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World Championships - CM

Stuttgart, Germany, September 26-30, 2007

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Race 6 - September 30: Elite men's road race - 14 laps, 267.4km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Hedwig Kröner and Bjorn Haake

Live coverage starts: 10:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:30 CEST

Welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the 2007 World Championship Road Race from Stuttgart. 267.4 kilometres over 14 laps on a tough course. Today we will have SRM data from the following data Christian Knees (German National Team), Marcus Burghardt (German National Team), Roger Hammond (British National Team), Christian Poos (Luxembourg National Team), Christian Vande Velde (USA National Team)

'Grüß Gott' and a hearty welcome back to the World Championships in Stuttgart, Southern Germany. We are coming to the end of a roller-coaster-like week here in the metropole of Daimler-Benz, with the Men's Elite Road Race taking place today on a course of which could be said the same... 14 laps are going to be raced for a total of 267,4 km, and in about seven hours we'll know if next year's rainbow jersey will still be on the shoulders of that famous little Italian or not.

Speaking of the World Champion: The latest news coming out of the Squadra Azzurra camp unfortunately hasn't got anything to do with sports. Paolo Bettini's lawyer here in Stuttgart has announced he will be filing suit against the Worlds organisation committee, the town of Stuttgart and TV channel ZDF for damaging his reputation. ZDF claims to be in possession of hearing transcripts of Patrik Sinkewitz, in which the German named Bettini as one of his providers of testogel, the testosterone product which caused 'Sinke' a positive doping test in June. Meanwhile, Bettini's former team-mate has of course denied these statements.

Also, the town of Stuttgart and the Worlds organisation didn't want Bettini to take part in today's race because he had not signed the entire UCI 'commitment for a cleaner cycling'. They tried to prevent him from racing in front of a court but failed on Friday. All of these events did not add to a calm warm-up to today's event, of course, and the general feeling here in Stuttgart is not a very pleasant one.

Still, let's focus on this particularly important competition that is the Worlds RR - in the end, that is what we're here for. The peloton of 198 riders has gathered in the start area. It's quite a cool morning - only 7° Celsius. But the sky is gorgeous! The sun is finally out on Stuttgart!

10:37 CEST   
The bunch is nicely strolling out on the 19.1km circuit which provides two main uphill sections. But as always, the U23 race yesterday has shown that the parcours is not as demanding as many observers said prior to the event. We might see the sprint of quite a big group in the end...

Paolo Bettini himself is mostly afraid of Oscar Freire. This morning, the Spaniard and triple World Champ was asked what he thought his chances were, and he just smiled, saying: "I am not a bad rider."

10:39 CEST   
Germany's Christian Knees' heart rate is around 112 right now. That's pretty easy... but we guarantee it won't stay this way. Check out the live SRM data link on the bottom of this page!

10:46 CEST   
And we have a first attack by a Croatian rider. Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia) jumped away and is now joined by Roman Bronis (Slovakia). The two have a 400m gap.

10:49 CEST   
Hmm. The bunch is speeding up now. Only 15 seconds for our two-men break at the moment.

10:52 CEST   
A group of 15 has started chasing just in front of the bunch, but they've been re-integrated. Sergey Kolesnikov (Russian Federation) has joined the break now.

10:54 CEST   
A few other riders are starting to come out of the bunch, Tyler Farrar (United States Of America) for example. He lives in Gent in Belgium and is going to join Team Slipstream next season.

10:56 CEST   
Farrar has four other riders with him. amongst others a Russian and a Japanese. They have a small gap.

10:58 CEST   
There's Yukiya Arashiro (Japan), Vladislav Borisov (Russian Federation), Zolt Der (Serbia), Daryl Impey (South Africa)... but they're caught now.

10:58 CEST   
There's Yukiya Arashiro (Japan), Vladislav Borisov (Russian Federation), Zolt Der (Serbia), Daryl Impey (South Africa)... but they're caught now.

10:59 CEST    20km/247.4km to go
The first lap is done. 40,638 km/h - that's still a decent average. Waiting for the next attack...

11:05 CEST   
We have a new break attempt: It's Sébastien Augé and Perez Arango from Colombia. They have 10 seconds in the first of the two climbs of the circuit.

11:07 CEST   
But the gap is growing to 30 seconds. The Colombian is working now, while the bunch looks like it's giving the OK to let them ride.

Stéphane Augé (France)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

11:08 CEST   
Philippe Gilbert is at the back of the bunch waving for his team car. His mechanic is fixing something with his rear derailleur.

11:12 CEST   
Augé has thrown away his arm covers. It should be warming up now with about 20° Celsius expected in the afternoon. Their advance is over a minute now, 1'08".

