The Elite men started their 257.2km course from the middle of Melbourne, Victoria. A first for the World Racing Championships, starting in one city and finishing in another. The actual stage for the elite men started after riding out of Melbourne city, as they reached the Westgate bridge. The only time cyclists are allowed to cycling over the Westgate is for the Around the Bay event, and now the Worlds.
The 178 strong peloton travel from Melbourne 84.7kms before they join course circuit of 15.9kms and will race 11 laps around.
The peloton took it very easy through the neutral zone often looking at the sights and the Australian banners on the sidelines, and at the start on the Westgate bridge, Matthew Brammeier (Ireland) attacked straight as the start flag was dropped. Incidentally this year’s Worlds is the first time in history the red flag wasn’t used, an Australian flag was used. Brammeier was followed by Jackson Rodriguez (Venezuela), Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukraine) and Mohammed Said Elammoury (Morocco) forming a five man breakaway working together and putting time into the peloton with the gap extending out to over 5 minutes. The peloton was happy to see them go clear with none of the four being contenders.
The Spaniards took the lead of the peloton and the Australians were tucked into the middle of the peloton.
Esad Hasanovic (Serbia) attacked the peloton trying to bridge the gap to the breakaway, but the breakaways time gap jumped out to 16 minutes, his team car came up next to him and the conversation was quite animated, perhaps he was told to sit up and wait, though he didn’t do this, instead put his head down and drove towards the lead group.
The peloton has let the breakaway slip out to 20 minutes there is currently a lap time of around 23 minutes when they hit Geelong, which means they could lap the peloton, and the big names of the race wouldn’t be able to pull that lap back. Without any race radios, was the peloton aware of the lead?
The lead group has entered Geelong streets, the chasing rider Esad Hasanovic hasn’t reached the outskirts of Geelong yet still yoyoing in between the groups. The peloton still hasn’t responded with the gap still being 23 minutes.
As the lead group came over the first climb the gap was down to 22 minutes which will keep the peloton on the same lap, but not by much, by the time the leaders crested the second climb, with Rodriguez putting a few meters into the rest of the group, the peloton were 2kms into the circuit. So they are chasing but haven’t started reeling them back in.
As the peloton came over the first climb with a massive cheer from the crowd for our Aussie team the time was down to 20 minutes, so they have brought them back 2 minutes within a lap.
Mohammed Said Elammoury (Morocco) became a crowd favorite of the day, he was dropped over the last climb but is still hanging on, the next lap I thought he had retired but he was still there. Elammoury was getting a lot of encouragement from the crowd!
The Belgians were working together on the climbs and splitting the main group with a group of 25 riders going clear, as they went over the second climb they slowed their pace to allow the peloton to get back together but the Belgians showed their strength and cracks were forming the main peloton.
The chasing group was steadily closing the gap to the lead group, around 3 minutes a lap. The Belgians, Spaniards and Italians were organized on the front and are well drilled in keeping a hard and fast pace so no-one can attack and dropping riders until the main contenders are left. The main peloton has fractured a lot of the big names haven’t made the chasing group including Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) and Thor Hushovd (Norway) along with Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland).
It started to look like the peloton and chasing groups wouldn’t catch the breakaway with three laps down they still had a lead of 13 minutes but they were now suffering and the Italians and Spanish are driving the pace and now Australians were at the front. Stuart O’Grady (Australia) the team captain is again pulling the chasing group along much like he does at the Tour.
A select group of riders which contained Australia’s Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans and Stuart O’Grady, Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), Filippo Pozzato, Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) has broken away from the peloton and has brought the lead group back to 6 minutes down.
Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukraine), has attacked and only Diego Alejandro Tamayo Martinez responded and now Kvachuk has a 3 minute gap to Martinez and the chasing group is 4 minutes down. Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) has dropped out of the race; it’s turning into a classic race more than a sprint. Does Cadel Evans really have a chance? Next year’s course in Copenhagen certainly will suit him but our own Michael Matthews who won the U23 World Road Racing rainbow jersey will be on his wheel.
