Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the 2005 Road World Championships main event, the Elite Men Road race. After the Women and the Under 23 guys yesterday, it's the big guns that steal the show today, make it to the streets of Madrid and challenge each other, and a 21-km. circuit to be covered thirteen times, totalling a distance of some 273 km.
14:54 CEST - It's "all blue" at the front of the pack now, with Russians, French and Italians, all of them with similar colors, riding tempo. About 200k gone, 70k to go. And Raisin and Muravyev still in the lead (but leading by a little more than a minute now).
The official startlist
of today's race is as follows:
1 Astarloa Igor Spain
2 Blanco David Spain
3 Flecha Juan Antonio Spain
4 Mancebo Perez Francisco Spain
5 Martin Perdiguero Martin Angel Spain
6 Pereiro Sio Oscar Spain
7 Serrano Rodriguez Marcos Spain
8 Valverde Belmonte Alejandro Spain
9 Zaballa Gutierrez Constantin Spain
10 Aldag Rolf Germany
11 Fothen Markus Germany
12 Jaksche Jörg Germany
13 Kessler Matthias Germany
14 Klier Andreas Germany
15 Lang Sebastian Germany
16 Voigt Jens Germany
17 Wegmann Fabian Germany
18 Zabel Erik Germany
19 Bennati Daniele Italy
20 Bernucci Lorenzo Italy
21 Bettini Paolo Italy
22 Lombardi Giovanni Italy
23 Paolini Luca Italy
24 Petacchi Alessandro Italy
25 Pozzato Filippo Italy
26 Tosatto Matteo Italy
27 Velo Marco Italy
28 Cooke Baden Australia
29 Davis Allan Australia
30 Evans Cadel Australia
31 Gerrans Simon Australia
32 Hayman Mathew Australia
33 Lancaster Brett Australia
34 McEwen Robbie Australia
35 Rogers Michael Australia
36 Vogels Henk Australia
37 Boogerd Michael Netherlands
38 Dekker Thomas Netherlands
39 Kroon Karsten Netherlands
40 Moerenhout Koos Netherlands
41 Posthuma Joost Netherlands
42 Tankink Bram Netherlands
43 Van Bon Leon Netherlands
44 Van Heeswijk Max Netherlands
45 Weening Pieter Netherlands
46 Lieswyn John USA
47 Mc Carty Jonathan Patrick USA
48 McCartney Jason USA
49 Raisin Saul USA
50 Rodriguez Freddie USA
51 Trenti Guido USA
52 Vandevelde Christian USA
53 Zajicek Philip USA
54 Kirchen Kim Luxembourg
55 Bak Lars Ytting Denmark
56 Michaelsen Lars Denmark
57 Piil Jakob Denmark
58 Bazayev Assan Kazakhstan
59 Gourov Maxim Kazakhstan
60 Iglinskiy Maxim Kazakhstan
61 Kashechkin Andrey Kazakhstan
62 Mizourov Andrey Kazakhstan
63 Muravyev Dmitriy Kazakhstan
64 Vinokurov Alexandr Kazakhstan
65 Yakovlev Sergey Kazakhstan
66 Duque Leonardo Colombia
67 Laverde Luis Felipe Colombia
68 Lopez Martin Juan Carlos Colombia
69 Efimkin Vladimir Russian Federation
70 Gusev Vladimir Russian Federation
71 Ivanov Serguei Russian Federation
72 Kolobnev Alexandr Russian Federation
73 Menshov Denis Russian Federation
74 Petrov Evgeni Russian Federation
75 Albasini Michael Switzerland
76 Beuchat Roger Switzerland
77 Calcagni Patrick Switzerland
78 Cancellara Fabian Switzerland
79 Clerc Aurélien Switzerland
80 Elmiger Martin Switzerland
81 Rast Grégory Switzerland
82 Wesemann Steffen Switzerland
83 Zberg Markus Switzerland
84 Kirsipuu Jaan Estonia
85 Grivko Andriy Ukraine
86 Khalilov Mykhailo Ukraine
87 Kostyuk Denys Ukraine
88 Aerts Mario Belgium
89 Boonen Tom Belgium
90 Cretskens Wilfried Belgium
91 Devolder Stijn Belgium
92 Gilbert Philippe Belgium
93 Leukemans Björn Belgium
94 Nuyens Nick Belgium
95 Van Petegem Peter Belgium
96 Wauters Marc Belgium
97 Brochard Laurent France
98 Casper Jimmy France
99 Chavanel Sylvain France
100 Da Cruz Carlos France
101 Geslin Anthony France
102 Kern Christophe France
103 Le Mevel Christophe France
104 Nazon Jean-Patrick France
105 Vasseur Cédric France
106 Huzarski Bartosz Poland
107 Mazur Peter Poland
108 Radosz Robert Poland
109 Rutkiewicz Marek Poland
110 Wadecki Piotr Poland
111 Zarebski Jaroslaw Poland
112 Brajkovic Janez Slovenia
113 Hauptman Andrej Slovenia
114 Mahoric Mitja Slovenia
115 Mugerli Matej Slovenia
116 Murn Uros Slovenia
117 Stangelj Gorazd Slovenia
118 Bongiorno Guillermo Argentina
119 Borrajo Alejandro Argentina
120 Borrajo Anibal Argentina
121 Fernandez Gerardo Argentina
122 Garrido Martin Argentina
123 Medici Matias Argentina
124 Cummings Stephen Great Britain
125 Hammond Roger Great Britain
126 Sharman Robin Great Britain
127 South Africaam Tom Great Britain
128 Wegelius Charly Great Britain
129 Wiggins Bradley Great Britain
130 Andrle René Czech Republic
131 Bencik Petr Czech Republic
132 Hruska Jan Czech Republic
133 Sosenka Ondrej Czech Republic
134 Svorada Jan Czech Republic
135 Fernandes MacDonald Brazil
136 Fischer Murilo Brazil
137 May Marcio Brazil
138 Nascimento Antonio Xavier Brazil
139 Nicacio Pedro Brazil
140 Pagliarini Luciano Brazil
141 Miranda Helder Portugal
142 Neves Buno Portugal
143 Pires Bruno Portugal
144 Sabido Hugo Portugal
145 Soeiro Pedro Portugal
146 Cox Ryan South Africa
147 George David South Africa
148 Green Rodney South Africa
149 Mc Leod Ian South Africa
150 Perry James South Africa
151 Abbas Saeiditanha Islamic Republic of Iran
152 Askari Hossein Islamic Republic of Iran
153 Kazemisarai Ahad Islamic Republic of Iran
154 Mizbani Iranagh Ghader Islamic Republic of Iran
155 Sohrabi Mahdi Islamic Republic of Iran
