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Photo ©: Bettini

World Championships - CM

Stuttgart, Germany, September 26-30, 2007

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Race 5 - September 29: Under 23 men's road race - 9 laps, 171.9km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Susan Westemeyer and Bjorn Haake

Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 18:00 CEST

Hello and welcome back to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart. We are now heading on to the second race of the day, which is the U23 road race.

15:21 CEST   
Until recently three men were in front, several minutes ahead of the peloton: Andreas Frisch (Denmark), Esad Hasanovic (Serbia) and Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa). But the Serbian struggled on the last climb and fell back behind. So only two leaders on the front now.

15:22 CEST   
Both the chasers and the Serbian have been caught by the peloton. The sun is out and it is much warmer than this morning when the women raced.

15:25 CEST   
The peloton is organising a chase and it strings out the field. Steven Kruijswijk (Netherlands) and Canadian Bradley Fairall are heading the front, as the field is in the fourth lap out of a total of nine.

15:26 CEST   
Kenyan Christopher Froome is on the attack. He doesn't look like a typical rider from this country, being pretty pale and possibly risking a sunburn this afternoon.

15:27 CEST   
The duo in the front is now heading up to the finish area, passing the one-kilometre to go sign. We will have times and gaps soon.

15:30 CEST    76.4km/95.5km to go
There are a lot of people in the grand stands already. The front runners have now completed 76.4km in just under two hours.

15:32 CEST   
Fromme comes through 2'35" later, but the bunch is on his heels. They point at 3'30"

15:34 CEST   
It is getting really tight in the feed zone, which is right after the start finish and the bunch is slowing down. In fact there has been a crash, as Norwegian Stian Sommerseth fell.

15:35 CEST   
Frenchman Guillaume Levarlet was also affected and gets back on his bike to chase. Ouch, this hurts and he may have to pay for his efforts later.

15:38 CEST   
The American team consists of Max Jenkins, Craig Lewis, Thomas Peterson, Peter Stetina and Tejay Van Garderen. Lewis just secured a contract with T-Mobile.

15:40 CEST   
Francis De Greef of Belgium sets the pace now, as some riders are having trouble again with that pesky little hill. Latvian Martins Trautmanis struggles a bit, but pushes hard to get back on the end of the line.

15:42 CEST   
Simon Clarke, Zakkari Dempster, Wesley Sulzberger and Johnnie Walker are flying the Australian flag today. They are sitting in the bunch right now.
Fromme is still trying to catch the front duo of Van Rensburg and Van Rensburg, but finds it hard to do by himself.

15:44 CEST   
Fromme has gained about 20 seconds and is now 2'10" back, while the peloton could only gain ten seconds since the start finish line. The shadows of the racers are getting longer already. Autumn is here and the days are getting shorter.

15:48 CEST   
Even though Stuttgart is a big city and has almost 600,000 inhabitants, there are many trees that provide some green. The women didn't find it too cool, though, as the shady areas were the treacherous ones this morning, when the roads were still wet.

15:48 CEST   
Fromme has now been caught by the peloton, thanks to an acceleration in the bunch. About eight riders are off the front right now.

15:49 CEST   
"The city of Stuttgart and basically the whole country is crazy," Lewis has written on his website. "They are only looking for the bad news in cycling. Little school kids chant 'doper' as we ride by the schoolhouses." He wasn't really too worried, though. "But I am sure it will all be forgotten when we hit the road in a few hours. I am feeling really good, but it is a bike race, so who knows what will happen."

Edvald Boasson Hagen
Photo ©: Stephen McMahon
(Click for larger image)

15:51 CEST   
Boasson Hagen is on the front, bumping shoulders with a Dutch rider. Please, no crashes now.

15:52 CEST    89.9km/82km to go
The acceleration on the peloton has quickly reduced the gap to 1'30" Not looking good for the front runners, who still face more than 80 kilometres.

15:54 CEST   
Ignatiev attacks! After silver in the TT he really wants to win today.

15:57 CEST   
Ignatiev is too well known and the others react quickly. There is nervous tension in the bunch now.