Gerrans and Goss have worked hard for Cadel today, covering moves and looking after him, Goss has been dropped this lap and has pulled out of the race.
Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) has attacked and caught Cadel off guard, Cadel has reacted, Cadel has fought to get back on and Nibali has attacked him again and pulled out a small margin over the elite group.
The lead group containing Nibali has Chris S?rensen (Denmark), Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Colombia), Giovanni Visconti (Italy), Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands). And the chasing group 22 seconds behind Nibali including, Filippo Pozzato (Italy), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), Tejay Van Garderen (United States of America), and Cadel Evans (Australia), have been joined by the groupetto of 32 riders. Thor Hushovd (Norway) has also joined this group.
Both groups have come back together at the base of the second climb, and Bj?rn Leukemans (Belgium) has attacked with Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) and Pozzato getting his wheel and Cadel bridges the gap not working together by the bell lap they are all back together all the big names are in it, Gilbert, Hushovd, Nibali, Pozzato, Evans, Schleck and S?rensen. There’s 15.9kms of racing left in this year’s World Road Racing Championships. Someone has to attack.
Cadel was sitting in the pack, not where he wants to be, Gilbert has attacked on the steepest section of the climb and Cadel was slow to respond, no-one has gone with him and he has a small break. Gilbert has extended his lead on the descent while Cadel, Schleck and Kolobnev have gone over the crest together. The gap has pushed out to 20 seconds on the second climb but Evans, Kolobnev, S?rensen, Schleck and Bj?rn Leukemans (Belgium) are working to reel him in.
Now with 5kms to go and slightly downhill, Evans has gone out on his own with Schleck on his wheel time trialing burying themselves and drawing Gilbert back in. The peloton has reeled them in, this is going to turn into a bunch sprint!
There’s a flurry of attacks to no avail the peloton are charging now, and with 1 km to go it’s a bunch sprint, this is now what I predicted.
Around the last corner, Hushovd has come from the peloton and started his sprint down the left hand side, the finish line kicks up, and Hushovd comes across the line and wins the 2010 World Road Racing Championship.
Matti Breschel (DEN) for silver and Australia’s Allan Davis (AUS) bronze.
“It is hard to understand that now I won at the worlds. It’s a dream and sometimes I feel it’s an unreal dream and now I’ve won it here in Geelong, Australia, so that was amazing, I’m speechless,” Hushovd said."I think it was still a perfect race."
Davis held off a late lunge from Italy’s Filippo Pozzato for the bronze medal.
“I’m the only one up on the podium but for sure it was a huge team effort, I thought we rode tactically brilliantly today. We had three guys in that main split there. Myself, I was just playing my cards on a small group finish, which it came down to. I knew [Oscar] Freire (ESP) was there, Thor [Hushovd] (NOR) was there so, like Thor said, there was Spain and Russia at the end controlled it,” Davis said.
“The bronze medal is something special definitely, here in Australia as well, it’s something that I’ll never forget and I’d like to thank all my teammates and all the staff as well, it’s been a huge success for us as an Australian team and for cycling in Australia.”
2010 UCI World Championships Elite Mens Road Race
1 Thor Hushovd (Norway) 6:21:49
2 Matti Breschel (Denmark)
3 Allan Davis (Australia)
4 Filippo Pozzato (Italy)
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)
6 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain)
7 Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation)
8 Assan Bazayev (Kazakhstan)
9 Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)
10 Romain Feillu (France)
11 Grega Bole (Slovenia)
12 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kazakhstan)
13 Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands)
14 Fabian Wegmann (Germany)
15 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Portugal)
16 Frank Schleck (Luxembourg)
17 Cadel Evans (Australia)
18 Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)
19 Niki Terpstra (Netherlands) + 0:00:07
20 Bj?rn Leukemans (Belgium)
99 from 172 riders completed the course
A big thankyou from BNA goes to Neil who spent time with us, taking photographs and getting us around the course to the best vantage points.
Photos ? Sirotti