156 Zargary Amir Islamic Republic of Iran
157 Dominque Perras Canada
158 Hesjedal Ryder Canada
159 Parisien Francois Canada
160 Balciunas Linas Lithuania
161 Goncaras Mindaugas Lithuania
162 Vaitkus Tomas Lithuania
163 Kychinski Aliaksandr Belarus
164 Siutsou Kanstantsin Belarus
165 Usov Alexandre Belarus
166 Fukushima Koji Japan
167 Fukushima Shinichi Japan
168 Iijima Makoto Japan
169 Bäckstedt Magnus Sweden
170 Ljungqvist Marcus Sweden
171 Lövkvist Thomas Sweden
172 McCann David Ireland
173 O'Loughlin David Ireland
174 Scanlon Mark Ireland
175 Prazdnovsky Martin Slovakia
176 Riska Martin Slovakia
177 Valach Jan Slovakia
178 Lagutin Sergey Uzbekistan
179 Nuritdinov Rafael Uzbekistan
180 Shkarpeta Denis Uzbekistan
181 Belohvosciks Raivis Latvia
182 Saramotins Aleksejs Latvia
183 Gerganov Evgeni Bulgaria
184 Vasilev Krasimir Bulgaria
185 Eisel Bernhard Austria
186 Haselbacher Rene Austria
187 Wrolich Peter Austria
188 Dean Julian New Zealand
189 Henderson Greg New Zealand
190 MacMaster Fraser New Zealand
191 Hushovd Thor Norway
192 Kvasina Matija Croatia
193 Machado Perez Honorio Venezuela
... even though neither Michael Barry nor Christian Vandevelde took the start. And the same goes for Lithuania's Mindaugas Goncaras.
1105 CEST - We join the race in progress as, after two laps (43 kms) and about one hour of racing, a comparatively unknown rider such as Krasimir Vassiliev of Bulgaria is on a solo breakaway, with solo chaser Juan Carlos Lopez Martin of Colombia trailing by 01'13". But we have a U.S. rider on the spotlight already, as Saul Raisin broke away from the field on an uphill section, along with Kazakh Dmitriy Muravyev. The guys are some 03'45" down on Vassiliev at the end of lap two. The peloton let all aforementioned athletes go, and crossed the line for the second time more than seven minutes behind the Bulgarian escapee. All the big guns are unsurprisingly taking it easy at the moment.
1120 CEST - Update from the roads of Madrid, with Krassimir Vassiliev in the lead, while Colombia's López Martin was caught by Saul Raisin and Dmitri Muravyev, then comes the field, that hasn't put in any real serious chasing efforts so far. We can see riders from several different nations (from France to Britain, from Germany to Portugal, etc.) in front of the bunch at the moment. It looks like none of the main teams resolved to make things hard for the sprinters right from the start. Krassimir the Bulgarian is leading the chasing trio by 02'02" halfway through lap three, with the peloton a further 06'10" behind, e.g. 08'12" down on our man Vassiliev. By the way, it's a sunny day in Spain's capital city.
1125 CEST - The chasing trio is working well together, and this is not much of a surprise as Raisin and Muravyev know each other very well, as even if they are wearing different jerseys today, both guys usually wear the white and green jersey of France's Crédit Agricole trade team.
1130 CEST - Krassimir, the man from Bulgaria (who has spent most of his career on the Portuguese cycling scene though), crossed the line for the third time, clocking a time of 01'31"39. His three chasers, Muravyev, Raisin and López Martin, slightly cut the gap down to 01'57".
1137 CEST - While getting closer to the end of lap three, the bunch started to stretch a little bit, with a couple Germans at the front. They still look far from starting a real chase, but also look like they're having enough of losing plenty of time to Vassiliev as well as Raisin, Muravyev and López Martin.
1142 CEST - But still, they lost quite a good amount of time in this third lap, as the gap ballooned to 11'42". The bunch was driven to the line by Matias Medici of Argentina, the revelation of last Thursday's Elite Men ITT, as the South American made the top 10, threading his way among much better-known riders.
1145 CEST - The Italians are taking it easy in the middle the field at the moment. With guys like Alessandro Petacchi and Paolo Bettini in the line-up, and a "coach on the road" such as Giovanni Lombardi - who's racing on "home roads" as he's based in Madrid and knows Paseo de La Castellana and the nearby streets very very well, they might well be regarded as the ones to beat. And no doubt many a good teams will try and make things hard for the Squadra Azzurra as the race progresses.
1150 CEST - Some 200k to go, and Krassimir Vassiliev of Bulgaria continues to lead the race, while Saul Raisin of the U.S., Dmitryi Muravyev of Kazakhstan and Juan Carlos López Martín of Colombia continue their chase. Two British riders are driving the (a little bit more stretched out) filed.
1152 CEST - FOUR RIDERS IN THE LEAD NOW! As Vassiliev was caught (or sat down and waited for) Raisin, Muravyev and Colombia's López Martín.
1205 CEST - Two hours of racing gone, and many more to go. Saul Raisin (USA), Krassimir Vassiliev (Bulgaria), Juan Carlos López Martín (Colombia) and Dmitry Muravyev (Kazakhstan) are the four guys on the breakaway, now reaching the feed zone, with the peloton regrouped following minutes - and minutes and minutes and minutes - adrift, but still apparently keeping the situation under control.