16:00 CEST    95.5km/76.4km to go
Four more laps, as the two leaders cross the line. But the bunch is close! They are now only 43 seconds behind as Van Emden leads them across the line

16:03 CEST   
That feed zone looks crazy. The tents for the soigneurs are on the right, but they make the road really narrow. The bunch funnels through and it slows them down. With the madness of getting the musettes, there is always a bit of nervousness, especially with the fact that some riders aren't used to always ride in fields this size.


  • Andreas Frisch (Denmark) and Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa)
  • Peloton at 0.43

16:06 CEST   
Andrey Klyuev is the next Russian to give it a go, as the lead has dropped to 25 seconds. The duo in the front swings left and right as the there are a few turns on the downhill part. There are quite a few spectators out now and cheer them on. They found it entertaining, but not as hot, as some wear coats.

16:07 CEST    101.9km/70km to go
Klyuev is passed, as Frisch is the lone leader now. Van Rendsburg has dropped back, as the hill is too much for him.

16:09 CEST   
And Frisch is now caught too, but he and Van Rendsburg stay in the small break that has developed. They shake hands and smile at each other after their long time together.

16:13 CEST   
A small group of riders are still ahead by a few metres. They include the former breakaway riders and Mickael Larpe (France), Stefano Pirazzi and Simon Geschke.

16:14 CEST   
As things start to come back together, Pirazzi attacks! Italy wants to win most medals today and they already have two.

16:15 CEST   
The Italian faces an uphill and is riding at around 25 km/h

16:18 CEST    108.9km/63km to go
He has about 11 seconds on the peloton, but it is still a long way. Jarc of Slovenia shows some nifty downhill positioning, s he tries to catch back up to the peloton. He is off the saddle and on his top tube. It works, as he regains the end of the peloton at the bottom of the hill.

16:20 CEST   
Speaking off Slovakia, not Slovenia, a pair of brothers is in the race: Martin and Peter Velits.

16:22 CEST   
Pirazzi is extending his lead to 22 seconds, but the attacks are coming thick and fast in the field.

16:23 CEST   
And the Velits are not only brothers, but identical twins. They rode this year for the Professional Continental Team Wiesenhof-Felt which is losing its sponsor. No word yet on what will happen with the team or where the twins might ride next year.

16:24 CEST   
Of course the attacking slows everything down as riders sit up and look at each other. Thomson of South Africa has enough of that and puts in a vicious jump, in pursuit of the lone Italian on the front.

16:25 CEST   
Thomson didn't manage to shave the last few days, but we hope it doesn't impede his aerodynamics. And as long as the legs are shaved, who cares?

16:26 CEST   
The peloton is flying around a corner in single file and in small groups, followed by a bigger group.

16:27 CEST   
The famous TV tower is visible nearby. And the devil is here too! We knew he couldn't pass on a race in his home country.

16:27 CEST   
Thomson is caught with one kilometre to go before the end of the round. Pirazzi is still ahead, but not so terribly far.

16:30 CEST    114.6km/57.3km to go
The lead is down to 18 seconds as the riders head through the start finish. After 2'58"26 they have an average of 38.5 km/h

16:31 CEST   
Ignatas Konovalovas has left the peloton and catches up with Pirazzi. We have two leaders now, but the advantage is slim.

16:32 CEST   
The sun is continuing to shine and the weather is being as nice as it can be. Much better than the heavy rain which had been predicted, and much safer!

16:36 CEST   
A Russian rider has joined the two leaders, and Pirazzi seems to be having a bit of trouble staying with his two new companions.


  • Stefano Pirazzi (Italy), Christian Meier (Canada) and Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania)
  • Peloton at 0.22

16:37 CEST   
Christian Meier of Canada is trying to get away from the pack, and has nearly caught the leaders. The Russian has had to drop back -- he seems to have cramps, or a thigh problem of some sort.

16:38 CEST   
Pirazzi lets the two newcomers take over the lead work -- he's certainly done his share today.

16:39 CEST   
It looks like the three are working well together and have built up their lead.

