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2002 Road World Championships - CM

Hasselt-Zolder, Belgium, October 8-13, 2002

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Day 1 - October 8: U23 (Espoir) Men Time trial, 33.7km

Complete Live Report

Start: 14h00
Last arrival expected at: 16h19
Interval between the bike riders: 1min 30

14:00 CEST    
Welcome to the second event of the 2002 World Road Championships, the U23 men's 33km time trial. The first rider off will be Viktor Shestakov (Kazakstan), while Sebastien Rosseler (Belgium) will wrap things up.

All of the TT courses follow more or less direct routes between the same two points, with the start in the town square at Hasselt, and the finish on the former Grand Prix motor racing circuit at Zolder.

The weather has cleared up a little and the morning mist has burned off. The sun is out and the temperature is up to 13-14 degrees. Riders will have a tail-cross wind all the way.

14:15 CEST    
The first riders have begun their efforts. The first time check comes at the 17km mark, the second at 20km. Starting now is Norway's Christopher D. Myhre, the seventh rider to start.

14:20 CEST    
Jean-Francois Laroche of Canada is on the road, followed by New Zealand's Heath Blackgrove. Conditions on the road are looking good.

14:22 CEST    
Nine riders in this time trial competed in last year's World's, but in the junior category. Israel's Fein Oded has left the start house, followed by 21 year old Kimmo Kananen of Finland, who is just now beginning his effort. The starting styles among the U23 men vary quite a bit. Some smooth and in the saddle from the start, others looking more like sprinters in getting their bikes up to speed.

14:25 CEST    
Dermot Nally, the first Irishman has left the gate. His compatriot Mark Scanlon, former junior world road champion, starts his TT at 14:52. Three riders later, Mark Fitzgerald represents the first American to go.

Meanwhile, the first rider to start, Viktor Shestakov, has crossed the first time check at 21:59.08.

14:35 CEST    
Ioannis Tamouridis from Greece has just started his ride. More riders are crossing the first time check, and Andres Rodriguez (Colombia) has passed with the best time ahead of Shestakov and Muradjan Khalmuratov (Uzb).

14:37 CEST    
Jean-François Laroche of Canada has passed through the first time check in 21:47, 7" ahead of the Colombian Rodriguez. Next to start is Brian Vandborg of Denmark.

14:42 CEST    
Just after Laroche set the best split time, Jure Zrimsek (Slo) came through a second and a half faster. Next to begin is Jeremy Yates of New Zealand. Laroche has just passed through the second time check at 20km, with the best time at that marker.

14:46 CEST    
Viktor Shestakov, first rider off, has come in to the finish with a time of 42:06.56.

14:52 CEST    
Mark Scanlon (Ireland) has left the start house. At the first time check it's Spaniard Alberto Contador Velasco with the best time, ahead of Jure Zrimsek. just took the best time at the finish, less than a second ahead of Viktor Shestakov. Rodriguez is in third, 4" back.

14:55 CEST    
Michael Creed of the U.S. is reportedly riding a single speed time trial bike. Mark Scanlon, on the road ahead of Creed, has signed with the French Ag2R squad, where he has been riding as a stagiaire. Commentator's note: the guys from Ireland are sporting some pretty cool skinsuits.

15:00 CEST    
Two riders have come in with good times. First it was New Zealand's Blackgrove setting the best finishing time with 42:00.37. Moments later, this time was smashed by Jure Zrimsek, who's setting the time to beat with 40:54.90.

15:02 CEST    
Poland's Piotr Mazur has left the start house, sporting arm warmers and leg warmers. A bit more bundled up than the rest. Mazur has done some racing in the U.S., including some time in the colors of the Kissena cycling club in New York City.

Ireland's Dermot Nally has crossed the finish line in 41:50, good enough for second place but a fair distance back from current leader Jure Zrimsek.

15:07 CEST    
With an advantage of 2", Spain's Alberto Contador Velasco has set the best time. The new marker is 40:52.82. Volodymyr Starchyk has just started for the Ukraine. There are 13 riders left to start.

Another Spaniard, Francisco Gutierrez, has set a new best intermediate time (17km), fractions of a second better than his teammate Contador.