1210 CEST - Over the last half an hour or so, we've seen Kanstantsin Sioutsou of Belarus ride tempo at the front of the bunch many a good times. The man won the World Title last year in the U23 Men Road Race, but - notably - is now a professional rider with the Fassa Bortolo team. Which - what a coincidence - is the same trade team as Alessandro Petacchi's. We are starting to suspect that Sioutsou is not going for the rainbow this time, but rather working for someone else...
1215 CEST - While the skies over Madrid are getting cloudy, the job done by the U.K. and Belarusian riders at the front of the bunch apparently brought fruit as the peloton managed to bring the gap to the four leaders "down" to 09'24" at the end of lap four. Even if the fact Krassimir Vassiliev arguably slowed down his pace in order to wait for Raisin, Muravyev and López Martín might well have played a part in that.
1218 CEST - Steffen Wesemann of Switzerland drops off the back of the bunch, takes a few bottles for his teammates and then gets back into the middle of the peloton. Ok, we know this is NOT news usually, but in such circumstances, with nothing worthy of mention currently happening, it might even be...
1225 CEST - El Sol quickly made its way back and kicked the clouds out of the streets of Madrid during lap five, while Saul Raisin, Dmitry Muravyev, Juan Carlos López Martín and Krassimir Vassiiliev keep working well together, and keep the lead of the race.
1233 CEST - The four-strong (and multinational) escape group got the finish line for the fifth time - which means ... 105 km. gone, 168k to go, right? -, clocking a time of 02h32'56", and averaging a speed of 41.194 km/h. Saul Raisin, Dmitry Muravyev, Juan Carlos López Martín and Krassimir Vassiiliev covered the last lap in 29'47", in an average speed of more than 42 kph in this case. While riders from Britain and Belarus (again) and Argentina and Germany, as well as some guy from Slovenia, are seen at the front of the bunch, that's still trailing the leaders by about nine minutes.
1242 CEST - A Spanish rider (arguably Alejandro Valverde) had a flat, and close to the whole local team stopped and waited and comfortably paced him back into the peloton, that just made it to the line, with a gap of 09'05" to the four leaders. Who, at their turn, are now tackling the first uphill section of lap six.
1247 CEST - The Colombian national squad is coached - as usual - by Gianni "The Prince" Savio, whom many fans know better as the coach of the Selle Italia-Colombia trade team, and as one of the most "attacking" coaches on the cycling scene. In such circumstances, it's not a surprise to have a young Colombian like Lopez Martín (a last-minute replacement to better-known Ardila Cano) on the move in this early part of the race...
1249 CEST - Regardless of the efforts put in by the British, Slovenian and Argentine riders, the bunch is making very small gains on Raisin and the three other escapees. The gap hovers around 08'30".
1253 CEST - The peloton, currently led by two British riders and as many guys from Argentina, with a Belarusian man and a Canadian on their wheels, is currently keeping the situation under control anyway.
1300 CEST So - once again - here's the situation after three hours of racing and seven laps gone. Krassimir Vassiliev of Bulgaria, Juan Carlos Lopez Martín of Colombia, Saul Raisin of the USA and Dmitry Muravyev of Kazakhstan are in the lead. 'Twas the Bulgarian who started the fireworks very early into the race, with the Colombian starting a solo chase of him. Then Raisin and Muravyev, usually teammates at Credit Agricole, sneaked out of the field and joined the South-American. And the three caught Vassiliev during lap five. And the guys are currently working well together. And the peloton? After the gap went up to close to a dozen minutes, they finally put in some kind of reaction and cut it down to about eight and a half minutes, with athletes from Britain, Argentina, Slovenia and Belarus being very active at the front. Teams like Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Australia apparently saved their legs for the second half of the race instead.
1310 CEST - The bunch, led by Borrajo and Medici of Argentina as well as Southam and Wegelius of the UK, made to the line for the seventh time too. They were far from riding at a blistering pace, but nonetheless managed to bring the gap down to 07'49" (the time set by the four escapees at the end of the seventh lap was 03h03'27", btw).
1315 CEST - Interesting and surprising to see the Great Britain squad so active at the front of the peloton. Tom Southam and Charlie Wegelius have been doing a lot of work for the Union Jack clad team. Roger Hammond fancies his chances today, but even our...British staff sounded surprised to see the team do so much work.
1316 CEST - A Colombian dropped as the road tilts upward! Strange, but true. Juan Carlos Lopez Martin couldn't follow the tempo set by Raisin, Vassiliev and Muravyev as they hit the first ascent in lap eight. So it's three guys as frontrunners now, with the Britain-led peloton seven and a half minutes adrift.
13:25 CEST - Absolutely perfect racing conditions in Sunny Spain today. The course has been criticised as being too "easy" but the distance, heat and pace will, of course, prove selective and we will, as always, have a worthy Champion. The gap to the three leaders gradually dropping, they have 6 minutes advantage over the peloton now.
13:35 CEST - Interesting to see Saul Raisin in the leading trio. He crashed in training last week but has clearly fully recovered. Considering the parcours it is very surprising that George Hincapie decided not to ride for the USA team, it may well have favoured his style.
With Raisin up the road it means that the rest of the USA Team, and Rodriguez and Trenti in partcular, can have an easy ride in the bunch.
13:40 CEST - Its all 7's. At the end of lap 7 the three leaders have an advantage of around 7 minutes on the peloton. The peloton still very relaxed and compact and still Medici, Wegelius and Southam control the pace of the peloton.
14:00 CEST - 5 laps to go Raisin and Muravyev now lead the race, they cross the finish line after 8 laps still looking quite fresh considering the effort they have made so far.
14:10 CEST - the peloton cross the finish line and the gap is 6 minutes exactly to the two leaders.
14:12 CEST - No surprise that Tom Southam, after doing a huge amount of work, has abandoned, as has Martin who was in the early break.
14:17 CEST - Still Muraveyv and Raisin working together at a steady and fast tempo up front, with the peloton keeping things in check. If we're gonna see some exciting riding here today we could expect things to break loose in a round or two. Raisin has a very round back because of scoliosis, apparently.