16:41 CEST   
Meier is, of course, riding a Gerolsteiner bike. More specifically, Ronny Scholz' spare bike. You might remember that the Canadian bikes were stolen shortly after arrival in Stuttgart and Gerolsteiner gladly supplied them with spares.

16:43 CEST   
Rafai Ctioui is Tunisia's lone U23 representative. He is also observing Ramadan, so it is more difficult for him to ride at the moment since he may not eat or drink from sun up to sun down.

16:44 CEST   
Meier is 22 and from New Brunswick, Canada.

16:46 CEST   
Alexander Gottfried of Germany is at the end of the group. We would have expected to see this talented young climber closer to the front.

16:46 CEST   
Jose Mendas of Portugal is the next to try his luck and get away from the peloton.

Christian Meier (Canada) on the left
Photo ©: Jerome Lessard
(Click for larger image)

16:48 CEST    126.9km/45km to go
Meier had a bit of a problem -- his rear wheel slipped out as he made a left-hand turn. Nothing serious, though, he stayed upright and is still leading the threesome.

16:51 CEST   
The peloton has woken up and its picking up the pace. They are going about 50 km/h right now. A small group of 10 or so has a slight advantage over the pack. No sooner do we write that, they are all back together.

16:52 CEST   
The leading trio is holding its lead steady.

16:54 CEST   
Maxim Belkov of Russia takes his chances now. Will the peloton let him get away? They have been a bit more careful about that after Meier escaped.

16:56 CEST   
And Belkov is catching up with the three in front. Norway is leading the pack, trying to close the gap. They are pinning their hopes on Edvald Boasson Hagen, who will ride for T-Mobile next year.

16:59 CEST    133.9km/38km to go
We are down to two laps to go and things slow down again as the riders go through the feed zone again. The last lap went by in 28'10", with an average speed of 40 km/h.

The leading trio went through with Belkov 13 seconds back and the peloton another 17 seconds down, so 30 seconds between the leaders and the peloton.

17:00 CEST   
4:59 PM
Johnnie Walker of Australia heads through the feed zone and we can't but wonder what is in his bottle, but guess it's some non-spiced water. He will have to leave to drinking for after the race. After this long hard day of writing, we may be tempted to join him in a drink.


  • Stefano Pirazzi (Italy), Christian Meier (Canada) and Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania)
  • Maxim Belkov (Russia) at 0.12
  • Peloton at 0.25

17:02 CEST   
Belkov is still in no-mans land, between the leaders and the pack.

17:04 CEST   
Peter Velits of Slovakia, one of those twins we mentioned earlier, takes off in pursuit.

17:05 CEST   
Jennifer Walker of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, lets us know that Meier is the current Canadian U23 champ, and was 2nd on GC this year in the Vuelta a El Salvador (with the Symmetrics team). Thanks, and it's always nice to hear from a friend!

17:07 CEST   
The front of the peloton has splintered, as many riders realize it's now or never. A Netherlands rider has caught up with Velits, there are several small groups behind them, and they are all getting away from the peloton rather quickly.

17:09 CEST   
There is now a following group of eight about to catch up with the three leaders. And one of them is Lars Boom, who won the U23 time trial. Simon Clark of Australia is also there.

17:12 CEST   
Unfortunately Clark couldn't keep up the pace and has fallen back. But Tony Martin of Germany has moved up to join the group.

17:14 CEST   
We are not sure what happened to our former three leaders -- we gather the peloton finally caught them. Right now we have a fairly unorganised group of about a dozen riders in the lead and we will try to catch all their names.

17:17 CEST   
As soon as we started to write down their names, three riders have escaped from the escape group -- one of whom is Lars Boom! Will he take two medals in this World Championships?

17:18 CEST   
He is not alone of course. His companions are Simon Spilak of Slovenia and Rein Taaramae of Estonia.

17:19 CEST   
Jakob Fuglsang of Denmark is trying to catch the three leaders. Behind him, the other 10 or so from the escape group are also giving their all.

17:20 CEST   
Fuglsang is a mountain biker -- Boom is a Cross rider -- Kupfernagel is a cross rider -- we are beginning to see a pattern here....

