Hello everyone, and welcome to our live coverage of the 2007 UCI Road World Championships. The event kicked off in the German town of Stuttgart this morning with the U23 Men's ITT race. We join the battle of young guns in progress with some twenty contenders having completed the 38.1-km. route already. And with Kazakhstan's Roman Kireyev as the rider currently having the best time, ahead of the Slovakian sensation Peter Velits. But watch out for the Estonian TTing machine Tanel Kanget, who's currently in the saddle and going very fast, such that he did better than Velits by over 20 seconds at the km. 31 time check. The AG2R stagiare from the Baltic nation had challenged the pros in races like the Coppa Placci in recent times, and done fine enough. He seems to be a force to be reckoned with ...
Ian Stannard of the U.K. just crossed the line in a time of 52 minutes, 05 seconds and 09 hundredths. That's the seventh best time, thus far. Peter's brother Martin Velits also did, with his handlebar broken, and with 51'51"07 as finish time, over a minute worse than his brother's, kicking Stannard down to spot number eight.
1054 CEST - Jaroslaw Marycz of Poland came next across the line, setting a time of 51'55"02. That's the sixth best time thus far.
1057 CEST - The 1988-born Sergiu Cioban from the former Soviet Republic of Moldova also completed the route: 51'52"08. That's the 8th best time so far (and far from the top spots too ...). In the meantime, flying Kangert of Estonia caught (and dropped) Liechtenstein's Dimitri Jiriakov, that started four minutes before him. And he is going to catch yet another rider.
1100 CEST - Tanel Kangert has crossed the line, with a great time indeed! 50'11"08. That's about thirty seconds better than Roman Kireyev's. The 1.80-m tall Estonian comfortably took the top spot. In the meantime both the well-known Dutchboy Lars Boom as well as Italy's Marco Coledan from the Veneto region - and a few other riders too, we have to say ... - started their respective challenges.
1105 CEST - Game over for Switzerland's Mathieu Deschenaux. The time he recorded was not that outstanding however: 51'42"03. He didn't make it into the top ten spots either.
1109 CEST - Coledan the Italian made it to the 11.7 km time check. His time was the 4th one, worse than Kangert by only two secs (but the flying Estonian had "only" the third best time there ...). Then came Germany's Marcel Kittel, and set a better time than his Italian rival, and than Kangert's too. The Teutonic Knight is another guy to watch out for, as he won the title in the Junior class the past year.
1111 CEST - Second best time at the km. 11.7 check for Russia's Dmitry Sokolov: 14 minutes, 55 seconds, 05 hundredths. But watch out for Lars Boom: the Dutch sensation is on the way to the first time check.
1117 CEST - A little before Boom comes Denmark's Christensen, but his time is not a great one, we have to admit. The Dutch wonderboy comes a few seconds later ... and truly lives up to his surname: 14'15"15! That's 44 seconds better than Tanel Kangert's !!!! Germany's Kittel scored 22'24"49, one of the best times thus far, at the second time check. But we tend to think than WonderLars is gonna do better than anyone else also at the second check.
1120 CEST - Dmitry Sokolov from Mother Russia made it to the second check, and set a time of 24'37"08; the fourth one at that point.
1123 CEST - Lars the Flying Dutchboy caught - and immediately gave a privileged view of his backside - to the rider that began the race a few minutes before him.
1125 CEST - Lars Boom scored the VERY best time at the km. 18.8 point too, of course. Peter Velits, having the second time there, is far away from him in the provisional ranking, not to mention Tanel Kangert (55 seconds down at that point) and all other competitors. Whilst Lars is giving a further display of his class, the home rider Marcel Kittel caught Italy's Coledan, who began his challenge against the clock one minute earlier than him.
1135 CEST - The German cameras are showing some patriotic attitude by giving us plenty of images of Marcel Kittel. Who was filling spot number five at the km. 31 check, by the way. But Lars Boom's great (and anything but unexpected) performance is forcing them to switch to the man in orange, who just got past a guy who that got in the saddle FIVE minutes ahead of him: Mohd Fauzan Amad Lutfi of Malaysia! But yes, gotta give this rider from the Asian country some web exposure too ...
