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UCI "B" World Championships - CM
Aigle, Switzerland, July 5-6, 2003
Day 2 - July 6: Men's & Women's Road Race, 151.2/100.8km
Images by Gerry McManus
Brazil strikes gold in Switzerland; Chinese take away the medals
By Gerry McManus
Murilo Fischer won the gold medal in the men's road race at the 'B' World Championships in Switzerland. The 24 year-old Brazilian outsprinted Ivan Stevic (Yugoslavia) and Ireland's David McCann at the end of the 151km event based in the small town of Monthey.
The race started fast in the warn conditions but the strong winds didn't help many of the riders who were shelled out on the first lap with the speed averaging around 50kph. A number of attacks were quickly brought back to the main field including a brave effort by Japan's Tomoya Kano who took off on his own for a brief spell of freedom. Meanwhile the serious riders had formed a 100 strong bunch. Riders from nations where cycling is still under development took a back seat to some of the world's best 'amateurs'.
The second of the 16.8km laps set the pace for the rest of the day at 44kph and the story again was of failed breakaway attempts. The next serious split in the field happened as the time trial winner Eugen Wacker (Kirghizstan) crashed heavily in the pit lane as riders rushed to take more water on board in the 30 degree temperatures. Wacker was taken to the medical centre with a suspected broken collarbone while Ireland's Eugene Moriarty put on a show of speed through the town centre section in Monthey that stretched the field into a long line.
The 4km climb up to the villages of Lavey and St Maurice through narrow twisty roads was not having the expected results anticipated by many of the riders before the race. The bunch stayed together until the end of lap six when Matej Jurco (Slovakia), Mannie Heymans (Namibia), Sinichi Fukushima (Japan) and time trial silver medalist Jianshi Luo (China) clipped off the front. The quartet gained 30 seconds on two chasers with 49 seconds on the bunch before they were eventually re-captured.
After 100km of racing a strong group of 37 riders broke free when a strong attack on the climb left many struggling behind. Martin Riska (Slovakia) and Ivan Stevic (Yugoslavia) were pushing the break along through the finish of lap seven. Numerous attempts to break clear had again failed until David McCann finally went with just over two laps to go. A chase group of seven were closing and the bunch were at 16 seconds and falling further back as they hesitated. Dimitov Gospodinov (Bulgaria) made a fantastic move to bridge the gap to the group who had already clawed in McCann.
At the bell, it was McCann clear with Gosodinov, Alexandr Mateev (Moldovia), Sergey Lagutin (Uzbekistan), Stevic, Fischer , Husar, Tomoya Kano (Japan) and Evgeni Gerganov (Bulgaria).
On the final lap McCann again slipped clear with Fischer, Stevic and Gospodinov. McCann led out the sprint but was no match for the Brazilian who ironically finished last and behind the Irishman at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Fischer now rides full time in Italy where he has already won two races this year and finished fourth in the prologue of this year's the 'Baby' Giro d'Italia.
McCann looked disappointed on the podium but explained his situation after he was visited by UCI officials at the end of the race.
"It was hot out there and I had trouble getting bottles in the pits," said McCann: "I had to get pick one up from another team in the end. I thought I was alone when I broke clear but the UCI have told me that I had cut the course to catch up with the leaders but that's funny because I thought I was the leader at that time. I don't know why they thought that when I was already clear of the field."
"I had attacked with two laps to go in the crosswind just before the finish. It had been a little too easy before then with nobody taking the race by the horns. I had a go on the hill before then but no one would go with me so I sat up. Our group was pretty multi-national except the Japanese had two and we were riding really well. On the last lap I heard that Brian Keneally was coning across so I didn't do much work especially when I started to feel the pinch when I ran out of drink. I tried to get away again on the last climb and four of us got clear. I suppose I should be please to get third when the others are all good sprinters."
Riders who finished in the first 15 will qualify a place each for their countries (up to two maximum) in the Athens Olympic Road Race next year. Brian Keneally did a fine ride to finish 14th to tie up a second Olympic place for Ireland.
Li Meifang (China) doubled her gold medal count when she time-trialed her way to another win in the women's road race in the B World Championships in Switzerland. She led a Chinese clean sweep of the medals when Juning Zhang and Yunjuan Qian completed the podium positions at the end of the 101 km event.
Small breaks were quickly brought back until Meifang escaped on lap three and quickly built a lead of 40 seconds. Eleven riders made a chase group on the next lap but by this time the lead was up to 2.52 and hopes of bring the time-trial winner back were quickly fading. After just a little under two hours of racing the gap was up to 3.09 and the chase group was down to ten before unlucky Brazilian Clemilda Silva punctured and was unable to rejoin the other medal contenders.