11:17 CEST   
The bunch is going easy now, with the gap to the break still growing. In the uphill sections, a nice crowd has gathered in the morning sunshine.

TT silver medaler Laszlo Bodrogi is riding near the front, together with an Italian and German, who is munching an energy bar. Tranquilo!

11:21 CEST    35km/232.4km to go
Augé takes out the radio set of his back pocket and fixes something. Wrong frequency?

11:24 CEST   
Christian Vande Velde, and all of team USA, was happy to be at the race here in Stuttgart with a team that has the potential to win. The American commented to Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown about the team's leader. "Really I am just looking out for George [Hincapie] at the end of the race. My job will be to be a wildcard. But I will mostly look after George. I don't want to go into the escapes; I feel a little rough after the Vuelta [a España].

"I am really happy with the Vuelta, but now I feel I am going into the unknown. I maybe did not do enough training, and I feel a little blocked... But we will see."

In addition to to Tyler Farrar, the team will use recent Vuelta stage winner in the escapes. "For escapes I think we will have Jason [McCartney]. And Bobby [Julich]. We have a great team and hopefully we can build on this, and do more stuff in the future."

Vande Velde confirmed that David Zabriskie's was more on the time trial of last Thursday. "Dave hasn't ridden his bike that much, he has trained hard for the time trial but the road race is a different animal all together."

Jason McCartney added that he will need some time to get his legs up to full revs. "I don't know, I need a while to get my engine warmed up; we will have to see what happens," said the American. He reckoned the race will be harder to read because it is a one day versus a three-week affair. "It is touch and go, you never know how you are going to go in a one day event, whereas in a stage race you really get a feel of your body.

"We have a super motivated team, I think that is exciting and it is kind of a first for us for a while," he confirmed the team's backing of Hincapie. "It has been nice together [with team USA]. We have been going out to dinner together as a group. It is a good time."

He is closer to signing a contract for 2008. "I think I have something in the works. Yes, a ProTour team. Yes, in Europe. That is all I can say."

11:25 CEST   
The break's advantage has stabilised around 1'20".

The World Champ Bettini also has a problem with his radio. He is at his team's service car now, but getting back on to the bunch. No worries.

11:29 CEST    38km/229.4km to go
Augé and Perez Arango pass through the start/finish area again with an average of 39.953 km/h for this second lap.

Fränk Schleck, in the middle of the bunch, is taking something to eat.

11:36 CEST   
Marcin Sapa (Poland) has jumped away in pursuit of our two-men lead group. He has ten seconds.

11:37 CEST   
Our SRM-wired rider, Knees came through in third position of the field, entering lap three. Riding this far up front shows the effort and his heart rate has risen to 155.


  • Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Colombia) and Stéphane Augé (France)
  • Marcin Sapa (Poland) and Dainius Kairelis (Lithuania) at 1.36
  • Peloton at 1.40

11:38 CEST   
Sapa has been joined by Dainius Kairelis (Lithuania) in the chase, but they can't get a significant advantage at the moment.

11:41 CEST   
The bunch is stretched out single-lane, taking up a bit of speed. Sergey Kolesnikov (Russian Federation) has emerged out of it and is trying to get to the chase group.

11:44 CEST   
The leader's advance is shrinking to 50 seconds as the race picks up some speed. Spain's Alejandro Valverde is still taking it easy at the back of the peloton - certainly waiting for the last laps to make his move.

11:47 CEST   
Kolesnikov is doing a good job chasing, but he's sandwiched in between the bunch and the leaders and has only 25 seconds over the bunch - 35 yet to recover to the break.

11:50 CEST   
The field is currently riding at around 45 km/h, according to the live SRM data stream you can check out at the bottom of this page. More and more spectators are lining up at the barriers along the course.

11:52 CEST   
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) was going into this road race a little bit more relaxed thanks to his win in the Time Trial on Thursday. He confirmed to Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews that he will be biding his time in the peloton, making over the multiple assents of Herdweg and Birkenkopf. "It is a long hard race. I want to wait; it is more than 5000 metres of climbing.

"I feel good, and I think being the second time world champion will give me a lot of motivation. It makes me more relaxed, but we will have to see at the end how much power is left. For sure, I want to do a good race, but it is long, we will see."

How many glasses of Champagne did you enjoy the other night? "A few! A few!"

11:53 CEST   
Kolesnikov almost made it to the break, only 15 seconds remaining. Russia has many young riders, eight of whom are born in the 1980s, with Kolesnikov (normally with Unibet.com) being the youngest. Vladimir Gusev confirmed to our man on the start line, Gregor Brown, the team's desire to make the race.

