October 1/10 8:23 am - Road World Championships : U23 Men's Road Race report and photos
Posted by Editoress on 10/1/10
Matthews takes first medal for Australia, Phinney and Boivin tie for bronze medal
Guillaume Boivin of Longueuil, Quebec took Canada's first medal of the Road Cycling World Championships on Friday, with a bronze medal in the Under-23 Men's road race. In an interesting twist, Boivin literally tied with Taylor Phinney of the United States after digital photo finish equipment could not find a difference between the two on the line. Michael Matthews of Australia gave the host country their first world title of the championships in the sprint finish, with John Degenkolb of Germany taking the silver medal. The tie between Boivin and Phinney is the first documented case of a tie in the cycling world championships. In other Canadian results, David Boily finished 16th, Arnaud Papillon was 21st and Hugo Houle 93rd after a flat.
American Ben King started the action in the ten lap, 159 kilometre race with an attack from the gun that was reminiscent of his winning move in the U.S. Pro Road Championships just two weeks ago. King steadily rode away from the disinterested peloton, with only another Ben King - from Australia - in pursuit. The Australian King was caught by a small chase group and absorbed back into the peloton, but the American King stayed out in front for three-quarters of the race, with his lead growing to over four minutes.
Moreno Moser of Italy eventually bridged up to King, dropping him on one of the climbs, and stayed off the front until the ninth lap, when the Australian team led the leaders across.
A few riders attempted to break away in the final lap and a half, but the top contenders quickly shut them down, setting the stage for an uphill sprint finish. Coming out the final corner for the last 500 metres, the Italian team led out, with Phinney then moving to the front. Matthews came off of Phinney with 300 metres to go and rocketed to the front, opening a gap that was big enough to allow him to sit up and coast across the line with his arms in the air.
I was really surprised," commented Matthews. "It basically all just came down perfectly for me. A couple of guys hit out a bit early and then the bunch softly started their sprint and I just made sure I got a good run off Phinney's wheel and came round pretty fast. I just looked to the left and saw that I got it, so it was a perfect sprint for me. It was a perfect sprint for me."
Degenkolb had a lock on second, but the battle for third saw Boivin surge up the left side and make a tremendous throw at the line to match Phinney. "To the pixel", said one official.
"I was just kind of cross-eyed [in the sprint], and there were a couple of French people around me doing some questionable things," explained Phinney. "I just tried to find an opening and tried to get out there, and then there was this white, yellow and green flash that went by me. But I just focussed on that line and gave it the biggest lunge that I could."
"It was a perfect [type of] sprint for me, I think," commented Boivin. "That is what I am good at. To get a bronze medal is good but it is a bit of a bittersweet feeling, because I knew once I got to the sprint I could win. But I kinda got boxed in and I wasn't able to sprint until 100 metres to go. I gave it my best from there and passed a couple of guys and threw my bike on the line."
"The bronze medal is good, but I was here for the jersey. I knew I was in good form coming here, and a few people didn't see me as a contender because I wasn't at [the Under-23 Tour de] l'Avenir race in France, and I did the two Pro Tour races we had in Canada instead. I knew I had good legs. Maybe you don't need to be the favourite on the paper to do a good result."