Posted by Editor on 10/3/04
Road Worlds - Verona, Italy
Men's Road Race
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The lead group has been caught; on lap 16 with a little over two laps to go. Bettini abandoned at the end of lap 15 - he must be thinking that there is a curse on him at Worlds... After the leaders were absorbed Patrick Calcagni of Switzerland attacked, but Australia has moved to the front to control things for Stuart O'Grady, and Calcagni couldn't get more than 25-30 seconds. The peloton was still large with two laps to go, however, Dionne was dropped after lap 15, and appears to have abandoned, as has Michael Barry, who was gone much earlier - the end of lap 11. On the Torricelle climb Ivan Basso (Italy) attacked very hard and only Michael Boogerd (Netherlands) could stay with him. Basso's attack finally shattered the peloton, and a smaller elite group of about 25 formed on the descent.
** The lead group is controlled by the Spanish, with 6 riders up front, including Oscar Friere, Valverde, Mancebo, Perez, Nozal. Chris Horner (USA) has made the group, and so have sprinters Stuart O'Grady (Australia) and Erik Zabel (Germany), plus Giro winner Damiano Cunego for Italy. Alexandre Vinokourov and Peter Van Petegem are also there. Oops! We spoke too soon about Dionne, he is still in the race, but off the back by over 10 minutes.
** It is the last lap, and Spain is setting a hard pace for Freire. It looks like it could be a sprinters finish with Freire, O'Grady, Zabel, Daniel Hondo and others in contention. Chris Horner is still there - will he try something on the climb?
** Michael Rasmussen has attacked! No one will help the Spanish chase. But Boogerd has chased up, pulling Freire, O'Grady, Basso and Valverde with him. Over the top it is six riders - Freire, Boogerd, Basso, Valverde, Cunego and O'Grady - this is a dangerous group. About half a lap to go.
** The lead six have been caught - Germany didn't have Zabel there so it was brought back. Only 4 kilometres to the finish with a group of nearly 20...
** Oscar Freire has become world champion for the third time, and poor Erik Zabel has just missed out again, taking second. Paolini took third, with O'Grady fourth, Allan Davis sixth and Valverde sixth.
1 Oscar Freire (Spain)
2 Erik Zabel (Germany)
3 Luca Paolini (Italy)
4 Stuart O'Grady (Australia)
5 Allan Davis (Australia)
6 Alejandro Valverde (Spain)
7 Michael Boogerd (Netherlands)
8 Chris Horner (USA)
9 Damiano Cunego (Italy)
10 Frank Schleck (Luxembourg)
Both Michael Barry and Charles Dionne are DNFs.
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