"Russia is going well with young riders and very strong riders," he said. "Today, we will see how the team goes. We are not favourites, but I think we have a strong team, and in the final, we will attack."

Mikhail Ignatiev is going so strong, and he is still under 23. "Yes. You know that continental races and ProTour races can be different, and I don't know how he is going in the ProTour races. For now, he is going well."

The Russian is looking for a team for next year with Team Discovery Channel closing its doors. "I have not yet signed a contract for 2008. I will race with a ProTour team, but I can't say which, it is a secret."

11:58 CEST    57.4km/210km to go
The Russian has joined the two leaders now as they go for the fourth lap.

11:59 CEST   
Kolesnikov punctured his front wheel! What bad timing. He's chasing up again, now, but the two others seem to wait for him.

12:02 CEST   
The bunch rolls over the finish line with Bettini in front, smiling, at 3'25" behind the leaders.

Defending world champion
Photo ©: Andrea Hübner
(Click for larger image)

12:05 CEST   
The three in front are working well together as they go up a climb. No doubt they are also enjoying the beautiful sunshine.

12:06 CEST   
The peloton goes around a hair-pin curve, 3'26" after the leading trio.

12:07 CEST   
Jens Voigt is near the front of the chasing peloton. So is Oscar Freire.


  • Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Colombia), Sergey Kolesnikov (Russia) and Stéphane Augé (France)
  • Peloton at 3.25

12:10 CEST   
Race organizers are spraying over some message that was sprayed on the street -- it must have been something they found objectionable. So maybe it is a good thing that we couldn't read it.

12:11 CEST   
A flat front tire for Kolesnikov -- again? Or, no, more likely a replacement. The first "spare" was from the neutral supply car, now he has one from his team.

Sergey Kolesnikov (Russia)
Photo ©: JF Quenet
(Click for larger image)

12:12 CEST   
Meanwhile the other two are continuing on their way as he tries to catch up. He's not that far back but it must seem like an eternity to him until he gets there.

12:13 CEST   
His task is not made easier by the fact that they are climbing now and all three are up out of the saddle. But he has only a few more metres to go.

12:18 CEST   
We see Fabian Wegmann sitting in the peloton. He is German champion and would dearly love to add the rainbow stripes to his title collection. But his team-mate -- both on the national team and on Gerolsteiner -- Stefan Schumacher is the team captain here.

12:20 CEST   
Who is going to win? "I don't know, we will find out in about four hours," said Cadel Evans (Aus) to Gregor Brown about his recovery from the three-week Vuelta a España, where he finished fourth. "I am glad it is sunny." He spent the last week in Switzerland training. "It was absolutely piss rain all last week."

12:21 CEST   
"I saw the crono the other day on TV, and [the weather] was not looking promising," Evans continued. "Today, it is definitely looking better. We have a really young team this year. We have our two guys to look after. For the young guys it is a bit of a learning experience. It will be their job to look after me. Depending on which way the race goes, I could become the race leader, which is more or less our plan every year."

Cadel Evans (Australia)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

12:24 CEST   
Evans also had some thoughts as to the end of the race. The Under 23 race ended in a sprint, and there is some speculation the same could happen for the elite men's race. "I thought the race would be more selective, but after seeing the under 23 I thought that maybe it will be a sprint of 20 or 30. It really depends what the race takes in the first 100 kilometres."

12:27 CEST   
Perhaps that was Menchov talking with one of his Rabobank colleague?

12:29 CEST    76.4km/191km to go
The leading trio has finished the fourth lap. It took 31'09" with an average speed of 36.7. Ten more to go!

12:29 CEST   
Kolesnikov pulls away, but only to make a box stop. He gets yet another new front wheel.

12:31 CEST   
The repairs didn't cost him any time, since he is already back with his escape companions. But how much extra power does he have to put it every time he has to catch up with them? At some point it might tell on him.

12:32 CEST   
The peloton is only now passing under the 1 km to go mark.

12:34 CEST   
The escapees advantage has grown dramatically. It is now 5'13. Is the peloton taking an after-lunch nap?

12:35 CEST   
Belgian coach Carlo Bomans was realistic before the start and while he would certainly love to have another rainbow jersey for the team, after Tom Boonen won in 2005, he declared before the race that "I would be happy with a top ten."

Boonen, of course, is not riding today because of an injury.

Tom Boonen (Belgium)
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

12:37 CEST   
Alejandro Valverde is calm going into the race today, noting "We have a good atmosphere and a good spirit in the Spanish team."

