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UCI Road World Champs - Elite Men's ITT
By Fabio
Date: 9/27/2007
UCI Road World Champs - Elite Men's ITT

UCI Road World Champs - Elite Men's ITT
Time for the Big Guns to get into action. And for you to follow the whole action, of course. Here, of course ... Updated with Photos

Hello everyone, and welcome to our live coverage of the second day of the UCI 2007 Road World Champs. After the young guns and the Elite Women, it's time for the big names of the Elite Men peloton to get in the saddle and fight it out over that golden thingy in the Individual Time Trial, that runs over a course of 44.9 kilometres, whose roads are only partially the same ones we are going to find also in the weekend's three road races.

The event kicked off close to half an hour past midday, with the young Swissman Simon Zahner as the first out of 69 starters; his fellow countryman, and main suspect to take the biggest prize, Fabian Cancellara is scheduled to be the last guy to begin his challenge against the clock, at 0329 PM local time (CEST). The CSC TTing machine is obviously the man to beat, also because of the rainy weather conditions that often played into his hands, but watch out for the likes of Sebastian Lang, David Millar, Vladimir Gusev, Jason McCartney and his compatriot David Zabriskie, Spain's National ITT Champion Ivan Gutiérrez Palacios (who, unlike Cancellara, is no big fan of the rain and wet roads though ...) and, who knows, maybe even the Aussies could pull out one of the outstanding performances they got us accustomed to in the past. No way for the Italians to aim for the gold instead: Vincenzo "The Shark" Nibali might be satisfied with a top five performance, and Marco Pinotti is a bit too far from his top condition.

Marco Pinotti. Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

1240 CEST Ten riders took to the startline thus far: Simon Zahner (Swi), Ben Day (Aus), Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra), Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel), Vladimir Tuychiev (Uzb), Svein Tuft (Can), Baoquing Song (Chn), José Serpa (Col), Michael Schar (Swi), Luis León (Spa), Jarmo Rissanen (Fin) and Frantisek Rabon (Cze).

1255 CEST Fifteen riders not only started thier race, but even made it to the first time check, with Jurgen Van Den Broeck of Belgium having the quickest time there. The Predictor-Lotto rider clocked 11'35" after eight kilometres; he leads Benoit Vaugrenard of France by 09"95 and Ben Day of Australia by 11"26.

1305 CEST It's not raining any longer on the parcours, whilst three more athletes have reached the opening checkpoint, but Van de Broeck keeps the best time there.

Luis León Sánchez Gil is not having the best ride of his career: the Spaniard was 28 seconds off the pace at the first split, and his gap to the Belgian ballooned to 58 seconds at the halfway point time check (km. 22.2, end of lap one), where Jurgen Van de Broeck stamped his authority too, setting an excellent time of 28 minutes and 34 seconds.

1313 CEST Matias Medici of Argentina clocked the fourth quickest time after 22 kilometres: 29'14"22. South Africa's Perry, who crossed the line for the first time a few seconds earlier, barely made it into the top ten spots instead.

1317 CEST Here comes Andrei Kunitski: the man from Belarus set the quickest time: 28'32"69. He improved Van de Broeck's record by about 2 seconds. In the meantime the Belgian set the best time at the km. 31 check (41'41"59) as he caught and passed Benoit Vaugrenard of La France. Ben Day, who scored 42'04"62 at the km. 31 check, was thrown down to spot number two.

1319 CEST Quite a poor time for Svein Tuft at km. 31: 42'24"59 for the Canadian. José Serpa of Colombia did even worse anyway: 43'00"92. Close to 80 seconds down on the current leader (at that point). Michael Schaer of Switzerland has the seventh "quickest" time there: 43'39"35. Frantisek Rabon kicked the Swiss down to eighth as he scored 43'28"21 with a little less than 14k to go for the Czech. Matias Medici scored a decent 42'09"18, holding on to his fourth place.

1325 CEST Andrei Kunitski is getting closer to the third split as his battle with Jurgen Van de Broeck continues. The (provisional) first place and some media exposure are up for grabs. In the meantime a Serbian cyclist gets underway.

