October 11/01 1:05 am - Men's ITT Story
Posted by Editor on 10/11/01
2001 Road World Cycling Championships - Men's ITT Lisbon, Portugal
This report made possible through the sponsorship of CompuTrainer and Peak Centre
Germany's Jan Ullrich is the new time trial world champion, after a last ditch effort in the final kilometres of the 38.7 kilometre race against the clock. The Olympic champion's winning time was 51 minutes, 49.99 seconds. David Millar (Great Britain) finished second, and Santiago Botero (Chile) was third. Victoria's Roland Green, who became mountain bike world champion last month, posted an impressive 14th place, and Canadian national time trial champion Eric Wohlberg was 27th.
The course favoured all-round riders, with 10 steep climbs (2450 feet of vertical gain) and 40 sharp turns making this the "the toughest time trial course I have ever raced", according to the veteran Wohlberg.
While Ullrich was the favourite coming into the event, he appeared to struggle, consistently posting the fourth fastest time through intermediate time splits, while Millar led at every point. With 6.2 kilometres to go, Ullrich was third, and his deficit was over 10 seconds. However, the German is consistently ranked as one of the best time trialists in the world, and he took more than 2.5 seconds per kilometre out of Millar in the final section to win the title.
Roland Green was the 12th rider off, and he immediately began to set the fastest time thus far. He was overtaken by Australian Nathan O'Neill and Spain's Santos Gonzalez in the standings fairly quickly, but it wasn't until there were less than 20 riders to go that he dropped off the podium, and he remained in the top-10 until the fifth from last rider (Jean Nuttli of Switzerland) crossed the line. Green finished 10 seconds behind Nuttli and 12 seconds behind 12th placed Piotr Chmielewski (Poland), and might have gone higher if he hadn't had to slow for a stray dog on the course.
"There was this dog right in front of me. I had to sit up and stop pedalling before it finally got off the course."
Green also had to contend with a last-minute change to his bike position after officials deemed his machine contravened regulations.
"They said that the fore-aft position of my saddle was illegal (too far forward by 1 centimetre) so we had to adjust it, and then another official said it was still no good. It took three tries to satisfy them, and they were still contradicting each other. Talk about throwing a guy off his game..."
Despite these setbacks, Green was happy with his ride.
"Since the (mountain bike) worlds I haven't gone that hard. After worlds I was wiped, and there was so much PR stuff to do, so I haven't had the prep time I needed. I tried to squeeze as much training in as possible, but I still needed a couple of hard rides in me. If we did the race again tomorrow I know I would be faster. But I did my best and I'm happy with my ride."
Now, finally, Green will get a chance to take some time off.
"I'm going to rest and not even touch my bike for 3 weeks. I've been full throttle since last November. I'm going to stop in Toronto and visit my girlfriend, do some stuff for my sponsor (the Trek-Volkswagen racing team) and drive my car (a Porsche that he picked up after the mountain bike world championships). I want to do the CN Tower race too."
The competitive streak always finds an outlet.