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UCI World Champs Men TT - USA and Canadian Team Reports
 
By Staff
Date: 9/27/2007
UCI World Champs Men TT - USA and Canadian Team Reports
 

Zabriskie's 12th-place finish leads men at World Championships. Wet conditions disadvantage Hesjedal and Tuft.

Zabriskie's 12th-place finish leads men at World Championships.

After claiming the silver medal a year ago, the United Statesí best hope for a medal in the elite menís time trial at the 2007 UCI Road World Championships placed 12th on Thursday as David Zabriskie finished 2 minutes, 13 seconds of the pace of winner and defending world champion Fabian Cancellara.

Zabriskie clocked a time of 57 minutes, 55.15 seconds over the 45-kilometer course as the fastest American finisher while teammate Jason McCartney finished 20th in his first elite menís world championship time trial. McCartney rode a 58:24.31 to finish 2:42.96 off the pace of Cancellara.

Zabriskie started quickly but consistently fell off the pace as the race progressed. He began by posting the third-fastest time split at the first checkpoint eight kilometers into the race. At the second time split 22 kilometers in, he had dropped to fifth. At the 31-kilometer mark, Zabriskie was running eighth before losing an additional five spots at the finish line.

McCartney, who ran as high as 15th at one point, notched a top-20 result amongst a solid field of 69 competitors despite having just completed the 23-day Vuelta a EspaŮa, the seasonís third Grand Tour. In fact, of the riders in Thursdayís field who completed the Vuelta, only third-place finisher Stef Clement was faster than McCartney.

"It was O.K., but I didnít feel like I felt last week," McCartney said in reference to his seventh-place finish in the stage-20 time trial of the Vuelta on Saturday. "Bodrogi and a lot of those guys dropped out early to rest (for the world championships). Itís a huge difference. Thatís the difference between being fresh and a being a little stale. And itís always tough when you take two or three days of rest and have a travel day. Itís always special to finish a Grand Tour, so that was important to me as well as winning a stage."

Lingering rain showers throughout the morning and early afternoon affected much of the field and left the course wet and slippery for many of the top-seeded riders who started last. Like most competitors, McCartney was forced to adjust his efforts to the conditions over the two-lap race.

"It was a little wet the first time, and you didnít know on the descents if it was wet or dry, so I took it a little cautious," McCartney explained. "You never know, and if you go down, then itís all over. I tried to come back a little stronger on the second lap, but it wasnít enough."

Wet conditions disadvantage Hesjedal and Tuft

Ryder Hesjedal and Svein Tuft placed 24th and 30th respectively in the menís elite time trial on Thursday at the world championships in road cycling being held in Stuttgart, Germany. Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland successfully defended his title clocking the 44.9 kilometre course in 55 minutes and 41.35 seconds. Hesjedal was 3:38.88 off Cancellaraís pace while Tuft was 3:45.93 back.

"Itís not an improvement on last yearís showing but still I feel the guys had a good race," said Kris Westwood, high performance director for the Canadian Cycling Association. "They rode early when the road was very wet. They were often forced to brake on turns and were disadvantaged because of that." Hesjedal was 22nd last year at the worlds in Salzburg, Austria while Tuft was 28th.

Hesjedal was pleased with his effort and also said the conditions affected his result. "Iím happy with how I raced. My result could have been better but one needs to look at the riders ahead of me and certain race circumstances."

"Last year I finished 22nd but I was four minutes behind Cancellara," said Hesjedal, 26, a former mountain bike racer. "This year Iím 24th three minutes back. You have to look at those facts. I came close to cracking the top-10. Iíll have a chance to improve my time."

"There are a lot of little things that could have gone better for me. So I look at those little things along with my result. I look at the way I rode in comparison to my other races this season and Iím pleased with how I felt. Thatís what is most important."

Hesjedal was 13th at the halfway point and posted the 33rd fastest time in the second half which may explain why the last riders to start did so well. "But thatís competition. Not everybody can race under the same conditions," he said.

"We didnít reach our goals in terms of results but we started a step behind because of the changing weather conditions. We couldnít have asked for better than that," said Westwood.

 
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