1138 CEST - Dmitry Sokolov established the third best time at the km. 31 point: 41'08"02. He also caught Ukraine's Oleg Chuzhda that had started a minute earlier than him but; funny but true, the gutsy Ukrainian proudly countered such move, and "counter-passed" his rival from neighbouring Russia.
1142 CEST - Lars the man in orange obviously clocked the best time at the seven-km-to-go (aka km. 31) check: that was 39'23'00", folks. Denmark's Christensen is doin' fine too: he was "only" 01'18" down on Lars Boom at the same check. Marcel Kittel is about to cross the finish line instead.
1144 CEST - Marcel Kittel made it to the finish, recording a good (?) 51'03"08. That's time number six. So far. Moldovan sensation Alexandr Pliuschin is about to start his own challenge instead.
1145 CEST - Sokolov the Russian comes to the finish line too, and knocks Kittel down to spot number seven. Dmitry clocked an excellent 50'33"00. Only Estonia's Tanel Kangert, the current race leader, has done better than the Russian at the moment. But more riders (like a certain Lars Boom ...) are coming.
1148 CEST - Marco Coledan of Italy also crossed the line a few minutes ago ... with time #26! That was quite a poor performance from him, but the bike problems he had certainly were no stranger to his no-show.
1150 CEST - Two great guys steal the limelight: Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen is underway, whilst Lars Boom is veeeery close to the finishing line.
1152 CEST - Here comes the Flying Dutchboy and ... what a time he scores: 48'57"09! That's BY FAAAAAR the very best time, beating Tangert (whose time was 50'11"37) by close to 75 seconds. Impressive enough, isn't it?
Speaking of impressive riders, the mighty Mikhail Ignatiev of Russia is up and running. 38 athletes have crossed the line so far, 32 riders to go ...
1154 CEST - Michael Faerk Christensen the Dane, having a sensational performance in the last few miles, came and clocked the second best time to the line. Veery far from Lars Boom, but (slightly) better than Tangel Kangert, whom he threw down to spot number three. France's Jerome Coppel is in the saddle, by the way.
1157 CEST - Christenen's fellow countryman André Steensen did better than Kangert at the opening time check (km. 11.8), but his time was "only" the sixth at that point. And turned into seventh as Bransilau Samoilau of Belarus scored the fifth time there, not a long time later. And it even turned into eighth as it was Kristjan Koren's turn to get to the 11.8 km. check. The Slovene clocked a solid 14'50"03; far worse than Lars Boom's time however.
1200 CEST - Again, here's the Top Three places (to the finishing line) thus far in the race, with about 25 riders to go:
1. Lars Boom (Netherlands)
2. Michael Faerk Christensen (Denmark)
3. Tanel Kangert (Estonia)
1210 CEST - Both Edvald Boasson Hagen (14'29"37) and Jerome Coppel (14'33"05) made it to the first check. Needless to say, their times are top ones. But also Mikhail Ignatiev covered the very first part of the parcours and, guess what, he scored the best time: 14'10"14. He bettered Boom's time by over six seconds!
1213 CEST - Mikhail Ignatiev's teammate/compatriot Maxim Belkov is surprisingly having a poor performance instead. Lithuania's Ignatas Konovalovas has established the fifth best time at the opening time check.
1215 CEST - Edvald Boasson Hagen, definitely a future star of the professional peloton, is doing well at time check number two (km. 18.8). His time is the second one: 24'14"07, but still down enough (45 seconds) on Lars Boom's.
1216 CEST - Here comes Mikhail Ignatiev and ... he loses the lead to Lars Boom! The Russian had dropped to place number two, his latest time being 23'31"05; that's about two and a half seconds worse than Boom's score. Folks, we do have a race!
1217 CEST - Adriano Malori of Italy is far from the top, and gets caught by Ignatiev, even if he succeeds in not losing contact to him, whilst Jerome Coppel of La France is going to make it to the km. 18 check. The man in white, red and blue colors does, and scores time number three: 24'10"03. It's better than Boasson Hagen's by some four seconds, worse than the one one established by the current race leader Lars Boom by slightly over 40". It lloks like we're going to have a two-man battle (Boom v. Ignatiev) until the end of the race.
