October 14/01 4:12 am - Men's Worlds RR Pre-race Report
Posted by Editor on 10/14/01
2001 Road World Cycling Championships Lisbon, Portugal
This report made possible through the sponsorship of CompuTrainer and Peak Centre
It is approximately 30 minutes before the start of the men's road race at the world championships. The conditions are damp and overcast - it has been like this for most of the week first thing in the morning and then cleared up, and the forecast is for hot and sunny.
There are 171 starters, with one late scratch from Austria - Gerrit Glomser. Canada has two riders in the race - Michael Barry and Mark Walters. I rode over to the start with them and both were relaxed and joking (we discussed how they would position themselves in the peloton for best photo opportunities...).
The Italian journalists are putting their money (literally) on Paolo Bettini, and the course does suit the diminutive Mapei rider. However, the overwhelming favourite is Germany's Jan Ullrich, who has stated that the world title is his main goal of the year (after losing the Tour).
The race is 21 laps of the 12.1 kilometre circuit, for a total of 254.1 kilometres. As has been described earlier in the week, there are two climbs per lap - the second being longer - and both are in the first half of the circuit. From there the riders descend through sharp turns and an S-bend (where Anne Samplonius crashed yesterday) to a wide flat finishing section. It is expected that the real race will not develop until the latter third of the race.