Today we started by walking most of the circuit, the two hill climbs are as hard as expected and we expect a breakaway group to succeed. The 122 U23 riders will begin ride the 10x 15.9km circuit in pursuit of the rainbow jersey, and Taylor Phinney is the clear favorite to win.
During the race I spoke to a Australian official and he pointed to Michael Matthews spare bike and very quietly stated “look for him, he will win it”
We recount the race, lap for lap.
The riders set off from the start/finish line and after 2 kms, Ben King from (USA) the current USA National Champion made a move taking time on the peloton. The peloton made no reaction to the solo attempt.
After the first lap there was the first crash, as the road narrows a group of riders couldn’t negotiate the barriers went down. All the riders were on their bikes and riding again, the barriers were moved straight after this incident.
The first climb brought the peloton back together again after the crash, but King has put more time into the peloton. Ben is looking strong out in front and still pulling away. Ben King from Australia has launched an attack and broken away from the peloton with more riders breaking away, but he chase group was caught, King from Australia has attacked again.
The peloton on the bay
The peloton has settled into a rhythm and hasn’t made any attempt to chase down either King. Michel Koch (Germany) is at the front of the peloton with the rest of the German team they seem determined to get their man to the finish line.
King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong, China) has attacked the peloton and they haven’t reacted. King from USA is still powering away gaining time from King from AUS (are you confused yet whose king?)
King from AUS has started to pull back time in USA after the first lap with an average speed of 39 km/h. The peloton has been strung out after an attack of four on the descent. King USA has nearly 5 minutes on the peloton. We now started wondering if King USA is the nominated riders from USA and Phinney will work for him.
Moreno Moser (Italy) has caught the chase group and is working with them but the peloton is now chasing hard. King is still 3 minutes ahead of the chase group and the peloton is about to catch them.
Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eritrea) and Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Russian Federation) has attacked the peloton while both Kings have been caught and gone out the back.
Both the Eritrea and Viacheslav Kuznetsov have been caught by the peloton it looks like it could come down to a bunch sprint which goes against how we thought this race would play out.
The Aussie U23 team consolidates
The Australian team is now on the front of the peloton, driving it along, it’s an impressive sight. The surge from the Australians has strung the peloton out and dropped riders off the back. Going up the second climb the Australians have dropped more riders off the back.
The remaining peloton is only 1 minute down on the breakaway now, and looks like they will be caught shortly. N?lson Oliveira (Portugal) and Stefano Agostini (Italy) has made a earlier move on the peloton and put almost a minute into them.
Taylor Phinney is marking Luke Durbridge closely sitting on his wheel, easy to see why, both were head to head in the U23 time trial with Phinney winning out taking gold and the rainbow jersey.
Luke Durbridge, after sacrificing himself to keep Matthews in the top ten riders up the climb, has dropped back through the field, all the riders are being hit hard and cracking. Phinney and Matthews are still at the front of the group going over the climb.
We are at the final lap, and a breakaway group of 3 Adrian Honkisz (Poland), George Bennett (New Zealand) and Yannick Eijssen (Belgium) have gone from the peloton by about 100 meters but they can’t get away.
The peloton are moving around, they are going hard into the bottom of the climb for the last time, which is sure to hurt and drop a few more riders. Tony Gallopin (France) has hit them at the top of the climb and pulled out a small margin. The Australians are still looking strong and we are looking for Matthews towards the front of the group of 40 strong riders.
We know it’s going to come down to a sprint finish. Matthews is boxed in on the inside, Phinney is in there as well. He doesn’t want to start too early with a long hard climbing sprint.
Matthews has gone the French and Germans are chasing hard, Matthews is pulling away, he’s so strong, Matthews raises his hands ten meters before the line he pulled out so much in the last 50 meters.
Matthews has won taking the gold and rainbow jerseys, Australians in the crowd have gone crazy. Bling has won; he can’t believe it what an amazing ride.
John Degenkolb (Germany) has taken Silver and looking at video replays and the finish line photo, after deliberation and the first time in the Worlds history Bronze was awarded to two riders,
“I’m speechless, I don’t know what to say,” Matthews said at the finish.
“I don’t know if it ever will (sink in) really, it’s just a dream come true and dreams don’t usually come true, it’s unbelievable.”
“Yeah, there was a lot of pressure but it worked on my side so everyone felt like they had to beat me instead of me beat them, so I started off really well and finished better, so I can’t really say any more.”
Matthews finished the 159km course in four hours one minute 23 seconds, five bike lengths ahead of his nearest rival and silver medalist Degenkolb.
“It’s major respect, I couldn’t have done it without them. They were with me the whole time, on the front run for me, being around me the whole time, making sure I had drinks, water, food, always asking me how I was. I couldn’t have done it without them,” Matthews said.
Four Winners: 2nd John Degenkolb, 1st Michael Matthews and equal 3rd Guillaume Boivin and Taylor Phinney
2010 UCI World U23 Road Championships Results
1 Michael Matthews (Australia) 4:01:23
2 John Degenkolb (Germany)
3 Taylor Phinney (United States Of America)
3 Guillaume Boivin (Canada)
5 Arnaud Demare (France)
6 Sonny Colbrelli (Italy)
7 Laurens De Vreese (Belgium)
8 Sebastian Lander (Denmark)
9 Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spain)
10 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Russian Federation)
11 Luke Rowe (Great Britain)
12 Siarhei Papok (Belarus)
13 Blaz Jarc (Slovenia)
14 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)
15 Stefano Agostini (Italy)
16 David Boily (Canada)
17 Sylwester Janiszewski (Poland)
18 Mikel Landa Meana (Spain)
19 Yonathan Monsalve (Venezuela)
20 Egidijus Juodvalkis (Lithuania)
Photos : Sirotti