Mark Fitzgerald (USA) is in for third place so far, with a time os 41:45.

15:15 CEST    
The riders starting now are those who competed last year, and/or those who are considered the favorites. Michael Creed (USA) is passing through the first intermediate check in 6th place, 44" behind the leader. Marcus Fothen has just begun his ride for Germany, seven riders to go.

Mark Scanlon is in 2nd place at the first intermediate check.

15:16 CEST    
Alexandr Bespalov (Russia) has begun his ride with a fast start. Bespalov claimed the silver medal in the European championships, and could be a favorite for today's time trial. Following Bespalov out of the start house is Aussie Rory Sutherland.

15:17 CEST    
Christopher Kern, silver medal in the French time trial championships, has started his ride. Kern rides for the Vendee-U club in France, and is France's main contender for today's event.

15:22 CEST    
Niels Scheuneman of the Netherlands has left the gate. Third in last year's junior World's time trial, and second in the road race, Scheuneman is one to watch. No changes lately in the top performers, and it's still Alberto Contador Velasco with the winning time.

15:24 CEST    
Now there's a change. Spain's Francisco Gutierrez has taken the best time ahead of his teammate Contador Velasco, by a small margin. Sébastien Rosseler is the final rider to start, and the Belgian is a heavy favorite after his second place in the U23 Grand Prix des Nations time trial last month.

15:28 CEST    
Another new best time, this time it's Alexandr Arekeev of Russia, some 20" faster than Gutierrez.

15:35 CEST    
Mark Scanlon has just come across the line in 40:44.77, good enough for third place for the moment. Arekeev's leading time is in excess of 49km/h.

Arekeev's Russian teammate Bespalov has passed through the first time check in 20:29, the fastest intermediate check (21" ahead of Arekeev's time).

15:40 CEST    
Piotr Mazur (Poland) has come across the line in 4th place in a time of 40:48. So far it's looking like a day for the Russians, with Arekeev holding the fastest time at the finish, and Bespalov tearing it up out on the course.

Take note: Tomas Vaitkus has pushed Bespalov's intermediate time into second place, crossing the first check in 20:13.10. Vaitkus was the winner of last month's U23 GP des Nations, and is looking today to have kept his good form.

Gregor Gazvoda (Slovenia) has crossed the finish line in second place.

15:44 CEST    
Vaitkus is looking very smooth out on the course after setting the best time at the 17km mark. All of the riders have passed through the first check. Following Vaitkus at the first check are Bespalov and Arekeev.

15:49 CEST    
Belgium's Kevin De Weert has crossed the line in 40:56, only 11th place with ten riders left to finish. Behind, Vaitkus has picked up a few seconds between the first and second time checks, which are only 3km apart.

15:52 CEST    
BBenoït Vaugrenard of France has finished in 6th place, pushing Poland's Mazur into 7th.

Moments later, Portugal's Sergio Paulinho has set a new best time at 40:09.77. His average speed was roughly 49.6km/h. Behind Paulinho are Marcus Fothen (Germany) and Arekeev. Fothen just crossed the line. Here comes Bespalov!

15:53 CEST    
Bespalov has kept up his effort and claimed the best time at 39:22.50. This time might stick until Vaitkus comes in. The Lithuanian Vaitkus has about 5km left to ride, and has been picking up time all along the course.

15:59 CEST    
Christophe Kern has come across in 40:31, a provisional 6th place for France. Four riders have yet to finish. Vaitkus is about to catch Jonas Olsson of Sweden. He's done it and immediately gets out of the saddle to keep it going.

Holland's Scheuneman just finished with a time of 40:29.90, 5th place... until further notice.

16:03 CEST    
Tomas Vaitkus has done the deed, so it seems, finishing in 38:40.80 to become World Champion. In second is Bespalov (39:22.50), third place is Sergio Paulinho of Portugal. The last person to challenge for silver or bronze is Sébastien Rosseler of Belgium, who has yet to finish.

Rosseler only managed 7th place at the line, so the podium looks like this:

1. Tomas Vaitkus (Lithuania)
2. Alexandr Bespalov (Russia)
3. Sergio Paulinho (Portugal)

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