12:40 CEST   
Christian Knees is still very much in the front, in the top 20. His heart rate is around 160, while his cadence is about 90 revs per minute.

12:43 CEST   
The Italian team has put on the pressure a bit now. Andrea Tonti (Italy) has jumped away on the climb with Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), but they dragged a few other riders with them on that move, amongst others Marcus Burghardt (Germany).

12:49 CEST   
The bunch is moving up on the chase group on the second, longer climb of the circuit, the Birkenkopf. They're caught again.

At the back of the peloton, the first riders get dropped as the repetition of climbs causes some damage.

12:51 CEST   
By the way, today is Dimitri Grabovskyy's 22nd birthday. He'll certainly be looking for that very special birthday present!!

12:55 CEST    90km/177.4km to go
In the downhill section, the bunch has split in two groups: some 40 riders have about 30 seconds on the big bunch. They are led by two Italians.

12:58 CEST   
All the big nations have riders in this chase group, which seems to count about 45 men. The big bunch behind is sitting up - they have already 2 minutes advantage!

13:00 CEST   
We see Thor Hushovd, Sylvain Chavanel, Hincapie, Sastre, Voigt... Some big names. Maybe the three leaders will sit up and wait for them?

13:03 CEST    95km/172.4km to go
They cross the start/finish line. There is also Juan Antonio Flecha, Grivko, Ardila, Siutsou, Devolder, Tankink, Bodrogi, Mandri, Usov, Cunego, Barredo, Rodriguez, Aerts, Gerrans... Hard to identify them all. Give us a minute.

13:04 CEST   
The Dutch men are leading the peloton. They probably missed that train with Boogerd still behind.

13:06 CEST   
Bettini and Schumacher are also back in the bunch. This may not be the Italian team's final word.

The break has been swallowed by the big group.

13:11 CEST   
Jeremy Vennell of New Zealand has made the front group as well, as well as Stéphane Goubert.

Roger Hammond is lending a hand in the front of the peloton, together with Erik Zabel. An Iranian rider is getting dropped in the Herdweg climb.


  • 1st peloton with about 50 riders, including Marlon Alirio Perez Arango (Colombia), Sergey Kolesnikov (Russia), Stéphane Augé (France), Hincapie, Hushovd, Sastre, Cunego, Juan Antonio Flecha, Grivko, Ardila, Siutsou, Devolder, Tankink, Bodrogi, Mandri, Usov, Cunego, Barredo, Rodriguez, Aerts, Gerrans.
  • 2nd peloton at 3.25

13:13 CEST   
Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine) has attacked out of the front group. Voigt leads the chase now, but they look at each other. A lot of talking to do about team tactics now...

13:17 CEST   
The Oranje squad is leading the chase of the peloton. They're not happy with the situation - they are 2'40" back, while the chase group is driven by Mauricio Ardila. The lone leader Podgornyy has only 13 seconds...

13:18 CEST   
Ronny Scholz of Gerolsteiner is also in the lead group. One of his bikes appeared in the U23 race yesterday, as Team Canada's bikes were stolen shortly after arrival in Stuttgart, and Team Gerolsteiner promptly and kindly supplied them with bikes. Christian Meier yesterday was riding on Scholz' reserve bike.

Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner)
Photo ©: Elmar Krings
(Click for larger image)

13:22 CEST   
Podgornyy is powering, aero-style. He has his forearms on the handlebars, while Voigt tries to raise the others' motivation to chase. Goubert said 'no'...

13:28 CEST   
The Ukrainian is still away, but the Italian riders are chasing him a bit now. The big peloton's speed is tougher, though, as six Orange-clad riders are putting the hammer down now.

13:39 CEST   
We finally have a complete list of the chase group for you: Marzio Bruseghin (Italy), Matteo Tosatto (Italy), Alessandro Bertolini (Italy), Damiano Cunego (Italy), Robert Gesink (Netherlands), Kristjan Fajt (Slovenia), Ronny Scholz (Germany), Jens Voigt (Germany), Christian Knees (Germany), Bobby Julich (United States Of America), George Hincapie (United States Of America), Martin Mares (Czech Republic), Andriy Grivko (Ukraine), Leonardo Duque (Colombia), Bram Tankink (Netherlands), Laszlo Bodrogi (Hungary), Rene Mandri (Estonia),
Hugo Sabido (Portugal), Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Belarus), Mario Aerts (Belgium), Stijn Devolder (Belgium), Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium), Murilo Antonio Fischer (Brazil), Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Colombia), Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Colombia), Radoslav Rogina (Croatia), Sylvain Chavanel (France), Ludovic Turpin (France), Stéphane Goubert (France), Thor Hushovd (Norway), Gorazd Stangelj (Slovenia), Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spain), Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain), Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spain), Carlos Sastre Candil (Spain), Vladislav Borisov (Russian Federation), Unai Etxebarria Arana (Venezuela).

