October 7/03 7:15 am - Espoir Men & Junior Women Stories
Posted by Editor on 10/7/03
Hamilton Road Worlds
This report made possible by Human Kinetics Publishers
Junior Women / Under 23 Men Time Trials
The world championships have begun, and so far the event has run almost flawlessly. Road closures went well, races went off on time, the weather was perfect, and two world champions were anointed.
German riders took both world titles awarded today, in the Junior women's and Under 23 men's time trials. Canadians did not fare so well, with only one of four riders able to go faster than their race on the same circuit at the National championships back in June.
After rain and hail on the weekend, everyone was relieved to see the sun come out for the races (even better, the forecast is for weather in the 20s Celcius for the rest of the week). The conditions were clear and sunny, however, a gusty wind ( with bursts over 40 kmph) made riders struggle in the middle part of the circuit.
Marcus Fothen, fifth last year in this event, took the men's title, with a 19 second advantage over Niels Scheuneman (Netherlands) and 21 seconds in front of Alexandr Bespalov (Russia). The two Canadians - Dominique Rollin and Chris Issac - finished 41st and 42nd respectively, over four and a half minutes back.
Fothen, who won the German Climbing Championship, Espoir title and the European espoir title this year, admitted that it was a tough race. "I had a good feeling this morning before the race, but it was a very hard course and difficult to find a rhythm. The wind was a big factor, when it hit halfway up the mountain and made the climb very difficult."
Fothen's coach commented that it is no longer a matter of making a strategy before the race: "it is no longer possible to use tactics in a time trial, you must produce a maximum effort for an hour."
The German rider has also secured a contract with the Gerolsteiner Division 1 team for next year.
Other riders who looked good, included ex-Saturn Viktor Rapinski (Belarus), who faded in the second lap, and American Michael Creed, who lamented "I started too cautiously because of the wind - I had energy left at the end!" He was nearly 30 seconds faster on his second lap than his first...
The Canadian men both stated that they had off days.
Dominique Rollin: "It was not that good a ride, I didn't go great. I couldn't find my rhythm after the Swedish rider (Thomas Lovkist, who finished 4th) passed me. I tried to hold on to him, but I lost my focus and that was it. It was frustrating - the week I left France my form was improving well, but I caught the flu on the plane. I'm pissed - it was my first time trial at the Worlds, and my last chance."
Chris Issac: "It went, but it wasn't one of my best days, that's for sure. The wind at the top was a bit of a factor, but honestly, I had an off day. My nerves were running pretty high as well - this competition is the best out there, so all I can do is just try to do the best I can."
The women's 1 lap, 15 kilometre race was a complete mystery to handicap; even the teams didn't know who would go well. Bianca Knopfle, the women's winner, just switched to road after finishing 9th in the mountain bike Worlds last month. In fact, she only received her road bike 3 weeks ago.
"I can't imagine to have won this medal, it is incredible. The world championship race is only my fourth or fifth time trial - I started training three weeks ago after Lugano."
Canadian women finished 16th (Audrey Lemieux) and 18th (Emilie Roy), both less than a minute behind Knopfle. However, Lemieux finished 19 seconds slower than her Canadian Nationals winning time (her Nationals time would have put her in 7th place).
"I was hoping for top-10, but to finish top-20 in this competition makes me happy. The hardest place was the small up and down section where there was a lot of wind (at the halfway mark). I gave it my best."
Roy is just happy to be competing after a two year recovery from a viral sickness.
"I was sick for two years, so to come back this year is wonderful. I had a good summer; it was perfect just to be back on the bike and to make the Worlds this year is a dream. I could have possibly gone harder on the hill, but I am pleased with my ride, which was 40 seconds faster than the national championships."
Tomorrow the Junior men start their 20.5 kilometre time trial at 11:30 am (EDT), and the women cover the same distance, starting at 14:10 pm (EDT). Canada has Christian Meier (12:00:00 start) and Kevin Lacombe (12:52:30 start) in the Junior men's race, and Genevieve Jeanson (14:55:00 start) and Lyne Bessette (15:04:00 start) in the women's race.
Some photos have gone up, many more to follow.