Hello and bienvenidos (or welcome, if you prefer) to our live coverage of the second day's event here at 2005 UCI Road World Champs: the Elite Men ITT. After yesterday's opening races, involving the Elite Women and Under 23 Men competitors, it's the big guns that make it to the streets of Madrid today, challenging each other and the clock in order to get that coveted rainbow jersey, or at least some medal hanging around their neck(s).
A privilege reserved to riders from Russia and Switzerland (as in the rainbow jersey's case) as well as the host country Spain, Ukraine and two English-speaking nations such as the USA and New Zealand (in the other podium finishers' case) in the first day. But more countries - to start with Germany and Australia - will be definitely willing to enter their names in the medal table.
The battlefield is a circuit of some 22 km. - in the Casa del Campo area - to be covered twice, totalling a distance of 44.1 kms. The contenders were divided into 4 different "blocks" according to their respective start times. The full startlist (times of departure included) is as follows:
13:00:00 MEDICI Matias ARG19750629 49 ARG 1
13:02:00 BEPPU Fumiyuki JPN19830410 48 JPN
13:04:00 PERRY James Lewis RSA19791119 47 RSA
13:06:00 HRUSKA Jan CZE19750204 46 CZE
13:08:00 MARTIKAINEN Tommi FIN19820113 45 FIN
13:10:00 HESJEDAL Ryder CAN19801209 44 CAN
13:12:00 BALCIUNAS Linas LTU19780214 43 LTU
13:14:00 LOPEZ MARTIN Juan Carlos COL19810424 42 COL
13:16:00 GAZVODA Gregor SLO19811015 41 SLO
13:18:00 KIRYIENKA Vasil BLR19810628 40 BLR
13:20:00 BODNAR Lukasz POL19820510 39 POL
13:22:00 SHKARPETA Denis UZB19811109 38 UZB
14:00:00 CHAVANEL Sylvain FRA19790630 37 FRA 2
14:02:00 LANG Sebastian GER19790915 36 GER
14:04:00 DAY Ben AUS19781211 35 AUS
14:06:00 VANDBORG Brian Bach DEN19811204 34 DEN
14:08:00 GEORGE DAVID RSA19760223 33 RSA
14:10:00 HOSTE Leif BEL19770717 32 BEL
14:12:00 LÍVKVIST Thomas SWE19840404 31 SWE
14:14:00 POSTHUMA Joost NED19810308 30 NED
14:16:00 SOSENKA Ondrej CZE19751209 29 CZE
14:18:00 PINOTTI Marco ITA19760225 28 ITA
14:20:00 POPOVICH Yaroslav UKR19800104 27 UKR
14:22:00 WIGGINS Bradley GBR19800428 26 GBR
15:00:00 WOHLBERG Eric CAN19650108 25 CAN 3
15:02:00 SZEKERES Csaba HUN19770130 24 HUN
15:04:00 KASHECHKIN Andrey KAZ19800321 23 KAZ
15:06:00 BELOHVOSCIKS Raivis LAT19760121 22 LAT
15:08:00 BLAUDZUN Michael DEN19730430 21 DEN
15:10:00 GUTIERREZ PALACIOS JosÚ Ivan ESP19781127 20 ESP
15:12:00 MAZUR Peter POL19821202 19 POL
15:14:00 EKIMOV Viatcheslav RUS19660204 18 RUS
15:16:00 O'LOUGHLIN DAVID IRL19780429 17 IRL
15:18:00 PEĐA GRISALES Victor Hugo COL19740710 16 COL
15:20:00 GABROVSKI Iva´lo BUL19780131 15 BUL
15:22:00 MOREAU Christophe FRA19710412 14 FRA
16:00:00 GRIVKO Andriy UKR19830807 13 UKR 4
16:02:00 ROESEMS Bert BEL19721014 12 BEL
16:04:00 BRAJKOVIC Janez SLO19831218 11 SLO
16:06:00 DEKKER Thomas NED19840906 10 NED
16:08:00 BRUSEGHIN Marzio ITA19740615 9 ITA
16:10:00 CANCELLARA Fabian SUI19810318 8 SUI
16:12:00 LARSSON Gustav SWE19800920 7 SWE
16:14:00 JULICH Bobby USA19711118 6 USA
16:16:00 MENCHOV Denis RUS19780125 5 RUS
16:18:00 PLAZA MOLINA Ruben ESP19800229 4 ESP
16:20:00 VINOKOUROV Alexandr KAZ19730916 3 KAZ
16:22:00 RICH Michael GER19690923 2 GER
16:24:00 ROGERS Michael AUS19791220 1 AUS
We join the event in progress as Britain's Bradley Wiggins crossed the line and took the top spot in a time of 55'06", leading Germany's Sebastian Lang by three seconds.