The Ukrainian has 25 seconds over the chasers at the moment, with the big bunch 1'30" behind, trying to pull things back together.

13:42 CEST   
With four Italians in the group, will the team direction change its tactics in favour of someone like Cunego, for example? And what will the Germans do as they have three men in it? But at the moment, it looks like they're not very committed to the chase...

13:47 CEST    125km/142.4km to go
The French and the Spaniards should join forces in our opinion as they could make a difference with the riders present in this group: Sylvain Chavanel, Ludovic Turpin and Stéphane Goubert are there, along with Carlos Barredo Llamazales, Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver, Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni and Carlos Sastre Candil...

13:49 CEST   
"We are a small team in a big, big race," said Hayden Roulston to Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews this morning at the start. The New Zealander is part of a three-man team here at the Worlds. "It has its negatives and post. We can do what we want. Follow, if we are there, we are there."

He was happy with the spirit and the weather at the Worlds. "It is a really big buzz here at the worlds. [The weather] is really nice; we are lucky. Touch wood, we are lucky."

He has not made the current escape group, and is planning to bide his time in the gruppo until the final hour. "I don't think the race will start until the last hour. In the last hour it will be really on. My goal is to make it until the last hour, and then we will see." The chances of a sprint are slim according to Roulston. "No, it won't end in a sprint. A small group, but not a sprint like the U23 race."

13:52 CEST   
Julich is taking a turn in the front now, with his CSC team-mate and best friend Jens Voigt sucking up a bit of extra energy out of a gel bag.

13:55 CEST   
The peloton has come to within 25 seconds of the 50-rider group. Ruslan Podgornyy is still 25 seconds ahead of the chasers.

13:56 CEST   
One of the Dutch riders still has a vest on. It doesn't strike us as too cold, but everyone is different...

13:58 CEST   
Argentinean Martin Garrido Mayorga has had a little crash and is now trying to straighten his handle bar. Argentina is riding without Davide Rebellin, whose attempts to become Argentinean and ride the Worlds have not worked out. He is still Italian and part of the team now.

13:59 CEST    133.7km/133.7km to go
Ruslan Podgornyy comes through the start finish area with a lap time of 29'17"

14:03 CEST   
The bunch is about one minute behind. They take it easy through the feed zone, but Tosatto jumps right after that. Knees is attentive, though.

14:05 CEST   
Podgornyy is flying down the descent. Almost a little too fast as he has some trouble in a right hand bend and gets dragged out all the way to the left hand side of the road. But avoids using the side walk and continues.

14:05 CEST   
The peloton can see the Ukrainian now, maybe another half minute of an advantage.

14:07 CEST    136km/131.4km to go
And that is it for Podgornyy as the Italian-led peloton passes him.

14:10 CEST   
And it is Italy again. They are riding aggressively. Bertolini this time, who is off the front.

14:13 CEST   
There is another split, about 30 riders are off the front. They have caught up with Bertolini. Voigt is looking around for some help, but not everyone is interested. Devolder, Gilbert and Julich are in the group, as is Burghardt.

14:16 CEST   
Andriy Grivko is making his way to the front group as well. He is by himself and can't draft. That's tough.

14:18 CEST   
Samuel Sanchez is not wearing his usual orange Euskaltel outfit, but the white of the Spanish team. Julich is leading the front pack right now, as Grivko is still chasing. 30 more metres!

14:23 CEST   
The front group is getting organized and have extended the lead to 1'30" now. Among the riders are Australian Simon Gerrans and Kiwi Jeremy Vennell

14:30 CEST    152.8km/114.6km to go
With a lap time of 29'18" the front group finishes round eight. Van Summeren, Sandy Casar, Philippe Gilbert, Bobby Julich, Simon Gerrans, Jens Voigt, Marcus Burghardt and Juan Antonio Flecha are some of the riders in front.

14:32 CEST   
The main bunch follows 1'45" later. Rabobank is still leading the chase as they only have Karsten Kroon in front. Not enough against the Italians, who have three riders in front.

14:36 CEST   
Wegmann and Schumacher are on the right hand side of the road, near the front. They are shadowing the Dutch team closely. Andy Schleck is also near the front.

14:39 CEST   
The front group is still not too organized, as some are more interested in getting a rotation than others. But the lead has stayed the same, it is 1'47"

14:45 CEST   
Spanish rider Carlos Sastre was in the break earlier and comes to the Worlds with high morale, having finished second overall in the Vuelta a España seven days ago. He hadn’t quite made up his mind about the circuit this morning.