1328 CEST: Jurgen Van de Broeck regained the lead as Andrei Kunitski established a time of 41'48"59 at the km. 31 checkpoint. The Belarusian is now seven seconds behind the Belgian. Ben Day is down to third place. The Aussie is going to make it to the finish line, btw.

1332 CEST Ben Day crossed the line, covering the whole route in 59'27"17, and averaging 45.31 km/h. Benoit Vaugrenard managed to "counter-pass" Jurgen Van den Broeck, but the Belgian still had legs good enough to storm to the lead - 58'44"48 is the Belgian's finishing time, better than Ben Day's by 42"69, - and average a good 45.88 km/h.

1336 CEST Svein Tuft comes next: the Canadian cyclist crossed the line for the second and last time, clocking 59'27"28. That's the third quickest time thus far, over 42 seconds down on Van den Broeck's ... but just 11 hundredths of a second down on Ben Day's.

1337 CEST Beware the Shark! Vincenzo Nibali is underway: thas he man from Sicily covered 3-4 miles already.

1338 CEST One "Maple-leafed" rider gone, one to go: Ryder Hesjedal came next at the startline. He's underway too. A guy from Uzbekistan started his challenge just before the former MTB superstar.

1340 CEST Micheal Schaer from the Land of Swiss Cheese had the sixth quickest time at the finish: 01h00'47"19.

Luis León Sánchez from the Land of ... Spanish Cheese (if any) crossed the line next, clocking 01h00'48"17. A time he's not going to be proud of, we dare to think ...

Young and talented Dmytro Grabowskyy of Ukraine is in the saddle, by the way.

1342 CEST: The Shark ate them all! At least after 8 kilometres. Vincenzo Nibali got the best time at the first split, a good 11'30"59. But the improving weather conditions could play into the hands of his rivals coming next.

Vincenzo 'Shark' Nibali Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

1345 CEST Van den Broeck lost the top spot also at the finishing line, as Andrei Kunitski came and simply demolished the Belgian's previous record by setting a great 58'19"28. He beat VdB by about 25 seconds, gaining over half a minute on him in the last dozen kilometres.

1349 CEST Good news for Ryder Hesjedal too: 11'35"52. That's the second quickest time at the opening split. Even better news for Matti Helminen though: the Finn did better than anyone else - so far - clocking 11'28"11 after eight kilometres. He improved Nibali's time by a couple secs, and kicked the Canadian down to third place.

Dmytro Grabovskyy is about eight seconds off the pace at the first split; the Ukrainian, who recovered from the terrible car accident he was involved in this past spring, got a decent 11'36"32. This is the sixth quickest time so far. The Kiwi "veteran" Gordon McCauley made it into the top 12 at the first time check.

1357 CEST Again - Andrei Kunitski of Belarus has got the quickest time at the finish, leading Belgium's Jurgen Van den Broeck by 25 seconds. But three other riders have done better than both of them at the opening time check (km. 8): Matti Helminen (Finland !!!), currently in the lead at the first split, Vincenzo "The Shark" Nibali (Italy) and Ryder Hesjedal (Canada).

1425 CEST The third group of eighteen riders is about to get underway. The first one to do so is going to be Norway's Knut Anders Fostervold, and his Swedish neighbour Gustav Erik Larsson is gonna be the last one.

1438 CEST Speaking of Scandinavian legs - and their respective owners - the surprising Matti Helminen maintained the top spot all the way to the finishing line. His finishing time of 58 minutes and 13 seconds put the Finnish sensation atop the current standings. Vincenzo Nibali also finished the race in an excellent way, clocking 58'23", a record putting the boy from the South of Italy in the current podium places.

The Top 5 spots so far are as follows:

1. Matti Helminen (Fin) - 58'13"
2. Andrei Kunitski (Blr) - 58'19"
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) - 58'23"
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) - 58'44"
5. Ben Day (Aus) - 59'27"

Matti Helminen had "just" the second quickest time (28'11") at the halfway point, losing by one second to Nibali, but got back the top spot in lap two. Neverthless someone else came later and demolished both the Finn's and the Shark's records: Bert Grabsch, hoping to delight local fans with a second gold medal for Germany after the show Hanka Kupfernagel put in yesterday, needed only 28'00" to complete the first lap. His compatriot Sebastian Lang is going to start with the last group, that features basically all main contenders, instead.