14:25 CEST - 5'28" for Raisin and Muraveyv still. And here comes an attack! The Spaniards are taking hold of the race. Tino Zaballa makes a move with Blanco in his wheel, and Bettini behind them; finally some excitement in this race! Virtually all the Spaniards and (climbing) Italians move to the front now, and they're really pulling here! This will hurt the legs of some lesser riders in the peloton, and take a minute or more from the leaders. A little gap between the front and the middle of the peloton opens; the Spaniards are still pulling hard on that climb, It's Blanco now! Ladies and gentlemen, we've got a race!
14:30 CEST - With the gap at 04'52" the Spanish team closely marked by the Italians are trying to cause some damage to the peloton, which has strung out like a long multi coloured multi national ribbon. The gap between the front and the middle of the bunch is getting a little bigger; Petacchi is in the back group but things seem to be coming back together. So, we had an offensive move by the Spaniards, which was countered by the Italians, but Petacchi wasn't there, and his big opponent Robbie McEwen did make the front cut there...a sign of things to come?
14:32 CEST - Now comes a move from Dutchie Posthuma, on the flat part after the climb. He had a disappointing ITT earlier this week, and will probably want to show that it was just one day off, but the man also has had a good season so far. And when the Italians slowed the pace at the front to allow Petacchi to rejoin, he took his chance to attack.
14:37 CEST - One of our Iranian friends, Abbas, still at the the back of the group. Good show. While Posthuma is joined by Mancebo, Pozzato, Fischer and Efemkin, and a Brazilian called Nascimento. The two leaders are at the ninth passage at the finish now, let's wait and see how far the peloton is still behind ... Posthuma and Co. have been caught, in the meantime. 03'40" is Raisin and Muravyev's lead, with 4 laps to go. Spaniards, Italians and a lone German at the front of the peloton, and the pace again drops out of the bunch, which ebbs and flows like a strange multi coloured sea. Now they are a calm sea, and again fill the road as the riders wait, or plan for the next attack.
14:40 CEST - 03'24" left for Saul and Dmitry, as we're slowly nearing the 200km mark, which means that we'll start to see guys breaking now. In the meantime, Britain's Charly Wegelius has abandoned the race.
14.45 CEST - The lead of Saul Raisin and his Kazakh buddy is hovring around three minutes, while Petrov and Adrle ddropped out of the race, and brave Vassiliev hasn't abandoned yet, by the way! Go Vasilev!
14.46 CEST - Time for some transfer news; Nicholas Sanderson is set to join to Davitamon Lotto, Steve Morabita & Dmytro Grabovskyy probably Saunier Duval, Eduardo Gonzalez will go to Agritubel and the transfer of José Luis Arrieta to Ag2r is now completed.
1448 CEST - Bad news now: Kassimir "the Brave" Vassiliev eventually pulled out of the race. Sergei Ivanov of Russian is leading the bunch instead. And the two leaders retain a 02"09 advantage, they're naturally beginning to tire now. Italians are near the front of the race too, and Olympic Gold medalist Bettini is always near the front keeping is sharp eye on affairs. As we hit the climb again, Petacchi moves to the front part of the bunch to avoid getting "dropped" (so to speak) like it was the last time they were here.
The leaders' gap is down to a minute. The pace is gradually getting faster, we said earlier the peloton was like a sea and now the blue wedge at the front confirms this impression, which is broken by a flurry of attacks, which strings the peloton into one long line.
Here come more attacks: it's Spain's Zaballa, Beligum's Devolder and a French guy; this is an interesting move, but
more riders are coming back, and perhaps it might need an Italian to be really successful. Bettini perhaps?
15:00 CEST - Now Bettini and some 10 other riders are about call the the escapees to order, with the gap down to 47". Il Grillo himself heads the peloton which is now all back together, but in one long line. Bettini's looking very strong today. Paolo Bettini: it looks like he is out on his Sunday morning run, very relaxed, very confident, he has been in the top twenty riders nearly all race, wathing like a hawk - indeed he is more Hawk than Cricket today.
In the meantime an Uzbek rider usually racing in the Elite-2 class, Denis Shkarpeta, has a go at making a move. He catches the 2 leaders, so it's Shkarpeta, Raisin and Muravyev at the front now. But the bunch is on their heels.
Max van Heeswijk is hanging on in last position in the peloton ... and some in our staff thinks the Dutch sprinter isn't going to become world champ today. Also as Max had a little flu last week, and that is not a good sign. But we'll see ...
1505 CEST - Aussies and Belgians finally seen at the front of the group as Raisin (a brave ride by the youngster who will have Tyler Farrar as a flat mate next year down on the french Med, and their future looks bright for 2006) and Muravyev get caught. Shkarpeta is on a small solo lead. Basically we now have 3 teams that want a mass sprint up front, and only the Spaniards look strong enough the pull something off ...
1510 CEST - Estonia's Jaan Kirsipuu abandons, and Brazilian Luciano Pagliarini might well do the same soon. Kirsipuu is one of those riders who is awesome under 200km, but seldom does well over 200km.
1511 CEST - Shakrpeta was reeled in, and the next riders to have a shot at breaking away is France's Christophe Kern, part of a team bsically with no leaders, so with close to all riders free to make their one moves. But the Australians are not keen on French Independence and they pick up the pace at the front of the race, keeping the Alsatian only a few seconds ahead of the bunch.
1514 CEST - And as we "soothsayers" told you he was going to do soon, brand new Saunier Duval rider Pagliarini Mendonca of Brazil just gave up the fight. He's no longer in the bunch.
1518 CEST - Here comes the Spaniards: Zaballa attacks again. He's pulling the entire bunch up to kern, that can't have been the point. Aha, another Spaniard attacks now! Pereiro! And this is a serious attack. Every time the road goes uphill Zaballa has a dig, and as the peloton responds; Kern is pulled back and Pereiro counters. Go go Pereiro, he's being joined by a Danish rider now -it is Jakob Piil. Piil and Pereiro in the lead. Piil had great form in the Vuelta before he crashed out. Oscar Pereiro - looking for ... er an Oscar) and Piil gain a small advantage on the peloton.