"I saw the course a couple of days ago, but I am not really sure what it is like…we saw it with a lot of people and there was traffic also,” he told Cyclingnews just before the start. "I did just a few laps. It looks like it is not easy, but it also depends on how the wind is and everything."

We asked him if he felt good after the Vuelta. "I hope so," he replied, smiling.

14:54 CEST   
Here is a list of all the riders in the front group: Andriy Grivko (Ukraine), Bobby Julich (United States Of America), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway), Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), Jens Voigt (Germany), Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spain)
Rene Mandri (Estonia, , Stijn Devolder (Belgium), Matej Stare (Slovenia), Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spain), Alessandro Ballan (Italy), Vladimir Efimkin (Russian Federation)
Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain, , Damiano Cunego (Italy), Robert Gesink (Netherlands), Alessandro Bertolini (Italy), Karsten Kroon (Netherlands), Marcus Burghardt (Germany)
Johan Van Summeren (Belgium, , Simon Gerrans (Australia), Sandy Casar (France), Christian Pfannberger (Austria), Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)
Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Colombia)

14:56 CEST   
The front of the bunch is still orange, but less so, as the six riders from the Dutch team have morphed into only two, with the others saving their energy. But the Dutch don't seem to have too much confidence in Kroon and Gesink, who are in the front.

14:58 CEST    171.9km/95.5km to go
The last lap was ridden in just under 30 minutes, as the leaders tackle the next round.

15:01 CEST   
After 4h27'30" the peloton is back over two minutes. Schumacher is still attentive at the front. He is one of the main favourites today. Rebellin also looks concentrated, but he will likely be looking to set up Bettini, unless he can make a good break of course.

15:02 CEST   
The average speed so far is 38.557km/h. Not bad for such a hilly course, but the pace will likely pick up later, when about 170 riders want to try to cross the line in first.

15:04 CEST   
And up the Herdweg again, with pitches up to 13 percent. The break is single file going into the hill.

15:06 CEST   
Julich is always in the front of the group. So is Bertolini. The Italians also have Ballan and Cunego in the group. Not a bad setup for them.


  • Andriy Grivko (Ukraine), Bobby Julich (United States Of America), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway), Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), Jens Voigt (Germany), Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spain), Rene Mandri (Estonia), Stijn Devolder (Belgium), Matej Stare (Slovenia), Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spain), Alessandro Ballan (Italy), Vladimir Efimkin (Russian Federation) Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain), Damiano Cunego (Italy), Robert Gesink (Netherlands), Alessandro Bertolini (Italy), Karsten Kroon (Netherlands), Marcus Burghardt (Germany) Johan Van Summeren (Belgium), Simon Gerrans (Australia), Sandy Casar (France), Christian Pfannberger (Austria), Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Colombia)
  • Peloton at 1.20

15:25 CEST    191km/76.4km to go
The fastest split so far. 27'30" as the chase was on and the average recorded at over 38 km/h.

15:32 CEST   
Devolder has set up and is back in the main group. Julich in the mean time is really forcing the pace.

15:33 CEST   
Bertolini has a few metres, as they go up the Herdweg climb, but the others are passing him close to the top. Kroon is one of them on the front. Barredo also is close.

15:35 CEST   
Ouch. Devolder is almost at a standstill now. He is getting dropped. Tyler Farrar rides next to him. Or stands next to him, as the steep climb takes its toll. In the mean time Bruseghin really stands on the mountain, but only to wait for a spare bike.

15:36 CEST   
Austrian Pfannberger is now pushing the pace. He is ahead a few metres, but on the flat section everything comes together again.

15:37 CEST   
Oscar Freire is attempting to win what would be a record fourth Elite worlds today. He triumphed in Verona (1999), Lisbon (2001), Verona once again (2004) and also took the bronze medal in Plouay in 2000.

If that wasn't enough, Freire was second in the 1997 world under 23 championship in San Sebastian. That's three golds, one silver and one bronze medal in his collection. Not bad at all for a rider who has missed several editions due to injury.


  • Andriy Grivko (Ukraine), Bobby Julich (United States Of America), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway), Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), Jens Voigt (Germany), Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spain), Rene Mandri (Estonia), Stijn Devolder (Belgium), Matej Stare (Slovenia), Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spain), Alessandro Ballan (Italy), Vladimir Efimkin (Russian Federation) Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain), Damiano Cunego (Italy), Robert Gesink (Netherlands), Alessandro Bertolini (Italy), Karsten Kroon (Netherlands), Marcus Burghardt (Germany) Johan Van Summeren (Belgium), Simon Gerrans (Australia), Sandy Casar (France), Christian Pfannberger (Austria), Ruslan Podgornyy (Ukraine), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Colombia)
  • Peloton at 0.39

15:42 CEST   
The front group is gobbled up, but the peloton is pretty small now, maybe 50-60 riders.