The current Top 5 Spots at the km. 22.5 check are as follows:

1. Bert Grabsch (Ger) - 28'00"
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) - 28'10"
3. Matti Helminen (Fin) - 28'11"
4. Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) - 28'16"
5. Joost Posthuma (Hol) - 28'19"

Ryder Hesjedal made it to the finish and caused some change to the top five places, which are as follows:

1. Matti Helminen (Fin) - 58'13"
2. Andrei Kunitski (Blr) - 58'19"
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) - 58'23"
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) - 58'44"
5. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) - 58'49"

The last group of wannabe medalists is about to get underway, their "starter" is gonna be Sebastian Lang.

1520 CEST Bert Grabsch is flying. The German caught no less than four riders who started before him (amongst them a good TTist like Brian Vandborg, fourth place finisher the past year ...) and increased his advantage over Helminen to 42 seconds at the third split.

1525 CEST More guys are underway: Vladimir Karpets (Rus), Jason McCartney (USA) and José Ivan Gutiérrez (Spa).

1530 CEST We've got a new leader, folks! Andrey Mizurov of Kazakhstan crossed the line and bettered Matti Helminen's time by a good 29 seconds, clocking an outstanding 57'44".

1531 CEST They are all underway! David Zabriskie (USA), Vladimir Gusev (Rus) und Fabian Cancellara (Swi) were the last three riders to show up at the startline. And to get in the saddle.

1534 CEST Poor Matti was kicked further down to third as another excellent TTist, Raivis Belohvosciks (of Latvia) made it to the finishing line with the second best time. The Baltic rider proved to be slower than Andrei Mizurov by 17 seconds.

1536 CEST But Mizurov's hopes for the gold were dashed as BERT GRABSCH stormed to the finish and demolished all previous times, scoring an impressive 56'54". His time was better than the Kazakh's by 50 seconds!!!

In the meantime, the 25-year-old flying Dutchboy Stef Clement recorded the quickest time at the intermediate point.

Also Gustav Larsson had a better finsihing time than Helminen, so that the new, current top five (of race finishers) is the following:
1. Bert Grabsch (Ger) - 56'57"
2. Andrey Mizurov (Kaz) - 57'44"
3. Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) - 58'01"
4. Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) - 58'11"
5. Matti Helminen (Fin) - 58'13"

1545 CEST: Here comes DA MAN! Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) made it to the first split and improved Stef Clement's time by no less than nine seconds (11'10" v. 11'19"). The main suspect to take the biggest prize couldn't be off to a better start.

The brand new Top 5 at the halfway point (with Cancellara and many other top players yet to come ...):
1. Stef Clement (Hol) - 27'33"
2. Sebastian Lang (Ger) - 27'55"
3. Bert Grabsch (Ger) - 28'00"
4. Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) - 28'02"
5. Dominique Cornu (Bel) - 28'09

1600 CEST Vasili Kiriyenka, the man in Belarus' red and green colors, takes time #4 (58'04") at the km. 31 check too.

1602 CEST Fabian Cancellara unsurprisingly scored the quickest time at the end of lap one too. Stef Clement stayed second with Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) getting the third quickest time and kicking Sebastian Lang down to fourth; David Zabriskie had a top 5 score too, and threw Bert Grabsch into sixth place.

1603 CEST Vladimir Karpets finished the race in 41'45"63. 13th place for him so far. Slightly better than Ryder Hesjedal. In the meantime Laszlo Bodrogi caught Spain's Ivan Gutiérrez, who is not living up to expectations that much today.

Fabian sets the best time at the halfway point.

So here's the definitive Top 5 at the halfway point of the race:
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) - 27'12"
2. Stef Clement (Ger) - 27'33"
3. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) - 27'50"
4. Sebastian Lang (Ger) - 27'55"
5. David Zabriskie (USA) - 27'59"

1608 CEST Brad Wiggins scored the sixth quickest time at the km. 31 check: 41'18". He's close to one minute slower than Stef Clement, who had the best time there, but a little bit better than Vincenzo Nibali.

Marco Pinotti had the 17th quickest time at the third split; well it's not that bad after all, he was even faster than Van Den Broeck.