1520 CEST - Some disruption in the peloton now. They start to split as they chase the dynamic duo of Pereiro and Piil, the rocking "P"'s . They built an 18-second lead.
1521 CEST - Attack Weining, with Bettini in his wheel. Perdiguero attacks. A group with Bettini, Gilbert, Calcagni, Lagutin, Davis and Perdiguero behind the two leaders. That's a very interesting group. Wegmann in front now too. Piil and Pereiro caught. A lot of riders making the jump to the first group now, it's getting really interesting.
1525 CEST - Valverde in front as well. Spain now has two riders in the lead group with Pereiro and Perdiguero, so 12 leaders. A Ukrainain on the move now ... it's Grivko. Are the Italians losing control of the race? They have Bettini up front, and Pozzato and Paolini won't ride behind him if it comes to it.
1527 CEST - Devolder there too. Three Spaniards now then. It's getting more interesting but this can't be what the Italians want. Things were going well for Bettini, until Valverde got into that group. A very useful little group, 12 leaders with two Spanish riders making the pace, Bettini seems to be continuing his policing role, but with Valverde and his 2 team mates it's looking very dangerous for those riders not in this break.
1528 CEST - And now the top sprinters are suddenly in a bind! And now The Cricket has to stay on the wheels of the Spaniards. Who's gonna ride now? Coperation is not good in the leading group... But such team tactics by the strong Spanish team don't come as a surprise after all.
39 seconds the gap. So Spain has both their team leaders at the front of the race. The Dutch have to ride - nobody in front.
1530 CEST - With basically no top sprinters in the line-up, all the Spaniards have to do is make things harder for the fastmen's teams like Italy and Australia, and that's what they're doing.
On paper Davis is the fastest. 39 seconds for: Pereiro, Wegmann, Piil, Lagutin, Perdiguero, Davis, Valverde, Gilbert, Devolder, Bettini, followed by Valverde and MAMP (Perdiguero) and Grivko.
52 seconds now. Bettini on the radio asking what to do - but he has no choice but to follow the flying Spaniards... he doesn't like seeing three Spaniards and two Belgians, with him the only Italian in the group. So now we have Bettini, Davis, Devolder and Gilbert who can speculate on a sprinter behind them. Kolobnev in contra-attack.
1532 CEST - 30 seconds between leaders and peloton. The Spaniards have delighted us with so many great moves over the latest edition of the World Champs, and they're up to the task this time too.
Devolder, Davis and Bettini are all looking ridiculously strong - they're riding with their hands on their bars. The peloton at 1.02.
1534 CEST - 2 laps to go. Wegmann won the big race in San Francisco recently. He's got good form.
A lot of talking in at the front of the peloton now, the sprinters are getting nervous. And Valverde....he's there again. Good show. The French in lead of the bunch at 1.14.
Yes, surprisingly for a nation that specialises in stage races and has very few one day races on its calender, Spain have been awesome in the World championships over the last 10 years: Olano, Freire (three times) and Astarloa all holding the rainbow jersey. Kolobnev, Grivko and Calcagni between the leaders and bunch at 55 seconds. Uzbekistan's Lagutin (World U23 Champ in 2003) is sitting at the back of the leading group. Abandon Van Heeswijk.
1537 CEST - Davis isn't doing a meter of work in the group, Bettini and the Belgians take a short turn from time to time though. Well, well....mass sprint? It's not looking so certain anymore now. Cruz and Vasseur for France leading the peloton, Spain, with three riders in the front group looking for home victory, now have 1'12 on the peloton. The French armada in full strength at the front of the peloton - they should get some help from the Dutch.
1540 CEST - Allan Davis is a sprinter, he's a Liberty Seguros sprinter. And he's not doing much work up front... interesting. Still under 25, though, very experienced and getting better every race. He's not doing any work, even. 36 km to go.
1542 CEST - Looks like he doesn't have to... letting the Spaniards do the work.
52 seconds, the lead is dropping slightly under impulse of the French team. Valverde has had words and now the front men are starting to work together a bit, or else the French will make the Connection. Valverde is doing a lot of work in that group, he might have already decided to work for Perdiguero, as he didn't have much racing rhythm for the worlds.
1544 CEST - Moerenhout goes. 28 seconds the gap. Mancebo is trying to chase down Moerenhout. Moerenhout gets Mancebo and Pozzato with him - they'll probably try to shut down the escape. Boonen moving along too, maybe trying to put the pressure on the Spaniards on front? He can do it in an escape and in the sprint, as he's shown this season.
Devolder and Boonen together in the front group would be a very tough combo. 17 seconds now.
Yeah, when they meet each other in the classics they usually destroy each other.
1546 CEST - Mancebo, Pozzato, Moerenhout, Fisher and Rutkiewicz in the contra-attack - the five chasers (Moerenhout and Co) are close to the lead group now, and even the peloton isn't far behind.
1548 CEST - The peloton is back with the Mancebo group. 15 seconds for the leaders while Pereiro is dropped in front. Bettini attacks! Davis dropped. Wegmann chased down Bettini. Bettini is destroying everyone but Wegmann.
A multi national assortment of national flags around the circuit today, as the peloton regroups and the lead group thins with Bettini's attack - the hawk remembers he is a cricket and makes a huge jump.
1550 CEST - So, conclusion: Bettini gets rid of Valverde and Perdiguero, and Davis, should he want to. He's put his cards on the table. Wegmann is a solid climber, and a really powerful one day rider as well. The difference in gear between Bettini and Wegmann is big...This looks like Armstrong/Ullrich with this difference in gear ratio...5 chasers now at 100 meters off Bettini and Fabian.
1551 CEST - 7 leaders again - the Belgians, Spaniards and the Dane are back with Bettini and Wegmann, so it's Bettini, Wegmann, Piil, Valverde, Perdiguero, Gilbert and Devolder.