15:46 CEST   
In the madness of the merge, Kroon and Bertolini are still off the front. They are joined by the Portuguese rider José Rodrigues.

15:49 CEST   
Well, everything is back together, but Bertolini is still at the front. The Squadra Azzurra cannot ask more from this rider, he is doing an outstanding job.

15:50 CEST   
Jens Voigt is also still present, riding behind the French rider currently leading the bunch. Of course, out in the wind is Voigt's preferred position anyway. He tells people sometimes in breaks to "Look ahead, that's where there finish is. Don't turn around."

15:51 CEST   
The peloton passes a huge banner that supporters of Davide Rebellin have put up on the lawn.

15:53 CEST   
The group comes to the flamme rouge - but it's not the last lap yet, as shortly they will see the three to go sign.

15:55 CEST   
Ouch. 27'11" or an average speed of 42.158 km/h. That's the funny thing.. The more tired riders get the faster the pace gets. And the higher the lactate values.

15:57 CEST    211.4km/56km to go
The Italians are still on the front. They ride like their women's team did - very active and hoping to win it that way. Tosatto, Bertolini and Cunego in the front three positions, as a German rider waves to the crowd.


  • Peloton together

15:59 CEST   
But the Germans are now hitting the front, too. Voigt ahead, with Wegmann and Schumacher close by. Wegmann is the reigning German champion, but today he can't wear that jersey. Instead he is in the red/black German outfit.

16:04 CEST   
After a nervous minute, the riders are taking out the pace again, getting a drink. Now they're on the descent.

Frederik Willems (Belgium) and Maarten Den Bakker have abandoned the race.

16:06 CEST   
The Italians still control the bunch as the race builds up more tension. Four of them at the front, including Cunego and Pozzato. Who will be the next riders to take their chances?

Cancellara won the TT
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
(Click for larger image)

16:09 CEST   
It's Ballan! He jumps in another uphill stretch but can't make a proper gap. A French rider tries to get away, but he only has ten metres. It's Thomas Voeckler!

Cancellara has problems hanging on at the end of the bunch. Not his type of race, is it...

16:10 CEST   
Sorry, it's not Voeckler, but Ludovic Turpin. He's on his own now, but the bunch is flying close behind.

16:12 CEST   
Turpin is caught. They're rolling downhill again into Stuttgart-Feuerbach.

16:18 CEST   
In this race of attrition, the peloton has shrunk to about 60 riders. They are 3 kilometres away from the start/finish area.

A minute before the start,
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

16:22 CEST    229.4km/38km to go
The tempo is leg-breaking, and the hills do the rest. Once the race is finished, we'll know the winner was definitely the strongest guy in this event. Freire is still there, of course, as is Bettini, right next to him. Will it come down to a sprint? Young German Ciolek could be a dark horse here. His compatriot Zabel is still there, too.

Two laps to go!

16:26 CEST   
Now the Belgians drive the bunch towards the Herdweg climb. The Squadra Azzurra was dominating until now, but other countries will be on the attack now that the race is ON.

16:28 CEST   
Hushovd powers up the climb, followed by Wegmann, Gilbert, then Zabel, Bettini... other riders get dropped.

Matija Kvasina (Croatia) is off the front now, but he only has 15 metres.

16:30 CEST   
Germans Burghardt and Voigt were in trouble there, as Kvasina is caught again. Rebellin, Evans, Beltrán, Elmiger and Menchov are now trying to get away.

It's still all together, though.


  • Peloton together

16:33 CEST   
The pace is terrible - now it's a Dutch rider at the front, speeding down the descent. But we have another attacker: Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus). He has 20 metres as the others still have to decide who'll organise the chase.

16:34 CEST   
Siutsou pushes on, but is kept on the long leash. He won't stand a chance on his own, anyway.

16:37 CEST   
Rebellin leads the chase on the second, longer climb now. He gets an unintentional gap, it looks like. Russian Kolobnev joins him, and now he's gotta hang on.

16:39 CEST   
The bunch is stretched out in one single line as Sioutsou is caught. Rebellin and Kolobnev are out the front, with the peloton not far behind. They have about 13 seconds now.