1528 CEST - The rider currently sitting in third place is a bit of a surprise: Argentina's Matias Medici. Who's none other than the first starter of this event. How long will be able to keep his podium place?
Good news for Kazakh revelation Andrey Kashechkin as the man sets the second best time at the intermediate time check, doing better than Wiggins (still the best among those who crossed the line) by three seconds.
Vjatcheslav Ekimov, who was recently back to the races after a long period off, has the 23rd time instead.
Spain's Ivan Gutierrez comes to the first time check line and SMOKES Wiggins' time, bettering it by a dozen seconds!
Italians are arguably not going to celebrate any medals today, but they have got something to celebrate anyway, as today was the day of the 2008 Worlds venue choice, and the UCI made their decision, choosing the Lombard town of Varese.
So that we might see (maybe) Ivan Basso going for the gold in his own area.
Spain's National ITT Champion Ivan Gutierrez Palacios is still having a great ride, while Colombia's Victor Hugo Pe˝a sets the seventh best time at the first time check. Christophe Moreau has the 40th time (or so) after 10 kms instead. What a poor performance!
Moreau comes to the other thime check, and "improved" his placing by going up to spot number 28, in a time of 28'25". Still his performance is far from excellent.
1557 CEST - Canada's Eric Wohlberg makes it to the line too, his time is the 17th best time only (so far). While red hot favourite Michael Rogers is warming up, minutes before the start of his challenge.
Here comes Andrey the Kazakh. And clocks the best time: Kashechkin improved Wiggins' finish time by a couple seconds.
And here comes Ivan Gutierrez... and smokes all of his rivals in a time of 53'58"26, bettering Kashechkin's time by 01'05". WHAT A RACE HE'S HAD!
Is Spain going to take its first rainbow jersey on home soil? We would not be surprised if such a thing happened.
1605 CEST - And in the meantime, Janez Brajkovic took the start, followed by another young talent, Holland's Thomas Dekker. Both guys rocked the U23 field one year ago in Verona, Italy, but they're in a different class now...
One more guy at the startline: Italy's Marzio Bruseghin, who has some fans from Veneto along the route rooting for him. Bruseghin lost the national championship to Pinotti this past June, but had a good ride as he finished ninth overall despite helping Petacchi in close to all sprints. He's moving to Lampre next year, though.
And here starts another Fassaman, Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland (who's going to join the CSC ranks in the next season). The man is an ITT specialist, but usually does better on shorter courses than today's.
1613 CEST - The final six riders scheduled to start. The next one being well-known Bobby Julich.
The Notorious VHP crossed the line, setting the sixth (provisional) best time: 55'15"76, some 01'17" down on current leader Ivan Gutierrez Palacios.
And straight after the Colombian came Ireland's O'Loughlin, whose time (about 57'18") is not that good.
Bobby Julich just started his race - the next starter will be Denis Menchov.
The Russian Rabo-boy, "silver medallist" and dual ITT winner at the recent Vuelta a Espana, is underway too. Watch out for the guy, even if he might be paying for his Tour of Spain efforts.
1618 CEST - Four riders to go: Plaza, Vinokourov, Rich and Rogers.
Ruben Plaza - winner of the last ITT of the past Vuelta at a blistering pace (also courtesy of strong tailwinds), has started his effort.
Nothing new from the finish line, with Ivan Gutierrez of Spain still leading Andrey Kashechkin the Kazakh and Britain's Brad Wiggins.
31st time (58'41" and something) for Christophe Moreau at the finish line.
Germany's Lang and Matias Medici of Argentina make the current top 5 complete, followed by VHP. Marco Pinotti makes the top 10 complete instead (so far of course).
Marzio Bruseghin got off to quite a slow start, being down on Gutierrez by about 20 seconds at the first check.
1625 CEST - Vinokourov and Rich have taken the start too, and it's time for the reigning champion to get underway. Here we go, Michael Rogers takes the start too!
Cancellara set the fourth time after 11 km: 13'46". He's three seconds down on Gutierrez Palacios (and some 16 secs down on Wiggins, who was off to a very speedy start).
Sweden's Gustav Larsson was only 25th at the same time check. He's not going to be a factor today, sorry (for him).
Julich's time at the 11-km check: 14'02". It's the 12th best time.
Again - nothing new from the finish line: Gutierrez, Kashechkin (why didn't he choose a simpler last name?) and Wiggins still in the medal spots. While Denis Menchov clocked the 11th time at the km. 11 check.