1552 CEST - The peloton at 20 seconds. Bettini probably didn't really want to lose his companions yet anyway...he'd be much better off to keep them with him for a while longer That's a solid group there. Kaschechkin trying to make the jump from the peloton to the leaders - he and Menchov in the pursuit now.
1555 CEST - 28 km to go. If Bettini had dropped the Belgian and Spanish duo just then, he would have had 2 extra teams ride after the break. So he wants to keep them with them until near the end. Right now he has all the big teams apart from the Aussies with him. The Frenchies again in the lead of the peloton.
Another attack from Moerenhout in the peloton but the Italians jump his wheel. Menchov and Kaschecnkin form an Eastern Alliance in no man's land in an effort to bridge the gap to the 7 leaders. Kaschechkin and Menchov chased down
The Spaniards have a dilemma: they need this situation (an attack) but they already know Bettini is stronger...what to do, what to do? They will have to anticipate.
This race is turning out to be interesting after all... 25 seconds advantage now. Michael Rogers, the world time trial champ (again), is doing some work at the front of the peloton for Australia. The peloton has split under the pressure of the race. Piil attacks again.
1558 CEST - 19 seconds the difference now. The last 600 meters before going into the final lap.
1600 CEST - So who will attack on this last climb? Other than Bettini, that is... Bettini is single-handedly riding towards Piil and everyone but Wegmann is simply dropped.
Last lap now. These guys are just glad they are near Bettini anymore. Piil chased down, Australia leads the bunch at 15 seconds. Piil hears the bell first, Bettini pulls him back and the 7 leaders are back together with the peloton at 15 seconds. Are we going to a final royal sprint?
Now the Australians are riding in the peloton with the Belgians near, they're getting edgy with a superior Bettini up front. Perdiguero attacks.
1602 CEST - Bettini counters! He was playing with Perdi...but again 7 leaders. Huge crowds cheer the 7 riders on and Piil again attacks! Gilbert counters.
1604 CEST - Wegmann in pursuit now. Gilbert brings him back, Wegmann tries to bridge. Piil actually was climbing well (for him) in the Vuelta this year... he might be able to handle this climb coming up. Piil and Gilbert are both excellent finishers. What would Bettini be doing now?
Wait for the Squadra and play all on Alejet? I don't know, Wegmann is getting to the two leaders so Bettini might not be far back. 3 leaders now while Wegmann is hanging in there too. Abandon Cretskens.
1606 CEST - He could force the Spaniards to ride now, though. 7 seconds the gap. And more Aussie superstuff in the peloton. The bettini group caught by bunch - they're putting up an insane pace. Aussies and Italians leading the pace.
Wegmann joins Gilbert and Piil, who have just 7 seconds on the Oz-led peloton. All together now, gruppo compatto. So, Bettini lost his chance...I'd lay money that Fast Freddy is sitting on McEwen's wheel in the peloton...
1608 CEST - So, back to basics now: Petacchi, Boonen, McEwen, but what a nice race we've just been seeing. Vogels leading the long string of the peloton, now the Italians come through.
One could say that the problem in the lead group was that Bettini was too strong - he scared the others. Bernucci and Lombardi in the lead. Bernucci is making a tremendous pace on the climb to smother all attacks. Moreni is coming too.
1610 CEST - The Australian train is looking very impressive. Does McEwen have a contract yet?
Nope. He'll stay with Davitamon, I'm sure though. He just wants to drive a hard bargain, and a rainbow jersey would be a powerful negotiation means.
Another subplot, that...
The peloton spilt up in 2 parts. McEwen and Boonen attentively up front. Vino is there still...you never know with him.
1612 CEST - Too bad the U-turn is now an O-Turn, otherwise good for Robbie or Vino. Vino thwarted the sprinters on the big stage at the Tour finale - McEwen and Hushovd. But there were only 2 real sprinters left then. 12 km to go. Petacchi still in the first group.
1615 CEST - The peloton down to about 45 riders, one climb to go, tension mounts across Europe as Australia lead the way. Guys like Van Petegem are now only getting into it, when others are running on an empty tank. They've still got to get over that climb, which will cull the weak from the herd. Kroon attacks and there's a lot of punch behind that attack! And who counters? BETTINI! Now Dean goes on with Bettini, Leukemans, Vinokourov.
1616 CEST - Vino attacks. The peloton strings out again as Bettini puts the pressure on. Bettini and Leukemans catch him - Vino counters. So three men up front now, Vino, Bettini and Leukemans. Less than 10 km to go.
1618 CEST - Boogerd is coming. Bettini, Boogerd, Vinokourov, Serrano, Leukemans, Nuyens, Elmiger and others. You can tell by the sunlight glinting off of his teeth... yep, it's Boogerd. And another attack from Vino! Caught again. About 15 riders in front.
Julian Dean, the sprinter from New Zealand is in there, but the peloton is not far. Moerenhout goes again. Moerenhout is a stud.
1620 CEST - The peloton is not far behind, but who's riding? Vino attacks again. Moerenhout caugt by Stanbgelj with Vino coming up. Vino is there. And look who's coming to dinner too: Bettini! For the 50th time. Dean dropped. Vino goes again.
1621 CEST - If they let Vino ride, he's world champ. Boogerd and Bettini riding after Vinokourov. How many times has Boogerd pulled Bettini to the finish?! in LBL and whatnot. Boogerd tells Bettini to ride now and he just drops Boogerd!
1623 CEST - This is a battle, whoa!!! Vino vs. Bettini vs. Boogerd, and where did the peloton go?
About 4 km to go 3 leaders - Vino, Boogerd and Bettini. Boogerd is now digging deep, he is mining in an effort to catch Vino.
1625 CEST - Boogerd and Bettini sounds familiar - this is a worthy group for a world champs podium, but it's not over yet! Serrano, Stangelj and Moerenhout there too. 6 leaders: 2 Dutchmen, an Italian, a Khazakh, a Spaniard and a Slovenian. The peloton isn't far behind, but too far to win, I reckon. The Belgians are chasing for Boonen, the lead 8 seconds. 8 sec on a 2nd group with the Belgiums Vino goes again! Flamme Rouge!
