Posted by Editoress on 09/30/10
Cancellara takes Fourth World Championship Title, a Disappointing Day for Tuft
Canada's Svein Tuft, who was expected to contend for a top-5 placing in the time trial, had a disappointing day on Thursday, finishing 26th. Swiss star Fabian Cancellara became the first four time men's world champion in the elite ranks with a thoroughly dominating performance. Cancellara finished over a minute ahead of Great Britain's David Millar, with a time of 58 minutes and 9.19 seconds for the 45.6 kilometre race. Germany's Tony Martin won bronze medal despite suffering a flat tire during his race.
Tuft, who was ranked seventh on the start list after winning the silver medal in 2008, was never in contention, finishing the first half of the race in 27th place, and moving up one spot by the finish.
"I am trying to figure [it] out for myself," said a visibly upset Tuft after his ride. "I just came apart mentally and physically. I'd say the first 10k were really solid, and then I just lost the plot. It is really weird, there is no rhyme or reason. My training has been good. I have done a lot of long efforts on the [time trial] bike and all the indicators have been there to have a good ride but I just couldn't put it together today."
"Some days you have a bad day, and with time trialling that's how it goes sometimes but this was like...."
"Sometimes it just hits you and you can't really blame anything but I am still just trying to figure it out for myself [on what went wrong]. It is disappointing because I was really excited about having a good ride here, and everything was kinda lining up for that, but I guess it just happens."
"Everything was good - a good warm up, a good ride this morning and a good sensation. Mentally, it was a big day and you are just trying to remain calm and focused. It wasn't like it was anything new or anything happened that threw me off."
"I could have put too much pressure on myself. I had big expectations. Sometimes you get out there and suffer over the climbs and you start to realize the power output might not be there or you are just fading and that's when mentally you start to come apart."
"After coming through the park the first time I thought, geez, this is not good. I was looking down at my power output and I was just not able to put out anything. It just wasn't there."
The Elite men had to cover two laps of a 22.8 kilometre circuit that included two climbs per lap and a difficult descent. Unlike the Under 23 Men and Elite Women, however, they did not face rain and gusting wind.
The men were sent off in four waves, with Jose Ivan Gutierrez (Spain) setting the top time in the first group. His stay in the Hot Seat lasted until halfway through the second wave, when Maciej Bodnar (Poland) knocked nearly 42 seconds off the leading time.
Bodnar's time would be good enough for ninth, but faster riders were starting in the third wave, with one of the local Australian favourites, Michael Rogers, last to start in the group. Rogers came close to breaking the one hour mark, and would take the Hot Seat until the final five riders started to come in. He would eventually finish a strong fifth.
In the final wave, some of the top contenders struggled, including 2008 world champion Bert Grabsch (Germany) and Canada's Svein Tuft. Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands) came close to Rogers, and David Zabriskie finished eighth, despite almost missing his start when the U.S. team showed up at bike check barely a minute before his start. The American was getting visibly agitated as the clock ticked down to 20 seconds and no bike appeared. He finally got clipped in with about 10 seconds to go.
Millar was fifth from the end, and he started very strong, setting the fastest opening split, six and a half seconds ahead of Cancellara. He continued to ride strongly through the rest of the race, to become the first rider to crack the one hour mark, with a finishing time of 59:11.94 .
The Olympic sliver medalist, Gustav Larsson (Sweden) followed, but was never in contention. Tony Martin was next, and was only ten seconds back until a front flat late in the first lap slowed him. An impressive final eight kilometre run saw him pull back 20 seconds on Millar, and move into third. He finished less than ten seconds down on the British rider, so the flat may have meant the difference between bronze and silver.
Martin displaced Australian Richie Porte for the final podium spot, as the pair of young riders battled back and forth, with both finishing in under an hour. However, the battle for the gold medal was over halfway through the first lap, as the defending world champion pulled back Millar's lead and then inexorably began to pull away.
After 14.7 kilometres he was one second up on Millar, after a full lap it was 11 seconds, then 24 seconds, 44 seconds and, finally, over a minute by the finish. Once again, Spartacus had decisively answered the question of who is the top man in the race of truth.
"Yeah, I am really happy," confirmed Cancellara. "I think this might be the hardest one of all the four [wins]. To come here and not be 100% was difficult, but since the Vuelta I started to be really focused on everything I could in order to be 100% for this day and to do whatever I could, which was a 100% performance. This was a really, really hard parcours that, from the beginning, I didn't really expect would be so hard."
"I've learnt a lot from the other years that when people say, 'it looks like this, or that' [that] only when you see it for real you can then say how it really is. Tony [Martin] said before that he also expected a different parcours, so it was the same for everybody, and I did what I had to do, which was to ride 100% perfect. I did a great tactic in not to ride too fast in the beginning, because I knew in the end it would be really really hard with the wind and these two climbs."