It was Zhang that got the verdict from Qian as the ensuing charge for the line took place 1.45 after Meifang had finished. Amazingly Weiping Wang took fourth place for the Chinese nation.
Men, 151.2 km 1 Fischer Murilo (Bra) 3.42.43 (40.75 km/h) 2 Stevic Ivan (Yug) 0.01 3 Mccann David (Irl) 0.02 4 Dimitrov Gospodinov Dimitar (Bul) 0.05 5 Husar Radovan (Svk) 0.42 6 Lagutin Sergey (Uzb) 7 Okazaki Kazuya (Jpn) 8 Sabalin Alexandru (Mda) 9 Tashiro Yasutaka (Jpn) 1.08 10 Riska Martin (Svk) 1.28 11 Wong Kam-Po (HKg) 1.55 12 Saeidi Tanha Abbass (Irn) 13 Valach Jan (Svk) 14 Kenneally Brian (Irl) 15 Gutalov Evgheni (Mda) 16 Suzuki Shinri (Jpn) 2.18 17 Jurco Matej (Svk) 4.15 18 Dionne Charles (Can) 4.41 19 Arriagada Marcelo (Chi) 20 Zargari Amir (Irn) 21 May Marcio (Bra) 22 Korkotyan Tigran (Arm) 23 Hoffmann Erik (Nam) 24 Luo Jianshi (Chn) 25 O'loughlin David (Irl) 26 Askari Hossein (Irn) 27 Heymans Mannie (Nam) 28 Guozhang Wang (Chn) 6.35 29 Fukushima Shinichi (Jpn) 30 Hirose Satoshi (Jpn) 31 Morandi Mauricio (Bra) 8.13 32 Levdanski Alexei (Blr) 10.55 33 Khalmuratov Muradjan (Uzb) 10.57 34 Mahawong Prajak (Tha) 35 Thiam Malik (Sen) 11.12 36 Gerganov Evgeni (Bul) 11.34 37 Brkovic Mico (Yug) 13.09 38 Merabet Cherif (Alg) 39 Jovanovic Nebojsa (Yug) 40 Creciun Dumitru (Mda) 41 Matveev Alexandr (Mda) 42 Hedges Christopher (Ber) 43 Salah Redouane (Alg) 44 Chaburka Anatoli (Blr) 45 Ulzii-Orshikh Jamsran (Mgl) 46 Hassan Suhardi (Mas) 47 Kano Tomoya (Jpn) 13.21 48 Wong Ngai Ching (HKg) 21.31 49 Hutarovich Yauheni (Blr) 22.32 50 Andjechairi Karim (Alg) 51 Barei Vjacheslav (Blr) 26.32 52 Trinh Phat Dat (Vie) 53 Mutlu Mert (Tur) 29.57 54 Easton Denis (Irl) 33.50 55 Moriarty Eugene (Irl) Women, 100.8 km 1 Meifang Li (Chn) 2.54.08 (34.63 km/h) 2 Zhang Junying (Chn) 1.45 3 Qian Yunjuan (Chn) 4 Wang Weiping (Chn) 5 Guerrero Mendez Belem (Mex) 6 Emery Dianne (RSA) 7 Choi Hye Kyeong (Kor) 1.47 8 Molina De Ortiz Maria Dolores (Gua) 9 Garcia Evelyn (ESa) 10 Gao Min (Chn) 1.56 11 Schober Bernadette (Aut) 2.01 12 Silva Clemilda Fernandes (Bra) 2.23 13 Kirch Rosane (Bra) 14 Jiang Yanxia (Chn) 4.57 15 Krebs Brigitte (Aut) 16 Meier Maaris (Est) 17 Wynter Iona (Jam) 18 Swift Colette (Irl) 19 Claude Mélanie (Ber) 20 Hawley Julia (Ber) 21 Hoang Thithanh Tan (Vie) 22 Rosado Marie (PRc) 5.01 23 Pintarelli Daniela (Aut) 5.07 24 Mccluskey Beth (Irl) 5.55 25 Pekerman Nina (Isr) 8.30 26 Santia Tri Kusuma (Ina) 10.17 27 Uyun Muzizah (Ina) 28 Palencia Aleman Patricia (Mex) 12.22 29 Booth Debbie (Irl) 30 Pieringer Angelika (Aut) 12.30 31 Vu Hong Thuy (Vie) 12.40 32 Quan Ngocthisu Khanh (Vie) 13.48 33 Bothwell Karen (Irl) 34 Castaneda Gabriela (Gua) 14.03 35 Reilly Marie (Irl) 15.53 36 Park Ha Jung (Kor) 17.04 37 Jimena Arce Vargas (CRc) 17.19 38 Castro Gomez Laura Juliana (Col) 20.50