1627 CEST - But the 6 men are back together. Vino and Bettini first through the turn. The peloton will catch them. Stangelj goes. The peloton is coming, but not fast enough I think.
They're there! It becomes a sprint, about 25 riders now.
Strange sprint now, Valverde goes, Boonen after him, Boonen comes, BOONEN, BOONEN WINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Boonen!!
Valverde 2nd. Where was Petacchi?! Petacchi was in a 3rd peloton... That's what happens when you don't have to spend your year working for Armstrong, eh?
What a mighty sprint: Boonen the only sprinter strong enough to take on the distance, pace AND the sprint. Geslin 3rd.
BOONEN WORLD CHAMPION!! Whew, what a phenonenon and what a season. An old-fashioned rider who wins from April through July to September.
Boonen came down the final straight like the avenging angel; Geslin and Valverde had no answers to the questions he posed and he has achieved something that even Eddy Merckx could not do - win the World Champs in Madrid.
The new Rik Van Looy?! No McEwen in sight, no Petacchi....
Doesn't he have some sort of surgery scheduled?
Yeah, he's gonna have that problem of last season completely corrected. He wasn't gonna ride Paris-Tours but I think he'll want to show off his jersey now.
I hope he does. Not bad for a guy ready to go into the hospital. And who peaks three times a season. Interesting is that guys like Valverde and Boonen come through purely on talent
Well, great race for Valverde... on the attack for a long time, and he still had it to come in 2nd at the finish. Another silve medal for him. Boonen and Valverde again give hope for the future of cycling, highly talented young riders who have proved to be the best in the world. Boonen says it's "More than I could have dreamed of." The new king of one-day racing, for sure now.
Valverde talking to Boonen. Geslin a surprise number three. That is a great finish for him. But I think Boonen now completely rises to papacy in Belgium now. He won't retire... he'll just bodily ascend into heaven, like Moses.
What made Boonen's victory more impressive was how he must have held his nerve over the final kilometres and adjudged his effort perfectly - it took composure to measure his efforts so precisely.
Lots of happy Belgians are chanting "Tom! Tom! Tom!" at the finish. All three riders receive enormous cheers from the crowd as they are introduced on the podium. And two world titles for Quick-Step in one week (time trial winner Rogers will move to T-Mobile but is still from Q-Step).
Now the Belgian anthem plays and the three flags are raised.
The three men are all smiles on the podium - Valverde and Boonen heave their bouquets far out into the crowd, demonstrating that they have no future in baseball. Keep your elbow up, guys... follow through, c'mon. (Only joking.)
I think today proved that Petacchi and McEwen are still 'sprinters' and not top champs...if that makes sense.
But Petacchi did win MSR, which is special. Now Boonen needs to take Milan-San Remo.
Well, it has been a fascinating week of racing in Madrid, and now we look forward to the final ProTour races of the season. Thanks for being with us!
Commentary today by Bart Hazen of Cyclingfx.nl, Fabio, podofdonny, Jan Janssens and Locutus!