Local favorite Ruben Plaza has the 8th time at the same check: 13'56"27, some 13 secs down on fellow Espanol Ivan Gutierrez.
Here comes Vinokourov. His time: 13'49"65. His place: fifth. He's just 06" down on Gutierrez after 11 km. of hard riding.
Bruseghin did slightly better in the second half of the first lap, moving up to spot number nine, just one second ahead of compatriot Marco Pinotti. But moves down to 10th as Fabian Cancellara comes, and remains only a few seconds down on Gutierrez, whose eventual win would not be a surprise to us.
1638 CEST - Rogers's first timo check time: 13'48". The Aussie is slightly (as in "five seconds") down to the Spanish race-of-the-truth machine. That's after 11 kms only, but there's a looooong way to go, and anything could happen.
The only thing we're quite sure of is that this is not going to be Michael Rich's race: the German had the 34th time at the same check: 14'24". Not good for him.
This is time check #2, and here comes Bobby Julich! He set the sixth time, a good 27'05"90.
Second intermediate time for Denis Menchov: 27'27"39. It's just the 14th time, and he's close to a minute down on Gutierrez Palacios at this point. Yep, he's paying for his Vuelta efforts!
Ruben Plaza had quite a poor ride in the second half of the first lap. At least if compared to Gutierrez. His intermediate time is 26'50", and is more than twenty seconds down on his compatriot.
Vino-time at the km. 11 check: 26'57"06. The man is just behind Plaza in the (provisional) ranking, and 30 secs behind current leader Gutierrez.
That was at the 22 km check, not the 11 km check.
1649 CEST - Poor performance by veteran Michael Rich: 27'31"00 (19th time) at the halfway point of his race.
Cancellara's half-race time: a good 26'35"71. The Swiss is just 8 seconds down on the leader. And that's exactly the same time as Michael Rogers.
Is the rainbow jersey going to be a three-man affair then? Perhaps. For sure, the aforementioned times are not good news for Brad Wiggins. His medal is highly in jeopardy.
Cancellara flying at about 60 kph on a slightly downhill section, while Vino is riding slower; but he's going uphill now.
Marzio Bruseghin is currently sitting in spot #11, more than a minute down on the top riders.
1657 CEST - Next time check (km. 33). And here comes Bobby J: His time 42'10". His place 8th. The gap to Gutierrez: more than a minute. No medal-day for him and his country.
Belgian Bert Roesems finishes with the 15th time.
1700 CEST - Rubeeeeeeeen Plaza at the km. 33 check. He sets the 3rd time (41'32"), 24 seconds down on Gutierrez, but some 15 secs clear of Bradley Wiggins, now down to 4th at that point of the race.
Janez Brajkovic's finishing time: 56'04" (he's 12th at the moment). A solid ride for the neopro from Slovenia...
Vinokourov's third intermediate time: 41'53"86. He keeps his sixth place - but is going down to seventh as Michael Rogers is coming ... Thomas Dekker did much worse than Brajkovic, as he finished 26th: 57'19"02.
UNBELIEVEABLE!! CANCELLARA CROSSED THE LINE AND GAINED NINE SECONDS ON GUTIERREZ IN THE LAST PART!!
BUT FINISHED SECOND BY A MERE 12 HUNDREDTHS OF A SECOND!! TOO BAD FOR HIM.
But too good for Rogers, who has the BEST TIME at the km. 33-check. He bettered Gutierrez's by 07"32. Rogers' time was 41'01"60 indeed!! WHAT-A-RIDE BY THE AUSSIE!!
The man gained 16 seconds on his Spanish rival in the space of 11 kms, and is now closer to the hat-trick, after his 2003 and 2004 wins! But it will be an all-out battle until the end.
And if Gutierrez's win wouldn't be much of a surprise, Rogers' would be NO surprise at all.
Here comes Gustav Larsson. The Swede finished in 21st place, clocking a time of 56'34".
1709 CEST - Bobby Julich's final time: 55'19"86. He's currently sitting in spot #8, kicking Bruseghin down to 11th place. Not the best ITT Bobby J ever had.
Michael Rogers is flyyyyying. The Italy-based Aussie just caught and passed Michael Rich.
Ruben Plaza grabbed a (provisional) podium spot, finishing his race in a time of 54'18". But no doubt he's going to be kicked out of the top three places soon. As Michael Rogers is getting nearer to the finish line.
50 minutes of riding gone for the man from Canberra, and a few more to go.
Vino makes it to the line. Setting 54'54"73 as his final time. He's currently 4th, and will go down to 5th when Rogers crosses the line. Not a bad performance by the Kazakh anyway.