17:23 CEST    152.9km/19km to go
Fuglsang is still not caught up with the three leader at the 1 km mark, before the final round. he is so close, but just not there yet. It doesn't look like the group is far behind him.

17:25 CEST   
The Dane makes a final effort and catches up. A fourth rider is only 2 seconds back, and followers another 8 seconds or so. The main peloton is some 50 seconds back, and may not have a chance any more. They whipped through that lap with a speed of 41.9 km/h.

17:26 CEST   
A rider has taken off in the lead -- Spilak has quickly built up a nice little lead.

17:28 CEST   
This is about the same point that our winner this morning made her move -- will it prove equally lucky for the Slovenian?

17:29 CEST   
His chances are looking good as he has a sizeable lead. Behind him the peloton has realized what is happening and turned on the gas.

17:31 CEST   
The peloton has nearly caught the chasers now. Spilak's lead wasn't as big as we thought, as he now has company. Boom won't make it -- he is dropping back.

17:32 CEST   
There is a group of five in front now, including a Netherlander -- Bauke Mollema

17:35 CEST   
Our leading group is: Spilak, Bauke Mollema (Netherlands), Benat Intaxausti Elorriaga (Spain), Kristof Vandewalle (Belgium.) and Rein Taaramae (Estonia). They have about a 20 second advantage.

17:36 CEST   
Rui Costa of Portugal has joined the leaders, giving us a sextet.

17:37 CEST   
The following group has caught the leaders. The Estonian tries to get away now.

17:38 CEST   
12 riders now in the lead, and the peloton is not far behind. They will catch the leaders pretty soon.

17:39 CEST   
Two riders are off in front, and Julien Simon makes it one rider as he takes off.

17:40 CEST   
It's a hard race. Simon has his mouth wide open, trying to catch as much oxygen as possible.

17:42 CEST   
Simon remains in the lead with the following group splintered behind him. And behind them is the onrushing peloton. But will they be able to move quickly enough to catch him on this difficult course?

17:43 CEST   
Five riders behind the young Frenchman, including Mollema.

17:44 CEST   
The Russian Ivan Rovny has come out of nowhere to make chase.

17:45 CEST   
Rovny is about to catch the French rider. Will he stay with him or zip on by?


  • Julien Simon (France) and Ivan Rovny (Russia)
  • Peloton at 0.10

17:46 CEST   
He tries to zip on by, but Simon is watching and goes with him. The peloton is moving ever closer. Will we actually have a mass sprint finish here?

17:46 CEST   
And the escape is over. The head of the peloton has caught them.

17:47 CEST    167.9km/4km to go
Only 4km to go and we have a huge peloton.

17:48 CEST    169.4km/2.5km to go
Ignatiev of Russia tries to get away but the peloton isn't having any of that.

17:49 CEST    170.4km/1.5km to go
Riders dart out, get nowhere, others try.

17:50 CEST    170.9km/1km to go
Yes, it looks like we will have a sprint as the 40 man strong peloton comes under the banner.

17:50 CEST   
All together at 500 m.

17:51 CEST   
And they take off in the sprint!

17:52 CEST   
A nasty crash just metres before the finish line. Kohler of Switzerland is still down.

17:52 CEST   
Peter Velits takes the win.

17:53 CEST   
Wesley Sulzberger of Australia is second.

17:55 CEST   
That is the second U23 title in a row for riders from Team Wiesenhof -- last year's winner Gerald Ciolek was with that team last year.

To finish up the top three, Jonathan Bellis of Great Britain was third.

17:58 CEST   
This race today just goes to show that we never what to expect!

Join us again tomorrow for the grand finale and danke schön for joining us today!

Provisional results
1 Peter Velits (Slovakia)
2 Wesley Sulzberger (Australia)
3 Jonathan Bellis (Great Britain)
4 Tom Leezer (Netherlands)
5 Daniel Wyss (Switzerland)
6 Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Denmark)
7 Domenik Klemme (Germany)
8 Florian Vachon (France)
9 Vitaliy Buts (Ukraine)
10 Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan)

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