1612 CEST Sebastian Lang couldn't beat Bert Grabsch: the German crossed the line in a time 56'58"75, worse than his compatriot's by 05'31". So we have got two home riders in the lead now, but the best has yet to come.

1614 CEST: Yes, here's Steeeeef Cleeeeement! The boy in orange came and bettered Bert Grabsch's time by 14 seconds and 41 hundredths: 56'39"05 were enough for him to move atop the leaderboard. Albeit a certain Fabian Cancellara is still on the road ...

1616 CEST Vasili Kiriyenka in no longer on the road instead: the Belarusian finished his own effort in 57'44"79. He made it into the top five places, but he's going to be thrown out by the next finishers.

1618 CEST And now ... it's Millar Time! Well, sort of. The Brit was not a factor in today's race, and clocked a poor 58'21"41 as he crossed the line. He's down to Clement by 01'42", and his own time was enough only to kick Vincenzo Nibali out of the top ten spots by a mere second.

1619 CEST Flying Fabian, on the way to the top of the podium, caught David Zabriskie.

1622 CEST: BRAVO BODROGI! Laszlo the Hungarian recorded a really super time as he clocked 56'33"41 across the line. Better than Stef Clement's by some six seconds. Bert Grabsch is still on the podium ... until Cancellara comes at least.

1624 CEST Next across the line is Brad Wiggins, who finishes in the eighth spot at the moment: 57'52"13. Just ahead of Cornu.

... Okay, here's the man, here's the champion, here's ...


... and his WINNING time: 55 minutes, 41 seconds, 35 hundredths.

Vittoria Fabian Cancellara!!! Fabian sees the clock and celebrates.
Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

He beat Bodrogi by 52 seconds, a gap that says it all ...

David Zabriskie also made it to the line, but not even into the Top Ten: the U.S. rider finished in twelfth place.

Fabian Cancellara celebrates his second World Time Trial Championship.
Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Podium 2008 ITT: Lazlo Bodrogi, Fabulous Fabian Cancellara and Stef Clement.
Photo © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Here are the final TOP 15 PLACES:

1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) - 55'41"

2. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) - 56'33"
3. Stef Clement (Hol) - 56'39"

4. Bert Grabsch (Ger) - 56'53"
5. Sebastian Lang (Ger) - 56'58"
6. Vladimir Gusev (Rus) - 57'25"
7. Ivan Gutiérrez Palacios (Spa) - 57'42"
8. Andrey Mizurov (Kaz) - 57'44"
9. Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) - 57'45"
10. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) - 57'51"
11. Dominique Cornu (Bel) - 57'52"
12. David Zabriskie (USA) - 57'55"
13. Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) - 58'01"
14. Marco Pinotti (Ita) - 58'01"
15. Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) - 58'11"

After holding on to the gold medallist spot for a long time, Matti Helminen ended up in place number 16, ahead of Andrei Kunitski; David Millar was 18th, Vincenzo Nibali was 19th and Jason McCartney made the Top 20 complete, with Karpets (21st), Grivko (22nd) , Jurgen Van den Broeck (23rd) and Ryder Hesjedal (24th) following.


1638 CEST It's ceremony time. The Swissman takes the centre of the podium, with the Hungarian silver medallist as well as the Dutch winner of the bronze medal standing alongside him. Nothing but cheers and applauses from the whole crowd, a fat guy wrapped in the Belarusian flag included ... The rainbow jersey is on Fabian's shoulders, the gold medal hanging from his neck. And now it's time for the "Swiss Psalm", which is nothing but the national anthem of the winner's country.

1645 CEST The TV cameras keep showing Fabian Cancellara as he raises his right fist in triumph while completing his successful defence of the title he won the past year. Will Paolo Bettini be even allowed to try and do the same, and be at the start line come Sunday? Or will the latest events (the fact the Italian did not sign the so-called "antidoping pledge", thus getting UCI boss Pat McQuaid upset enough, as well as Sinkewitz presumed "statements" about himself, The Cricket, and doping) end up in the reigning Road Race title holder being forbidden to wear the Maglia Azzurra this year? We'll get to know later.

That's all, for the moment. We hope you enjoyed the race. Thank you for tuning, and see you this next weekend for the upcoming events of the 2007 UCI Road World Championships.

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