Posted by Editoress on 09/21/06
World Road Championships Salzburg, Austria
Reports made possible by the support of ENERVIT
Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) obliterated the competition in the Elite Men's 50.84 kilometer time trial at the Road Worlds on Thursday, finishing a minute and a half in front of CSC team mate David Zabriskie (USA) and nearly two minutes ahead of Vuelta winner Alexandr Vinokourov (Kazakhstan). The two Canadians in the event had strong performances, with Ryder Hesjedal and national time trial champion Svein Tuft finishing 22nd and 28th respectively.
Tuft was the third rider off, and almost caught both of the first two starters by the line, coming in five seconds down on the first starter. This put him in the Hot Seat for eight riders, until Denmark's Brian Vandborg - also a CSC rider - laid down an exceptional 1:02:04.85, nearly three minutes faster than Tuft. Vandborg's time was so strong that it would hold up until Zabriskie came in eighth from last to overtake him. Vinokourov would also bump Vandborg, as did Cancellara, however, it was a remarkable ride into fourth place for the Dane.
Cancellara and Zabriskie were consistently 1-2 through the intermediate time checks, but Vinokourov - the pre-race favourite - suffered mechanical problems on the first climb when his chain came off. However, while the mishap possibly cost him the silver, even he agreed afterwards that Cancellara was in a league of his own, capping a season which began with a win in the Paris-Roubaix.
"I found the race very difficult and I had to put a lot of strength into doing it." stated Vinokourov. "But I did well, so it's okay. After the technical problems I thought I would go for second or third, as I knew victory wouldn't be possible. I was very determined to get second or third."
Cancellara was bubbling with joy. "Today it went as expected. I awoke two times this morning, looking forward to the race. Today worked out perfectly, as I worked hard for this race. I experienced it (the win) already two to three kilometers before the finsh, as I heard the classification. I just felt strong. The whole year has been perfect for me, with Paris-Roubaix and now this. Of course I went well today, but it is not the limit and there is more to achieve. There is more even next year. I want to win the San Remo and this means I need to work very hard. I've had such a perfect year, but there is still more I want to achieve."
"The win is really good for my team. We are specializing in time trialing and have improved all the technical components, so they will be very happy with this result."
Zabriskie was disappointed not to win, but not surprised that his team mate took it. "I knew he would be strong, but I didn't know he would be superman today. He rode very well and congratulations to him ... It's nice (to get silver), but it's nicer to win. But it's not like I'll throw it in the garbage ... Someday I have to beat Fabian for sure. When I first came to Europe I raced the San Sebastian World Championships and I knew I wanted to make this a career. It's taken me 9 years to get a medal at the Worlds."
Both Hesjedal and Tuft were satisfied with their rides.
"I couldn't be happier with my ride" commented Hesjedal. "It went perfectly. I'm not a time trial specialist, so I didn't have any false hopes, but I started out strongly and paced myself well. It was a very good ride for me. It took me a while to get a rhythm, but on the section around the lake I got smoother. The first part, on the climbs I was stronger, but I had to give back a bit on the flat sections."
Tuft got stronger as the race went on - 38th at the first time check, 26th at the second and 18th in the final portion of the course. "It was a very tough course, that's for sure. I started out a little conservatively on the climbs, and then opened it up more on the flat sections afterwards, which suit me more. I could feel myself getting stronger through the ride, and so I was able to finish well. The wind on the way out was very tough once you got to the top of the climbs."
- David Millar (Great Britain) was racing in his first Worlds after coming back from a suspension for EPO use which stripped him of the title he won in 2003 in Hamilton. Millar finished 15th, after having to get a bike change on the first climb when he flatted.
- The local federation is reeling from doping problems after two Espoir riders didn't turn up for announced dope testing, and now one has had trace levels of EPO found in a doping control sample. The UCI also conducted more blood testing this morning with the teams from the USA, Uruguay, Germany, Korea and Norway. All riders were declared fit to start.
- The weather was, once again, perfect, and officials were estimating 50,000 spectators came out for the event.
- Tomorrow there is no racing, with the UCI Congress taking place.
- We have learned that a couple of new Canadian races will appear on the international calendar: Montreal-Boston (August 5-12, UCI 2.1), and for the women a Tour of Prince Edward Island to take place in June after the Montreal World Cup and Tour de Grand Montreal.
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