1 Boonen Tom Bel 6:26:10
2 Valverde Belmonte Alejandro Esp m.t.
3 Geslin Anthony Fra m.t.
4 Ljungqvist Marcus Swe m.t.
5 Fischer Murilo Bra m.t.
6 Piil Jakob Den m.t.
7 Kolobnev Alexandr Rus m.t.
8 Klier Andreas Ger m.t.
9 Dean Julian Nzl m.t.
10 Elmiger Martin Sui m.t.
11 Brajkovic Janez Slo m.t.
12 Wesemann Steffen Sui m.t.
13 Bettini Paolo Ita m.t.
14 Rast Grégory Sui m.t.
15 Dekker Thomas Ned m.t.
16 Zaballa Gutierrez Constantino Esp
17 Moerenhout Koos Ned m.t.
18 Boogerd Michael Ned m.t.
19 Brochard Laurent Fra m.t.
20 Stangelj Gorazd Slo m.t.
21 Vinokurov Alexandr Kaz m.t.
22 Serrano Rodriguez Marcos a. Esp
23 Trenti Guido Usa m.t.
24 Menshov Denis Rus +0:10
25 Aerts Mario Bel +0:11
26 Nuyens Nick Bel +0:21
27 Leukemans Björn Bel +0:23
28 Usov Alexandre Blr +0:25
29 Zabel Erik Ger m.t.
30 Mcewen Robbie Aus m.t.
31 Murn Uros Slo m.t.
32 Haselbacher Rene Aut m.t.
33 Clerc Aurélien Sui m.t.
34 Van Petegem Peter Bel
35 Petacchi Alessandro Ita m.t.
36 Borrajo Alejandro Alberto Arg
37 Kvasina Matija Cro m.t.
38 Lagutin Sergey Uzb m.t.
39 Bak Lars Ytting Den
40 Hruska Jan Cze m.t.
41 Hammond Roger Gbr m.t.
42 Khalilov Mykhailo Ukr m.t.
43 Valach Jan Svk m.t.
44 Wadecki Piotr Pol m.t.
45 Rutkiewicz Marek Pol m.t.
46 Gusev Vladimir Rus m.t.
47 Le Mevel Christophe Fra m.t.
48 Martin Perdiguero Miguel a. Esp
49 Tankink Bram Ned m.t.
50 Pereiro Sio Oscar Esp m.t.
51 Nazon JeanPatrick Fra m.t.
52 Kroon Karsten Ned m.t.
53 Kostyuk Denys Ukr m.t.
54 Pozzato Filippo Ita m.t.
55 George David Rsa m.t.
56 Flecha Giannoni Juan Antonio Esp m.t.
57 Devolder Stijn Bel m.t.
58 Kashechkin Andrey Kaz m.t.
59 Rodriguez Freddie Usa m.t.
60 Posthuma Joost Ned m.t.
61 Ivanov Serguei Rus m.t.
62 Astarloa Askasibar Igor Esp m.t.
63 Velo Marco Ita m.t.
64 Aldag Rolf Ger m.t.
65 Weening Pieter Ned m.t.
66 Tosatto Matteo Ita m.t.
67 Chavanel Sylvain Fra m.t.
68 Mancebo Perez Francisco Esp m.t.
69 Blanco Rodriguez David Esp m.t.
70 Wrolich Peter Aut +0:43
71 Van Bon Leon Ned m.t.
72 Davis Allan Aus +1:12
73 Paolini Luca Ita +1:16
74 Efimkin Vladimir Rus +1:46
75 Scanlon Mark Irl +2:37
76 Lövkvist Thomas Swe +2:45
77 Gilbert Philippe Bel m.t.
78 Hesjedal Ryder Can +4:18
79 Soeiro Pedro Por +4:50
80 Perry James Lewis Rsa m.t.
81 Wauters Marc Bel m.t. m.t.
82 Calcagni Patrick Sui +5:04
83 Rogers Michael Aus +5:06
84 Lombardi Giovanni Ita m.t.
85 Prazdnovsky Martin Svk +5:19
86 Lieswyn John Usa m.t.
87 Gerrans Simon Aus +5:25
88 Cooke Baden Aus m.t.
89 Gourov Maxim Kaz m.t.
90 Nuritdinov Rafael Uzb m.t.
91 Jaksche Jörg Ger m.t.
92 Vasseur Cédric Fra m.t.
93 Duque Leonardo Fabio Col m.t.
94 Vogels Henk Aus m.t.
95 Zarebski Jaroslaw Pol m.t.
96 Huzarski Bartosz Pol m.t.
97 Wegmann Fabian Ger m.t.
98 Zberg Markus Sui m.t.
99 Svorada Jan Cze m.t.
100 Bencik Petr Cze m.t.
101 Hayman Mathew Aus m.t.
102 Mizourov Andrey Kaz m.t.
103 Cox Ryan Rsa m.t.
104 Mc Leod Ian Rsa
105 Bennati Daniele Ita m.t.
106 Beuchat Roger Sui m.t.
107 Mugerli Matej Slo m.t.
108 Bongiorno Guillermo Ruben Arg m.t.
109 Bernucci Lorenzo Ita m.t.
110 Eisel Bernhard Aut m.t.
111 Bäckstedt Magnus Swe m.t.
112 Wiggins Bradley Gbr m.t.
113 Da Cruz Carlos Fra m.t.
114 Casper Jimmy Fra m.t.
115 Hushovd Thor Nor m.t.
116 Fothen Markus Ger +7:03
117 Kessler Matthias Ger m.t.
118 Yakovlev Sergey Kaz m.t.
119 Kern Christophe Fra +7:05
120 Belohvosciks Raivis Lat +9:50
121 Laverde Luis Felipe Col m.t.
122 Kirchen Kim Lux + 10:43.
123 Cancellara Fabian Sui + 10:45
124 Radosz Robert Pol +12:51
125 Fukushima Shinichi Jpn +12:56
126 Riska Martin Svk +14:45
127 Sabido Hugo Por +14:47
128 Neves Buno Por m.t.
129 Garrido Martin Arg +14:51
130 Mazur Peter Pol +14:55
131 Mahoric Mitja Slo +17:27
132 May Marcio Bra +19:10
133 Saramotins Aleksejs Lat +25:40
134 Green Rodney Rsa +27:10
135 Iijima Makoto Jpn +27:12
136 Sohrabi Mahdi Iri +27:1330
Cadel Aus DNF
30 Evans Cadel Aus DNF
47 Mc Carty Jonathan Patrick Usa DNF
48 McCartney Jason Usa DNF
58 Bazayev Assan Kaz DNF
172 McCann David Irl DNF
173 O’Loughlin David Irl DNF
180 Shkarpeta Denis Uzb DNF
194 Perras Dominique Can DNF
15 Lang Sebastian Ger DNF
16 Voigt Jens Ger DNF
56 Michaelsen Lars Den DNF
75 Albasini Michael Sui DNF
85 Grivko Andriy Ukr DNF
90 Cretskens Wilfried Bel DNF
126 Sharman Robin Gbr DNF
133 Sosenka Ondrej Cze DNF
143 Pires Bruno Por DNF
151 Abbas Saeiditanha Iri DNF
166 Fukushima Koji Jpn DNF
193 Machado Perez Honorio Ven DNF
33 Lancaster Brett Aus DNF
44 Van Heeswijk Max Ned DNF
49 Raisin Saul Usa DNF
53 Zajicek Philip Usa DNF
60 Iglinskiy Maxim Kaz DNF
63 Muravyev Dmitriy Kaz DNF
121 Fernandez Gerardo Arg DNF
135 Fernandes Mac Donald Bra DNF
139 Nicacio Pedro Bra DNF
140 Pagliarini Luciano André Bra DNF
141 Miranda Helder Por DNF
160 Balciunas Linas Ltu DNF
163 Kychinski Aliaksandr Blr DNF
164 Siutsou Kanstantsin Blr DNF
183 Gerganov Evgeni Bul DNF
190 Macmaster Fraser Nzl DNF
74 Petrov Evgeni Rus DNF
84 Kirsipuu Jaan Est DNF
120 Borrajo Anibal Andres Arg DNF
123 Medici Matias Arg DNF
124 Cummings Stephen Gbr DNF
130 Andrle René Cze DNF
159 Parisien Francois Can DNF
184 Vasilev Krasimir Bul DNF
68 Lopez Martin Juan Carlos Col DNF
113 Hauptman Andrej Slo DNF
128 Wegelius Charly Gbr DNF
138 Nascimento Antonio Xavier Bra DNF
156 Zargary Amir Iri DNF
162 Vaitkus Tomas Ltu DNF
127 Southam Tom Gbr DNF
189 Henderson Greg Nzl DNF
157 Barry Michael Can DNS
152 Askari Hossein Iri DNS
153 Kazemisarai Ahad Iri DNS
154 Mizbani Iranagh Ghader Iri DNS
161 Goncaras Mindaugas Ltu DNS
52 Vandevelde Christian Usa DNS