finish, now in the last bend. He comes in... 59'27" for the Australian. Good performance.

13:33 CEST   
Vaugrenard and Van Den Broeck are arriving, now, too. The Belgian sets the new best time: 58.44.48.

13:35 CEST   
Svein Tuft of Canada comes in with the third best time, 59.27.

13:37 CEST   
A very dour but rather nervous looking Muradjan Khalmurtov of Uzbekistan takes to the course.

13:38 CEST   
Colombia's Serpa Perez comes in in fourth, at 1.00.30

13:39 CEST   
Michi Schär of Switzerland grimaces as he makes his way up that last long climb to the finish, which he reaches as sixth fastest.

13:40 CEST   
Dmytro Grabovskyy of the Ukraine must like this cool weather -- he is out there in short sleeves!

13:42 CEST   
The maple leafs are out on the course. Hopefully not those falling from the trees, because they could pose a danger to the riders. But these maple leafs are on the jersey of Ryder Hesjedal of Canada.

13:44 CEST   
At the 8 km time check, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy has the best time, 5 seconds faster than Van Den Broeck. It's still a long way to go, though.

13:45 CEST   
Andrei Kunitski of White Russia takes over the lead, with a final time of 58.19. He stands out because he is wearing different colour gloves, one green, and one orangey-red -- and both rather florescent.

13:46 CEST   
We still see a raindrop every now and then on the windshield of our Mercedes SLK 55 AMG. We do not like this. Neither do the riders.

13:47 CEST   
It occurs to us that we owe Grabovskyy a "y" which we left off the first time we wrote his name.

13:49 CEST   
Hesjedal is second fastest at the 8.4km time check, with a time of 11.33, which is 2.93 behind the leader.

13:51 CEST   
Matti Helminen takes the lead at that same time check. He is Finnish and is wearing a nifty blue Trikot with a large white cross. And his gloves match each other.

14:00 CEST   
Unfortunately, in this doping-stricken 2007 season, the World's in Stuttgart are in no way spared of polemics and turmoil. German host broadcaster ZDF, which is providing the international TV signal for all other TV stations throughout the world, is threatening not to broadcast the Road Race on Sunday if the current World Champion Paolo Bettini takes the start. ZDF had already done this during the Tour de France, so we know they're not joking...

Bettini has allegedly being accused by former teammate Patrick Sinkewitz of providing him with testosterone gel, for which he tested positive in June. This is the same doping case that led public TV channels ARD and ZDF to stop the live broadcast of the Tour in July. Moreover, Bettini allegedly didn't sign the UCI commitment "for a cleaner cycling", which annoys the Stuttgart organisers even more. In August, when the Germans debated on whether to hold the Worlds or not, they had asked the UCI to only allow those riders to the event that signed the agreement to pay a year's salary in case of a positive doping test. If Bettini takes the start, the UCI will face yet another court case. To top things off, German Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble yesterday announced he would freeze the 150.000 Euros subsidies for the town of Stuttgart in the light of the latest events. So Stuttgart needs the money.

Now, as the UCI - organiser of the World's - doesn't have the power to stop Bettini from racing on these allegations alone, they would have to ask the Italian Olympic Committee CONI to open a disciplinary procedure against him before Sunday, for which Sinkewitz would have to re-iterate his allegations in Italy first. To add to the thriller, the young German always talked about Bettini as his mentor and one of his best friends when they were at Quick.Step together...

14:03 CEST   
And as if we didn't have enough problems in the sport as it is, another political standoff in currently unfolding as regards the ProTour. The organisers of the Grand Tours still don't want to be part of it, and have not accepted the UCI's latest proposal, a rather complicated re-arrangement of the calendar which would probably not add to cycling's transparency. Watch out for news on this topic as the UCI ProTour council will hold a meeting in Stuttgart today.

14:12 CEST   
Nibali is going along now. The young Italian does the time check at 41.21. Remember, you can watch the 2007 UCI World Road Championships, On-Demand Webcast at WCSN.com. Click Here.

14:15 CEST   
Canadian Tuft tops the leader board at the time check, Victor Hugo Peña (Col) is in second.

14:17 CEST   
The conditions dry, but it is cold and damp.

The organisers are quickly fixing a banner that fell on the road. Good timing because here comes Ricardo Martins (Por)!

14:19 CEST   
Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) gently guides his machine through a left hand fader. The kid looks good today. Last night Cyclingnews visited the two Italians at their hotel. Nibali and Marco Pinotti (Ita) had a quick chat with us before heading off to dinner.

14:20 CEST   
Matti Helminen (Fin) hits the time check at 41.29.

14:21 CEST   
Kristjan Fajt (Slo) focuses. He is looking down the barrel of a 44.9km run.

14:21 CEST   
Fajt blasts out of the start house.