16:42 CEST   
Now a crucial part of the race, as the peloton comes to halt, almost, as everyone looks at each other. An Aussie tries to go after the leaders. The gap is 18 seconds.

Davide Rebellin
Photo ©: Shane Stokes
(Click for larger image)

16:45 CEST    245.4km/22km to go
As the Italians control the bunch, the pace eases up. The gap to the two leaders is 35 seconds now.

The two have a difference of ten years of age: Rebellin is 36, and the Russian is 26. By the way.

16:46 CEST   
Aha - the Spaniards take over the chase now with three men for Alejandro Valverde. Well, Rebellin and Kolobnev are too good riders to let get away at this particular stage of the race!

16:47 CEST   
The gap is 24 seconds under the flamme rouge.

Sastre, Barredo and Beltrán are doing the job for their leader.

16:48 CEST   
And it's time for the bell!! Last lap of this year's World Championships!

Valverde himself does a turn in the chase. Could all still be a bunch sprint next time they come to the finish...

16:50 CEST   
This was yet the fastest lap we believe: 26'47" with an average of 42.8km/h.

16:52 CEST   
Rebellin and Kolobnev give it everything as they approach the first climb. But will it be enough? The bunch is reeling them in now.

16:54 CEST   
Kolobnev looks back. Wegmann is the first rider to catch them. Freire, Bettini, Schumacher, Gilbert... they're all there.

16:56 CEST   
Wegmann pushes on with Boogerd on his wheel. The best riders are emerging now, about 12.

16:58 CEST   
Schumacher, Evans, Sanchez is there... Sanchez attacks! But they all hang on.

17:01 CEST   
Bettini of course didn't miss that train, and has Pozzato and Rebellin with him. There is Dekker and Kroon, too, for Boogerd, and Wegmann for Schumacher. Fränk Schleck is also there.

Valverde was left behind, so he's chasing now with a teammate.

17:03 CEST   
Now Bettini attacks! Schleck and Wegmann try to follow. The three have 20 metres and now speed down a descent.

17:04 CEST   
This is the group: Paolo Bettini (Italy), Filippo Pozzato (Italy), Davide Rebellin (Italy), Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spain), Cadel Evans (Australia), Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation), Frank Schleck (Luxembourg), Stefan Schumacher (Germany), Fabian Wegmann (Germany), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), Björn Leukemans (Belgium), Michael Boogerd (Netherlands), Thomas Dekker (Netherlands), Karsten Kroon (Netherlands), Martin Elmiger (Switzerland).

Schleck, Bettini and Schumi are still a bit off the front.

17:06 CEST   
Bettini gives it another attack. Jeez, he is strong today. Kolobnev is chasing him down, Schumi and Evans follow.

17:08 CEST    262.4km/5km to go
Bettini, Evans, Kolobnev, Schleck and Schumacher still have a small gap in front of the remaining eight chasers.

17:10 CEST   
The group is collaborating now to stay away. Bettini took a turn, now it's Kolobnev. The Italian urges the others to continue working.

17:11 CEST    264.4km/3km to go
Wegmann, Elmiger, Sanchez, Boogerd are still chasing at about 15 seconds.

17:12 CEST    265.4km/2km to go
What a race... Their power is fading, but they give it everything. The chase group is close behind...

17:13 CEST   
Schleck is at the front now in that final uphill false flat. They come under the red flag. The attacks will start - Evans goes!

17:14 CEST   
But he can't get away, Schumi catches him. Evans, Schumi, Bettini, Kolobnev and Schleck at the back.

17:14 CEST   
Schleck moves up as they get out of the saddle...

17:15 CEST   
Kolobnev leads out. the sprint is on... And Bettini does it! The world champ defends his title!!

17:15 CEST   
Bettini first, then Kolobnev and Schumacher.

17:18 CEST   
Bettini is on a roll. The tifosi are going mad, journalists included. What a revenge for the Italian after the last few days spent defending himself... He's crying now in the arms of his soigneur. That is some pressure taken off his shoulders...

17:19 CEST   
He's still crying, can't believe it. Probably thinking of his brother, too, who died a few days after last year's win in Salzburg.

17:24 CEST   
That is a very emotional Paolo Bettini there, experiencing one of the greatest moments in his career. He was clearly the strongest in the end of the race, attacking over and over again. The Spaniards lost out today big time...

Thank you for joining us once again for the Worlds - watch out for full results, a report and many photos to come soon on Cyclingnews. Tschüss, as we say in Germany.

Provisional results

1 Paolo Bettini (Italy)
2 Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation)
3 Stefan Schumacher (Germany)
4 Frank Schleck (Luxembourg)
5 Cadel Evans (Australia)

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