Rui Costa wins men’s world championship road race
Alberto Rui Costa stunned Spanish rival Joaquin Rodriguez at the finish line of the world championships’ road race last night to become the first Portuguese winner of the coveted rainbow jersey.
Rodriguez took an unwelcome silver with compatriot Alejandro Valverde winning bronze at the end of the rain-hit 272.2 km race that claimed several pre-race favourites as well as the entire British team.
Rui Costa made his winning move in the final two kilometres of a pulsating finale, capitalising on Movistar teammate Valverde’s failure to counter and then going on to pip Rodriguez at the finish line.
“This has been a big dream of mine for a long time. I still can’t believe I’m the world champion,” said Rui Costa, who broke down in tears on the podium. “Two kilometres from the finish Rodriguez held a certain advantage but I still had to choose the right moment to make the jump and catch him, and then to try and outsprint him.”
The 26-year-old Portuguese caught Rodriguez with less than 200 metres to go, at which point the Spanish climbing specialist employed the only remaining means, conversation, to overcome the Portuguese’s faster finish on the flat.
“When I spoke to him, I was simply trying to make him move in front of me so that I could get in behind him,” said Rodriguez. “But we know each other well, and I knew it wasn’t going to happen.”
A protagonist late in the final lap when he crucially countered an attack by Italian Vincenzo Nibali on the second of the circuit’s three climbs, Rodriguez was understandably distraught at the end.
“Winning is all that matters so this medal doesn’t mean anything to me right now,” he added. “Alejandro and I have a lot of career wins but we’ve both missed out on winning the worlds.”
Spain’s failure to capitalise on their favourable scenario will cause reverberations, especially in light of a maiden triumph in one of cycling’s biggest races of the year by neighbours Portugal.
Valverde and Rui Costa also race for the same professional team, Movistar, and the Spaniard is often a rival of Rodriguez’s on the hilly one-day classics during the normal racing season. Valverde, however, claimed he simply didn’t have the legs when Rui Costa made a crucial move to close down Rodriguez on a “difficult” bend.
“I should have stayed on his wheel but he attacked on a difficult bend and I simply couldn’t follow him. It’s not easy after 270 km of racing,” said Valverde.
It was Valverde’s third road race bronze, having also missed out on victory in 2003 and 2005 when he took silver behind Igor Astarloa and Tom Boonen respectively.
“Obviously I would have preferred the gold medal but Rui Costa was too strong. I know him, he’s a formidable rider,” he added.
Nibali had to settle for fourth after valiantly fighting back from a crash after the descent of the first climb on the 10th and last lap of the race’s hilly 16.9km circuit around Florence.
Team manager Paolo Bettini, a former two-time world champion, heaped praise on the Giro d’Italia champion for fighting his way back — and said defeat was preferable to Spain’s sucker-punch defeat.
“Without the fall it could have made the difference,” said Bettini. “But Vincenzo really deserves credit for making it back to the main bunch. I really didn’t expect it. In the end, we prefer to have the wooden spoon than to have suffered the kind of defeat Spain did.”
Rui Costa, who won two stages at July’s Tour de France as well as the Tour of Switzerland, succeeds Philippe Gilbert of Belgium as world champion. Gilbert finished ninth, at 34 secs adrift, and just ahead of pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland.
Australia’s Simon Clarke was the only Australian to finish the race, doing so in seventh place. He wrote this piece about his day.
Follow the link for results from the men’s elite road race at the 2013 World Championships. Text via AFP.
Vos wins women’s world championship road race
Olympic champion Marianne Vos outclassed her rivals to claim her third gold in the women’s road race at the world cycling championships on Saturday.
Sweden’s Emma Johansson took the silver medal after beating Italy’s Rossella Ratto in a two-up sprint for the finish line of the 139.6 km race, which began in Montecatini Terme.
“It’s great to defend the title. They always say it’s hard to win one, but to do it two times in a row is even more difficult,” said Vos, who now has 11 senior world titles spread across road, track and cyclocross.
Vos was arguably the biggest threat from the field of 139 starters on an undulating race which ended on a 2.8 km flat section. But her third victory, after titles in 2006 and 2012, came in large part down to teammate Anna van der Breggen, whose numerous counter-attacks on the final two laps helped dissuade rivals and allow Vos some extra comfort.
After the Dutch pair had stayed with a five-strong group over the two main climbs on the fifth and last lap of the circuit, Vos took the race by the scruff of the neck. On a steep, 600-metre rise she stunned American climbing specialist Evelyn Stevens with a turn of pace that no one could match and after reaching the top of it hit top speed on the closing 2.8 km to leave her rivals with no chance.
“Until the last lap I didn’t feel too confident but on the steep climb I knew I had the chance to attack,” added Vos, who was quick to pay tribute to van der Breggen.
“Of course you have to make those tactical moves… but it was great to have Anna van der Breggen there to close down the attacks, and that gave me the belief I could do something. She’s been strong all season and last year she did the same, great job. She was the one we wanted to have in the final.”
