October 12/01 12:16 pm - Espoir Road Race Story
Posted by Editor on 10/12/01
2001 Road World Cycling Championships Lisbon, Portugal
This report made possible through the sponsorship of CompuTrainer and Peak Centre
Yaroslav Popovych of the Ukraine is the new road world champion for Under 23 men, after a gruelling 169.4 kilometre, 14 lap race of attrition. Popovych dropped breakaway companion Giampaolo Caruso of Italy in the final few kilometres to take the title, with another Ukrainian rider, Ruslan Gryschenko, breaking away from a chase group of 20 to win the bronze medal. There were three Canadians in the race, but none finished.
A group of 6 riders broke away from the peloton on the fourth lap - Tom Boonen (Bel), Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Rasmus Dyring (Den), Jerome Pineau (Fra), Yannick Talabardon (Fra) and Sebastian Lang (Ger). The group ran the gap up to a maximum of 1:15 by the 75 kilometre mark, before the pack began to reel them in. A chase group formed as the field began to splinter under the pressure of the two tough climbs per lap, and joined up with the front runners approximately 100 kilometres into the race.
Charles Dionne was the lone Canadian left in the race at this point, still hanging on with the main field until he dropped his chain at the bottom of a climb.
"It was on the 9th lap, right at the bottom of the second climb. I tried to chase, but it was no good. But I can't say that that is what caused me to (come off). I was already in trouble. I would go to the front before the start of the climbs and then gradually go back as we went up. I was losing ground, and was already at the back when it (dropped chain) happened, so I probably would have gone anyway."
Dionne stayed in the race until the end of the 12th lap.
At the front, Popovych and Caruso suceeded in getting away on the 11th lap, opening up a lead of 31 seconds by the end of the lap. The group behind was disorganized, with no one willing to take charge and lead the chase. Time trial champion Danny Pate (USA) did go to the front a few times, but backed off when no one would join him. Thus, the gap doubled with less then 25 kilometres remaining, and was nearly a minute and a half by the start of the last lap.
Popovych looked to be the stronger of the two leaders, but he also appeared to have been doing the most work in the break, with the Italian sitting on more. It turned out not to matter, as the Ukrainian was more than strong enough to drop the Italian on the second climb, and solo in to victory.
- The other two Canadians in the race - Jean-Francois Laroche and Francois Parisien - were off the back in the 4th and 6th laps respectively. Laroche is a relative newcomer to road racing (he was supposed to go to mountain bike worlds but was unable to travel when the terrorist actions took place in the U.S.). "This was a learning experience for me; it is my first year road racing. My goal was just to give it all I had and just hang on as long as possible. I was also a little chicken on the descents because I had crashed in Belgium the previous race. So I was too cautious on the descents and too far back at the bottom of the climb." Laroche said that he will be concentrating on road next year.
Parisien is a first year Espoir, and he is also here to gain experience. "For me it was a race to learn from for next year. I was just there to survive as long as I could."
- Charles Dionne revealed that negotiations are going well with his U.S. trade team - 7 Up/Colorado Cyclist - and he expects to sign with them again for next year.
- All three riders said that 3 weeks of racing in Belgium prior to the worlds was maybe not the best preparation, since they saw no hills.