So we're quite sure of who's going to fill the podium places, but still a bit unsure of who's going to wear that rainbow thingy... But we're going to know veeeery soon.
And Rogers' time is ..... is ..... 53'34"49! HE HAS WON!!
MICHAEL ROGERS IS THE WORLD CHAMPION!! (AGAIN) (AND AGAIN). Second place for Spain's Gutierrez. And Fabian Cancellara takes the bronze! Quite curiously though, that's Rogers' first win of the season.
"I can't believe it! I can't believe it!" were Michael's first post-hattrick words.
So here comes the Elite Mens ITT Top 10:
1. MICHAEL ROGERS (AUSTRALIA)
2. IVAN GUTIERREZ PALACIOS (SPAIN)
3. FABIAN CANCELLARA (SWITZERLAND)
4. RUBEN PLAZA (SPAIN)
5. ALEXANDRE VINOKOUROV (KAZAKHSTAN)
6. ANDREY KASHECHKIN (KAZAKHSTAN)
7. BRADLEY WIGGINS (UK)
8. SEBASTIAN LANG (GERMANY)
9. MATIAS MEDICI (ARGENTINA) (!!!!!!!!!!)
10. THE NOTORIOUS VHP - VICTOR HUGO PENA (COLOMBIA)
Then came Bobby Julich (USA) and Ondrej Sosenka (CZE) who took 11th and 12th respectively.
So, it's people in Australia who can rush to the street in celebration today...but also in some parts of the northern hemisphere, as the winner is currently based in the Varese area of Lombardy, and many of his Italian fan club members travelled to Spain to support him!
All three medallists are on the podium, ready for the ceremony. Both Rogers and Gutierrez look happy and smiling, while Cancellara must be regretting losing the silver by such a slender margin.
Here comes the medal. Here comes da jersey. Rogers is finally wearing that rainbow "thingy", and the golden one is hanging around his neck.
The next round of competitions is Saturday, with the Road Races for the Elite Women and the U23 Men. Then Sunday is the Elite Men's Road Race. Please join us again Saturday for live coverage of the U23 Men's race, and thanks for being with us today!
1 Rogers Michael Aus 53:34.5
2 Gutierrez Palacios JosÚ Ivan Esp +0:23.77
3 Cancellara Fabian Sui +0:23.89
4 Plaza Molina Ruben Esp +0:44.06
5 Vinokourov Alexandre Kaz +1:20.24
6 Kashechkin Andrey Kaz +1:29.00
7 Wiggins Bradley Gbr +1:31.60
8 Lang Sebastian Ger +1:35.32
9 Medici Matias Arg +1:37.07
10 Pena Grisales Victor Hugo Col +1:41.27
11 Julich Bobby Usa +1:45.37
12 Sosenka Ondrej Cze +1:55.49
13 Day Ben Aus +2:05.46
14 Bruseghin Marzio Ita +2:11.68
15 Rich Michael Ger +2:13.96
16 Belohvosciks Raivis Lat +2:16.75
17 Pinotti Marco Ita +2:22.78
18 Kiryienka Vasil Blr +2:26.00
19 Brajkovic Janez Slo +2:29.61
20 Hruska Jan Cze +2:37.59
21 Vandborg Brian Bach Den +2:42.54
22 Hesjedal Ryder Can +2:42.82
23 Menchov Denis Rus +2:45.17
24 Roesems Bert Bel +2:49.49
25 Gazvoda Gregor Slo +2:56.49
26 Perry James Lewis Rsa +2:58.93
27 Larsson Gustav Swe +3:00.17
28 Ekimov Viatcheslav Rus +3:07.10
29 Beppu Fumiyuki Jpn +3:12.88
30 Chavanel Sylvain Fra +3:18.53
31 Hoste Leif Bel +3:19.68
32 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr +3:27.63
33 Mazur Peter Pol +3:37.28
34 Wohlberg Eric Can +3:40.32
35 Dekker Thomas Ned +3:44.53
36 George David Rsa +3:46.81
37 Posthuma Joost Ned +3:48.98
38 Oĺloughlin David Irl +3:52.09
39 Blaudzun Michael Den +3:55.77
40 Grivko Andriy Ukr +4:00.49
41 Bodnar Lukasz Pol +4:49.63
42 Lopez Martin Juan Carlos Col +4:54.18
43 Balciunas Linas Ltu +4:58.35
44 Moreau Christophe Fra +5:07.11
45 Szekeres Csaba Hun +5:13.34
46 L÷vkvist Thomas Swe +5:40.66
47 Shkarpeta Denis Uzb +5:49.93
48 Martikainen Tommi Fin +7:13.87
Gabrovskiiva´lo Bul DNS