Although Johansson and Ratto fought to close a gap of only a handful of seconds, it had grown to 15secs at the finish where Vos completed the race in 3hr 44min.
Having been left isolated for the final laps, Johansson’s silver medal was well deserved given she outwitted and out-raced rivals who could rely on teammates for the finale. In the end, Johansson admitted: “Obviously I would prefer to be sitting here with the rainbow jersey. She (Vos) is an amazing rider and she’s really hard to beat.”
“Marianne’s jump is really strong”, Johansson continued. “We did everything we could and we did get a bit closer but Rossella didn’t want to help chase in the final kilometre. So when that happened I knew it was too late.”
With Italian veterans Giorgia Bronzini, Noemi Cantele and Tatiana Guderzo tiring earlier than was hoped by the hosts, Ratto was given the green light to carry Italy’s hopes of victory on home turf. In the end, the 20-year-old from Bergamo was happy to settle for the bronze.
“When I was on the circuit and I heard people shouting my name from the side of the road I thought to myself, okay I really need to do something,” said Ratto. “I’m still shaking, so what I did still really needs to sink in.”
Tiffany Cromwell was the best placed of the Australians, finishing in 9th place.
Follow the link for results from the women’s elite road race at the 2013 World Championships. Text via AFP. Click here and here to read Gracie Elvin’s reports from behind-the-scenes of the race.
Mohoric wins men’s U23 world championship road race
Slovenian Matej Mohoric continued his steady climb up the cycling hierarchy when he claimed the men’s under-23 crown at the world road race cycling championships on Friday.
Mohoric, who won the junior title last year, is still only 18 years old but held off the field to finish solo after 173.2 km of racing.
South African Louis Meintjes came in a few seconds behind with Norwegian Sondre Enger finishing ahead of Caleb Ewan, one of several young Australians to see their podium hopes dashed in the finale.
Follow the link for results from the men’s U23 road race at the 2013 World Championships. Text via AFP.
Huon-Genesys wins Tour of Tasmania uphill TTT
Tasmanian–based outfit Huon-Genesys claimed an emphatic victory on home soil in the opening stage of the Caterpillar Tour of Tasmania on Sunday, triumphing in the team trial trial up Mt Wellington.
The current Subaru National Road Series team leader, Huon-Genesys, was the last of 18 teams to set out in blustery conditions on the 17km climb, with the team of Jai Crawford, Jack Haig, Nathan Earle, Joseph Cooper and Ben Dyball pushing hard in the tough conditions to post an imposing time of 46:24.5.
Drapac Cycling (48:12.1) and Charter Mason Drapac Development Team (48:16.8) finished second and third respectively.
“It’s a Mount Wellington team time trial, so it’s all about pain really,” commented Crawford who claimed the leader’s yellow jersey. “It wasn’t easy today, we were given a 25 second time gap at one stage, and that was a bit closer than we would have liked. But by the finish we’d opened up a 1.50 odd gap, so we went really well.”
With today also presenting a gruelling stage, a 120km road stage from New Norfolk to Strathgordon, Crawford insisted he didn’t back off in stage one.
“In a time trial you’ve got to give it everything, there’s no holding back really,” he explained. “It [1.48] is a big time gap for us to have, yet we had more last year and ended up losing the lead at the next stage. I think we’ve learnt from last year and we’ll get it right tomorrow.
Drapac Cycling finished six seconds ahead of third-placed Charter Mason Drapac Development Team, a result pleasing for team member William Walker.
“We were pretty realistic – Genesys have been the standout team all year long,” Walker said. “I was thinking we’d lose about two minutes, so 1.48 is really good, considering last year we lost a little bit more and we still won the tour overall.”
“I think we went out a little bit too hard and were slightly inconsistent at times, but that’s what everyone does and I think the result was pretty good,” the Drapac rider concluded.
Stage two gets underway at 10.30am this morning, with riders leaving from New Norfolk and heading along the beautiful Lake Pedder to finish at the stunning location of Strathgordon. The 120km course will challenge the peloton and could see a breakaway open up a significant time gap early.
Follow the link for results from stage 1 of the 2013 Tour of Tasmania. Text via Cycling Australia press release.
Brian Cookson wins UCI presidential election
Britain’s Brian Cookson was elected president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Friday after beating incumbent Pat McQuaid at the end of a protracted election process on Friday.
Cookson, the president of British Cycling since 1996, took the presidency with 24 votes to McQuaid’s 18 from the 42 voting delegates.
It capped a long and frustrating day in Florence’s Palazio Vecchio where McQuaid, in power since 2005, had initially failed to gain nomination but forced his way through by relying on loopholes in the UCI constitution.
As the election descended into near farce, with many voting delegates taking the floor to criticise a process that threatened to drag on even further, Cookson grew frustrated and called McQuaid’s bluff.
“Alright, we’ve had enough of this. I’m going to propose that we pass straight to the election,” said the Englishman.
Less than 30 minutes later the result which ended McQuaid’s bid for a third mandate was delivered.
Click here for the full story. Text via AFP.
