October 10/04 7:43 am - Espoir Men's Road Race Story
Posted by Editoress on 10/10/04
Hamilton Road Worlds
Espoir Men's Road Race
Sergey Lagutin of Uzbekistan took the world title today in the Espoir men's 173 kilometre road race. He and second place Johan Van Summeren Belgium were the main animators for a very exciting day of racing in Hamilton.
The 14 lap race began slowly, with the riders wanting to conserve their energy for the 28 trips up the Escarpment that they faced. It wasn't until the fifth lap that the first attack took place, with two riders going up the road - Assan Bazayev (Kaz), followed by Alexander Arekeev (Rus). By the end of the lap the pair had a 40 second lead.
The lead started to shrink, and the leaders were joined on the next lap by Lagutin and Emanuele Sella (Ita), but the peloton wasn't having any of it, and the gap never went over 18 seconds before the four were re-absorbed on lap 7.
The peloton stayed together for lap 8, despite a number of attacks. On the next lap the action really began, when a group of 7 broke away after the start-finish. This group included only one of the eventual winning break (Pieter Weening (Ned)), and was caught at the top of the Claremont climb.
Van Summeren went immediately, and was quickly followed by Lagutin, Giovanni Visconti (Ita) and Andrei Pchelkin (Rus). A chase group came close to catching them, but the peloton reeled them all in at the start of the 10th lap.
Lagutin and Sella attacked at the base of the first climb, and one lap later had a gap of 30 seconds on the field. A chase group caught them on the Claremont descent, including Massimo Iannetti (Ita). The group sat up for the peloton, but then a new group formed immediately and charged off the front on the final downhill into the finish at the end of lap 11.
This group had 18 seconds on the peloton at the start of lap 12, and contained Lagutin, Van Summeren, Sella, Iannetti, Jens Renders (Bel), Rory Sutherland (Aus), Alexander Bazenov (Rus) and two others, who were dropped. Sutherland suffered a flat at the bottom of the Claremont descent on the next lap, and was also gone.
Weening bridged up on the Claremont climb on the same lap, leaving 8 riders at the front for the penultimate lap. A Spaniard, Isidro Cerrato Lopez, bridged up on this lap, but was dropped on the final climb of the last lap. Meanwhile, a few other riders managed to bridge up on the last lap - Matej Mugerli (Slo), time trial winner Marcus Fothen (Ger) and Thomas Dekker (Ned). Mugerli got on first, and then Dekker got on the wheel of Fothen to get pulled up to the lead on the final climb.
The final group of 9 was complete, and they went down the last descent together, to sprint it out for the world title. Dekker led the sprint out of the final corner, with Fothen coming around him, and then finally Lagutin bursting into the lead with Van Summeren beside him. The peloton finished a scant 9 seconds behind.
"It wasn't a tactical race, because it was so hard. I was scared of the Italians because I race against them all the time, and I know they are strong."
The top Canadian was Chris Issac in 53rd place, finishing in the peloton. "It was an advantage to stay at the front, and that is where I tried to be. The pace kept increasing every lap, but I was able to stay in the race because I felt good on the climbs. It was a real advantage to be racing at home, because everyone was screaming for me on the climb."
Jean-Sebastien Maheu was the only other Canadian rider to finish, in 64th place, 45 seconds further back.