14:24 CEST   
Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) is powering towards the finish. He has his forearms resting on the TT bar pads; his Cannondale machine is rocking to his Italian rhythms. He left at 13:31 on his run, and he will be finishing soon.

14:25 CEST   
Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) rolls off. We are not sure if he has signed a new contract for 2008. His team, Discovery Channel, will fold its operations at the end of 2007.

14:27 CEST   
Vai Nibali. He hammers it with style and grace through a sharp right hand corner. Number 45 approaches the line. Fans are going nuts! I tifosi.

14:28 CEST   
Andriy Grivko (Ukr) starts his ride.

14:30 CEST   
Here comes the Italian. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) completes his run in a time of 58.23, 4'16" down on the provisional leader. A good run by a promising young Italian. That time will slot him in fourth.

14:32 CEST   
Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) crosses himself. He is in a dark red kit of Latvia, topped with his trade team lid of Saunier Duval.

14:35 CEST   
The second of two Italians will start soon. Marco Pinotti (Ita) is a two-time national TT champ in this discipline.

China's Haijun Ma comes home with a time of 1.00.11.

14:37 CEST   
'Pino' was very relaxed at the hotel last night. He knows he stands a good chance, but he does not put too much pressure on himself. He said he was actually surprised he got selected this year after his 'poor' performance of last year.

Ryder Hesjedal (Can) finishes with a time of 58.49.
Matti Helminen (Fin) comes home with 58.13.

14:39 CEST   
Adam Hansen (Aus) is off and running. Tall, green and gold, on top of a magenta coloured TT machine.

14:51 CEST   
Matti Helminen (Fin) is waiting. He leads the provisional standings, and the UCI have him sitting in a tent watching the following riders try to break his time. (58.13)

14:53 CEST   
Orange power. Joost Posthuma (Ned) is trying to do what his U23 compatriot Boom did yesterday; slam his rivals and head home with a rainbow-coloured top.

14:57 CEST   
Andrey Mizourov (Kaz) heads towards the time check. He posts 28 minutes and some change.

15:00 CEST   
David Millar is warming up under a tent, to stay nice and dry. For now anyways. He will start in about 20 minutes.

15:02 CEST   
Belohvosciks of Latvia is labouring hard. The hill is steeper than it looks, as Emma Pooley put it yesterday.

15:04 CEST   
Grabsch posts a new best time at km22. He has 28 minutes and is around 19 seconds faster than Nibali.

15:05 CEST   
Here were the top five at the first time check, about 10 minutes ago.
Time check 1
1 Matti Helminen (Fin) 11.28.11
2 Bert Grabsch (Ger) 0.23
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) 2.40
4 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) 5.41
5 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) 5.66

15:07 CEST   
Gustaav Larsson (Sweden) has the fourth best time at the 22-kilometre check, 28'16". Nibali has a 28'09". He is actually nine seconds slower than Grabsch, not 19. Helminen is third at this check now.

15:12 CEST   
Andrey Mizurov (Kazakhstan) posts the second best time at kilometre 31, 4 seconds slower than the best time. Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) came through just before him, posting the sixth best time. The two started within one minute of each other

15:14 CEST   

Raivis Belohvosciks (Latvia) is passing his one minute man, Dimitri Champion (France). The Frenchman doesn't feel good about it, but he tries to stay close.

15:16 CEST   
Sebastian Lang rolls off the ramp. He is very motivated on home soil.

15:18 CEST   
Grabsch is on fire. He comes through 42 seconds faster than Nibali at the third check. He has passed Pinotti and is closing on his two minute man, Brian Vandborg, who isn't particularly known as snail in the time trials. He was Danish champion last year.

15:20 CEST   
Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium) had a simple answer on who will win the time trial. "Cancellara" was the quick answer. No more questions, then.

15:21 CEST   
Millar now starts, in his British coloured time trial suit. Stef Clement is also on the course now.

15:24 CEST   
Grabsch, Pinotti and Vandborg are lined up with 50 metres between each other. Looks beautiful, but the roundabout and the tram tracks momentarily interrupt the beauty of the line up.

15:27 CEST   
Bradley Wiggins is off, while US champ David Zabriskie is still warming up.

15:28 CEST   
Andrey Mizurov (Kazakhstan) has the new best time. He is almost half a minute faster than the Finnish rider, Helminen!

15:29 CEST   
Dutchman Stef Clement has a new best time at the first check, eight seconds faster. Will there be another gold medal for the Oranje?

15:30 CEST   
And Cancellara is off. The defending champion and London Tour prolog winner is the last rider to start. In a little less than an hour we will know who will be this year's champ.

15:32 CEST   
Belohvosciks gets second place for now and will sit down on the hot seat, next to the current leader.