Tracey Gaudry appointed UCI vice president
One of Brian Cookson’s first acts as UCI President was to announce the appointment of three new vice presidents: Tracey Gaudry of the Oceania Federation, David Lappartient of the European Federation and Mohamed Wagih Azzam of the African federation.
“This is a new administration, I want to emphasise that, we will be making some changes,” Cookson told reporters in Florence. “We have for the first time a woman in an important role in the UCI.”
“I have a lot of confidence in all of those three people and I’m sure that we can really move forward now to take the UCI in a new direction.”
To be elected by peers as @UCI_cycling VP represents a great honour, a commitment by all to a progressive future, and much good work ahead!
— Tracey Gaudry (@gaudryt) September 28, 2013
Gaudry was the first woman to serve on the UCI management committee after being elected Oceania president last year, and now takes a further step up the ladder with a focus on improving the state of women’s cycling.
“Those decisions are not symbolic decisions, they are deliberate decisions to ensure that the sport of cycling embraces everything that it’s about, and gender is naturally one part of that,” Gaudry told AAP.
Click here to read more at Cycling News.
Tiernan-Locke faces scrutiny over Biological Passport anomalies
Team Sky rider and winner of the 2012 Tour of Britain Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been asked by the UCI to explain anomalies in his biological passport.
The 28-year-old was supposed to ride for Great Britain at last night’s world championship but pulled out citing a lack of form. Team Sky later clarified that he has withdrawn from racing while he prepares his statement for the UCI.
Team Sky was also keen to point out that any infractions happened before Tiernan-Locke joined Sky:
“We have no doubts over his performance, behaviour or tests at Team Sky and understand any anomaly is in readings taken before he joined the team.”
Click here to read more at CyclingWeekly.
Team Russia’s bikes stolen
On the eve of last night’s men’s world championship road race it looked as if Team Russia wouldn’t be taking the start line, thanks to bike thieves.
Alexandr Kolobnev posted a tweet on Saturday showing Italian police studying an empty Katusha team truck from which 16 bikes and equipment were stolen.
— Alexander Kolobnev (@A_Kolobnev) September 28, 2013
In the end the Russian team was able to take the start, riding on bikes built up at the Katusha service course in Brescia, two hours north of Florence.
Click here to read more at Cycling News.
Bakelants signs with Omega Pharma-QuickStep
Omega Pharma-QuickStep has announced that Belgian rider Jan Bakelants will join its ranks in 2014 after he was caught up in the drama surrounding Euskaltel-Euskadi’s demise and appeared to be without a team.
Bakelants has had a breakout year, winning stage 2 of the Tour de France, wearing the yellow jersey for two stages and winning the Grand Prix de Wallonie just last week.
Jan is a perfect addition to our team,” Team Manager Patrick Lefevere said.
“For a few years now he has been among the best riders on the circuit and this season he reaffirmed his skills with excellent results, demonstrating performance continuity. We are very pleased with the agreement we reached.
Bakelants is a well-rounded rider, one who can shine in the Wallonie Classics and he will also figure as a major player as he hunts for stages in the major tours. He is expected to take top placements in the shorter stage races, too.”
“I am happy and proud to be a part of this team,” said Bakelants.
“These past few weeks I’ve been in touch with the team. Here at the World Championships in Florence I had a final meeting with Lefevere and we came to an agreement. OPQS is a great squad with a great attitude, I’m very pleased to be a part of this project. It’s a great step for my career.
I see myself as a rider for the hilly races, for the one-day races like the Liege-Bastogne-Liege and as a stage hunter. My goal is to be useful to the squad next year, precisely in those kinds of races.”
Text adapted from an Omega Pharma-QuickStep press release.
John Gadret joins Movistar
Veteran French rider John Gadret will join Movistar in 2014 after an agreement was reached with Eusebio Unzue’s squad.
Gadret, a podium finisher in the 2011 Giro d’Italia, will ride his 11th season as a pro cyclist with Movistar and will enforce the team’s potential in the mountains; the terrain that suits him best and where he’s offered his best performances.
Gadret comes from Ag2r where he spent the past eight years.
Text adapted from a Movistar press release.
Vigilante bike lanes created in New York
Here’s one way to do something about a lack of bike lanes in your city: create your own. A group that are calling themselves Right of Way took to the streets of NYC armed with a stencil and white spray paint and created a new cyclists-only lane. Check out the video below:
Click here to read more at road.cc.
How the Dutch design cycle junctions
This is an interesting video showing how Dutch road engineers deal with intersections that are used by cyclists and motorists. Some lessons here for Australian roads, perhaps?
Matej Mohoric’s memorable pedalling style
As we’ve already mentioned, Friday night’s U23 world championship road race was won by Slovenian Mattej Mohoric. What we didn’t show you was this video of the aero-tuck pedalling position Mohoric demonstrated a few times on his way to winning the race. It ain’t pretty, but it worked.
The Rocacorba Recap
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:
- Gracie Elvin’s World Championships diary: the lead-up
- Gracie Elvin’s World Championships diary: the big day
- 3 Peaks: the hardest cyclocross race in the world?