"It is never easy. People think you can ride with one leg and win easily always, but it is never easy to win bike races. Even when people expect that 'any way, Cancellara is going to win' it is never true. There are always riders that keep going and trying and become a star, and beat me and I have seen also when I came here I have not the same power inside my body. When you win three times already and you come close to four times I had to find another motivation. Today, this motivation was to make history. That was actually the big strength that kept me focused on it. My season is already perfect with the spring and the Tour and now with this victory today. But you can have ups and downs - nobody is perfect - sometimes you can have a bad day. That is part of a human being."
"This was the hardest for sure. I was pretty nervous yesterday, the other day, and this morning, because I have high ambitions on my own and expectations of my own. When you win Flanders and Roubaix you want to go back to find this kind of strength and this kind of feeling, and that is the hard thing about being a bike rider. To find this and be 100% is the hard thing about being a bike rider. I wasn't 100% for these conditions but sometimes it is not so important to be 100%. To be 100% and make mistakes or not be 100% and make things right from the focus. I pulled out of the Vuelta to focus on this and relax at home before coming to Australia. It is a long travel and takes many days to recover from this jetlag. I think I am getting over that now, and I am really happy to have done what I did today."
Millar was content with silver, commenting, "Congratulations to Fabian first. There is no doubt he is a phenom. But I came here hoping to get on the podium and that's what I did, so it is a lovely feeling to be actually achieve the objective I was aiming for."
"I felt good. I felt great on the first lap. My tactic was the opposite of Fabian's, [and it] was to attack the first lap and then hang on for dear life. And that's basically what I did. I felt great and even at the first lap with the three climbs, by the end of the last climb I was coming up that the first time and I thought, 'Oh god this is going to hurt the next time round', and it did. It was very hard and I think we can safely say that in the road race that is going to be a hard climb. We suffered up that enormously just going up it twice. It is a hard course."
"I went a bit slow through a couple of corners, especially on the descent, but I am very happy with my ride. My power was good, everything was good. Unfortunately, I just need to be going faster and stronger to beat Fabian. And corner faster. But I am pleased with my ride and there is nothing I would change about it."
- Both Cancellara and Millar were asked about the recent news concerning a possible positive doping result for Tour de France champion Alberto Contador.
Cancellara: "I had to focus today on my own, not what is going on in Europe. I don't want to say anything now. We have to wait until 12 o'clock in Europe to find out what is going on because he has a press conference then. First of all, I want to respect the rules. The rules say we have to wait until the B sample is tested and then people can talk and discussion can be going on. Rules have to be respected. I am the first one to respect this. I hope the whole world will respect that also. What he had, or what it was, in the end I am not looking at that. I want to focus and enjoy what I have done today."
Millar: "To be honest, we need more information as at the moment it doesn't make much sense, in the fact that it was a rest day control and it was a micro dose. Alberto gets controlled [tested] every day when he is in the yellow jersey and that would have come up the day before after the race. So at the moment there are a lot of questions that need to be answered and I 100% give Alberto full benefit of the doubt, because you have to understand that these things can be quite complicated and it is a shame that it is out there even if it is something completely innocent. So let's wait and see."
- Cancellara was also asked about the ban on radios in the time trial for the first time: "I think cycling is going in the right direction. Except for the radio decision. We have heard from Tony Martin and also from my own experience in time trials it is really really hard because in the end you ride almost alone with just the wind and the time trial helmet. Also for road racing I think it is wrong. We are in 2010 and not in 1960. We have to go forward - and I have already said this - the radio is not a tool for the sport director to say, 'breathe in, breathe out, push the pedals and go forward'. We know what to do. It is more for the safety reasons. We have done the Vuelta and we were so happy to have the radio because you go into towns and you have speed bumps and crazy things going on in front with cars in the way. It is not about getting an advance about other things it is about the safety information. The radio should come back, but the rules and rules now and they are done. I think in life that communication is the most important thing and with bike riders we are still able to do this without radios but for safety reasons it is important to have the radio. Maybe they should have a party speaker (on the car) - that might help."
- Millar was asked whether today was a vindication for being stripped of his title (for doping) in 2003, and whether he was hoping that his life ban on Olympic participation could be rescinded: "I like to think I am beyond vindication now. I just really enjoyed today. I have a great deal of pleasure racing for the British team. One of the biggest things for me today was coming by the team hotel and having all the U23s out and the women's team and the whole team out and they had made a big banner and that was lovely. It felt like I was back being part of the British team and I think that was probably the biggest thing for me today - that I was back amongst it."
"No that [Olympic ban] is not going to be reconsidered I don't think. I take a great deal of pleasure in racing the World Championships with the British team and I have the Commonwealth Games where I'll be racing for Scotland, and I'd rather be with teams that want to have me, rather than having to fight myself into a team that doesn't want me. I'll just go with the people that want to have me."
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