1220 CEST - Lithuania's Ignatas Konovalovas has got the seventh best time only at the second intermediate check. Also Peter Velits and Moldova's Pliuschin (besides Boom, Ignatiev, Jerome Coppel and "heavy" Boasson Hagen, who's currently struggling in the uphill section of the route) did better than the Baltic rider after 18 kilometres.
1227 CEST - Wow!! After being caught by the Russian pro, Adriano Malori managed to ... drop and put a couple seconds into Mikhail Ignatiev. What's wrong with the Tinkoff rider now? Or is it a great response from Malori's legs (and pride)? In the meantime, Moldova's Pliushchin (second at the km. 31 check) and the Belarusian pro Samoilau (fifth time there) both set good times.
1228 CEST - Belgium's hopeful Francis De Greef came to the same check and stole spot number five from Branislau Samoilau with 7k to go, whilst also Mikhail Ignatiev showed some pride and stroke back at Malori by catching back and dropping again the Italian. The Russian is aiming for the gold, the man from Parma, Italy, "only" for a decent and satisfactory result.
1232 CEST - Holland's Jos van Emden scored 50'40"04. Fifth place so far for him. A good performance for sure, but he's no Lars Boom ...
1233 CEST - Hoorrrraaaay for Malori, who set the fourth best time at the seven-km-to-go check. He benefited from being caught by Ignatiev for sure, but notably from having good legs himself.
Well, the Russian has got excellent legs too, but not enough to beat Lars Boom. Or so it seems, for he lost a few more seconds to the flying Dutchboy, the gap growing to some TEN secs. at the km. 31 check, Ignatiev's time being 39'39"04. Jerome Coppel did worse than him, but better than Malori, setting time number three at the same (penultimate) check.
1237 CEST - Finishing time for both Alexandr Pliuschin (50'15"03, the fourth best time so far) of Moldova and Branislau Samoilau (50'25"07) of Belarus. Maxim Belkov is very disappointing today: the Russian is losing over two minutes to the best ones. Former race leader Tanel Kangert is down to spot number six, by the way. Also courtesy of Francis De Greef, who set the fifth best time to the finish (50'28"03).
1239 CEST - Edvald Boasson Hagen caught Tony Gallopin of France, but the Norse is likely to battle it out for a top 5 place only. It's gonna be very hard for him to climb the podium today.
Yep, no way for Edvald to get a medal: 50'11"01 was his final time.
1242 CEST - Here comes Mikhail Ignatiev and ... he cannot be first: 49 minutes, 05 seconds and 03 hundredths. That's "just" the second best time, about eight seconds down on the Flying Dutchboy. LARS BOOM IS THE (MORE THAN LIKELY) BRAND NEW WORLD CHAMPION!!
Adriano Malori also crossed the line with a solid fifth time. Jerome Coppel did better though: 49'43"05. A good bronze medal for the Frenchman.
The last starter, poor Maxim Belkov of Russia, crossed the line too, barely making the top 30!
So ... LARS BOOM is the brand new U23 World Time Trial Champion!