15:32 CEST   
But Bert Grabsch is now taking over the hot seat. He is the first to be below 57 minutes, 56'53".

15:36 CEST   
Helminen looks on as Grabsch drinks half a bottle of water. The German is sweating and the name hot seat is definitely true for him. Larsson shakes his head, as he comes in with the fifth best time. No medal for the Spaniard. Helminen must know that he will be removed from his hot seat before the day is over.

15:39 CEST   
Zabriskie looks pretty smooth as he rides along the German roads. His black, red and blue outfit contrast with the green of the police man, who is driving ahead of him, but outside the draft zone. Zabriskie is second at the first check, five seconds slower than Clement.

15:40 CEST   
Gusev is now also on the first check. He is tenth, 13 seconds slower.

15:41 CEST   
And no surprise - Fabian Cancellara posts a new best time! He is eight seconds faster than Stef Clement.

15:43 CEST   
Lang comes through the 22-kilometre mark with a time of 27'54" - five seconds faster than compatriot Grabsch!

15:45 CEST   
Clement is flying! 27'31" and a staggering 22 seconds faster than Lang after 22 kilometres.

15:47 CEST   
Vasili Kiryienka (Belarus) comes through with 28'02" at the 22km check. Not bad and it puts him in fourth for now.

15:49 CEST   
Cancellara rides along smoothly with his big white cross across the red jersey, that is the Swiss wear. Millar comes through the km22 check with a 28'15. Seventh for now, but definitely not a podium place for him today.

15:54 CEST   
Bodrogi posts the second best time at km22, 18 seconds slower than Clement. But Cancellara is outrageously fast. He already passes Gusev!

15:55 CEST   
Zabriskie is close to the podium spots. After 22 kilometres he has a 27'58" and is in fourth place.

15:57 CEST   
Cancellara has not surprisingly the fastest time after 22 kilometres. His 27'12" is 19 seconds faster than Clement. The latter is still looking good, approaching the next check.

15:58 CEST   
His 40'18" is twenty seconds faster than Grabsch at the 31km mark.

16:01 CEST   
The 50km/h speed limit that is painted on the roads doesn't apply today. Which is good, as Cancellara surely would have to pay a fine. He looks every smooth, but really fast as he rides along the roads that are pretty dry now,

16:02 CEST   
But one has to be still careful. Lang almost wipes out as he is trying to slow down before a left hand turn, going underneath a bridge.

16:04 CEST   
21 year-old Cornu posts the sixth best time at km 31, a good minute slower than Clement.

16:06 CEST   
Bodrogi passes Spanish champ Gutierrez. The Hungarian has a good day and posts a 40'42 at the third check 23 seconds slower than Clement.

16:08 CEST   
Wiggins is approaching the third check, the right sleeve is blue, the left is red. And his time is 41'18", a minute behind Clement.

16:09 CEST   
Zabriskie has about the same time as Wiggins. The American is one second faster than the Brit, but both are about a minute off the mark.

16:10 CEST   
Make this a minute and 22 seconds, as Cancellara posts a 39'55", 22 seconds faster than Clement. It doesn't look the Dutch will get another gold here, but Clement looks to be set for a medal.

16:13 CEST   
Lang does not manage to get compatriot Grabsch off the hot seat. He posts a 56'58, 5 seconds slower than Grabsch.

16:14 CEST   
But Clement is already approaching the finish, He will pot a new best. Yes, it's 56'39". He is in first for now.

16:16 CEST   
Cancellara is going like crazy. Out of the corner he accelerates hard and good thing the motorbike is already well ahead of him. His speed is incredible.

16:18 CEST   
The Swiss and defending champion Cancellara goes into the corners quickly. It is still wet in places and we hope he can stay upright. He took too many risks in the Tour time trial and crashed twice.

16:19 CEST   
Millar is now approaching the line. He is disappointed, over 58 minutes and 11th for now.

16:20 CEST   
Incredible! Cancellara catches Zabriskie and passes him quickly!

16:21 CEST   
Cornu comes in with 57'52", while Bodrogi and Gutierrez keep switching the lead now.

16:22 CEST   
Bodrogi goes past the Spaniard again and comes through with a 56'33". A new best time! 5 seconds ahead of Clement.

16:23 CEST   
Cornu says he "is very happy". We don't blame him. His first elite men championships and what a ride he did. Only 21 years of age, he surely will medal at some point in the future.

16:24 CEST   
Cornu is actually ahead of Wiggins, who is 8th for now.

16:25 CEST   
Cancellara approaches the finish. 55'41"! 52 seconds ahead of Bodrogi! The only rider under 56 minutes.

16:27 CEST   
This was an incredible ride of the Swiss. In the whole excitement Zabriskie came in almost unnoticed, in 12th, 2'13" down on the winner.

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