Under 23 men's ITT (38.1 km): Results
1. Lars Boom (Netherlands) 48'58" (46.86 km/h)
2. Mikhail Ignatiev (Russia) - at 09"
3. Jerome Coppel (France) - at 46"
4. Michael Faerk Christensen (Denmark) - at 01'10"
5. Adriano Malori (Italy) - at 01'12"
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) - at 01'13"
7. Tanel Kangert (Estonia) - at 01'14"
8. Alexandr Pliuschin (Moldova) - at 01'17"
9. Branislau Samoilau (Belarus) - at 01'28"
10. Francis De Greef (Belgium) - at 01'30"
11. Dmitry Sokolov (Russia) - at 01'35"
12. Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania) - at 01'42"
13. Jos Van Emden (Holland) - at 01'42"
14. Roman Kireyev (Kazakhstan) - at 01'46"
15. Peter Velits (Slovakia) - at 01'47"
16. Rein Taaramae (Estonia) - at 01'50"
17. Rafael Serrano Fernandez (Spain) - at 01'59"
18. Marcel Kittel (Germany) - at 02'06"
19. Grega Bole (Slovenia) - at 02'12"
20. Tony Gallopin (France) - at 02'18"
21. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan) - at 02'24"
22. André Steensen (Denmark) - at 02'26"
23. Rafai Chtioui (Tunisia) - at 02'30"
24. Stefan Schäfer (Germany) - at 02'34"
25. Martin Kohler (Switzerland) - at 02'35"
26. Rui Costa (Portugal) - at 02'37"
27. Kristjan Koren (Slovenia) - at 02'38"
28. Mathieu Deschenaux (Switzerland) - at 02'45"
29. Oleg Chuzhda (Ukraine) - at 02'51"
30. Maxim Belkov (Russia) - at 02'52"
31. Martin Velits (Slovakia) - at 02'54"
32. Sergiu Cioban (Moldova) - at 02'55"
33. Jaroslaw Marycz (Poland) - at 03'00"
34. David Veilleux (Canada) - at 03'04"
35. Sam Bewley (New Zealand) - at 03'05"
36. Ian Stannard (Great Britain) - at 03'08"
37. Evaldas Siskevicius (Lithuania) - at 03'09"
38. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) - at 03'24"
39. Gatis Smukulis (Latvia) - at 03'25"
40. José Mendes (Portugal) - at 03'25"
41. Christopher Froome (Kenya) - at 03'31"
42. Jacqu. Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa) - at 03'37"
43. Siarhei Papok (Belarus) - at 03'41"
44. Zakkari Dempster (Australia) - at 03'45"
45. Frantisek Kloucek (Czech Republic) - at 04'00"
46. Emanuel Saldano (Argentina) - at 04'00"
47. Marco Coledan (Italy) - at 04'01"
48. Christian Meier (Canada) - at 04'03"
49. Pavel Zitta (Czech Republic) - at 04'14"
50. Clinton Robert Avery (New Zealand) - at 04'15"
51. Krisztian Lovassy (Hungary) - at 04'30"
52. Wilson A. Marentes Torres (Colombia) - at 04'34"
53. Martins Trautmanis (Latvia) - at 04'42"
54. Darwin Luis Urrea Vergara (Venezuela) - at 04'48"
55. Abdelkader Belmokhtar (Algeria) - at 04'51"
56. Hossein Nateghi (Iran) - at 04'57"
57. Nick Frey (USA) - at 05'06"
58. Andriy Suralyov (Ukraine) - at 05'15"
59. Sergio Dominguez Munoz (Spain) - at 05'20"
60. Dimitri Jiriakov (Liechtenstein) - at 05'21"
61. Frederik Krogh-Larsen (Norway) - at 05'41"
62. Esad Hasanovic (Serbia) - at 05'49"
63. Federico Pagani (Argentina) - at 05'59"
64. Azizbek Abdvrahimov (Uzbekistan) - at 06'09"
65. Victor Moreno (Venezuela) - at 06'26"
66. Mohd Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi (Malaysia) - at 06'28"
67. Mohammad Rajablou (Iran) - at 06'57"
68. Yong Li Ng (Malaysia) - at 07'39"
69. Konstantin Kalinin (Uzbekistan) - at 08'12"
70. Sandor Koczka (Hungary) - at 08'21"
And (perhaps) Boom set a new record by (perhaps) being the first ever athlete to win a gold medal at the World Champs both in Cyclo-cross and on the road in the same year. We're not completely sure, but tend to think that nobody has ever been able to achieve such a goal before.
1300 CEST - Lars Boom can proudly and deservedly wear the rainbow jersey on the podium, with Mikhail Ignatiev and Jerome Coppel standing besides him. And the Dutch anthem can be heard (albeit for a very, very short time only) under the grey skies of Baden-Württemberg's main city.
That's all for the opening event of the 2007 UCI Road World Championships. Thank you for joining us, and see you later for the next contests.