It’s 3.45 pm CET. I’ve been doing the tourist thing today at the World Road Championships 2006. Salzburg is beautiful no-doubt, but it’s a tad de-caffeinated, a good place to come with your girl but lacking that real-life’ edge of say a Gent or a Lisbon.

World Road Championships 2006
Allesandro Ballan.

It’s hard to find a proper bar but this one seems OK, complete with busty barmaid.

Opinion is pretty-well unanimous that Bettini is a good World Champion. He has good palmares, a human personality, is a real pro who races a full season and was no, ‘sit in and sprint’ winner.

The only thing I’m worried about is what horrors will unfold bicycle-wise. His Time, complete with gold saddle and tape – to commemorate his Olympic road race win (not forgeting the gold crash hat and shoes) still makes me feel faint.

As with most things to do with posing, Cipo did it so much better. I’ve never been a big Zabel fan; tad too uncontroversial for me, but you must respect the man – the pro’s pro.

The Worlds are in Stuttgart next year, so maybe he’ll make me eat my words about: ‘his last chance to win the Worlds is gone.’

Valverde is a class-act but he was up against two of the fastest men alive when it’s a sprint at the end of a long shift.

I think Sanchez may just be better than him one day though.

Kevin Hulsmans. A bit cool.
Kevin Hulsmans. A bit cool.

Much as I’m an Euskaltel fan, Samuel has to move-on now to see how far he can go.

It was gone 10.00 last night when I stumbled out of the press centre and I needed a beer.

Twee though Salzburg may be, it is civilised and there are caravans dispensing every type of sausage known to man – and cool beer – open until the wee small hours.

I bumped into two well wrecked Belgian guys: “What happened to Tom?” I ask.

The tall one took a final slug of beer, a long drag on his Marlboro, then covered me with sausage as he explained: “Bettini, Quickstep, he goes and Tom must put on the brakes, eh?”

“In vino veritas“ as some Roman boy once said. I asked my new found buddies if they were driving home in the morning: “no, no, tonight.”

After us all agreeing that kermesse-king Guy Smet was a God, we shook hands and they Lurched-off to find their car.

Vino's turn to make his mark.
Vino’s turn to make his mark.

David Millar, love him or hate him, he’s back. I didn’t realise until I spoke to Max Sciandri the day after the test that Millar punctured seven kilometers into his ride.

At that level where seconds can make the difference; after the flat his head was gone. In the road race he played a key role in the finale; I’ll stick my neck-oit and say he’ll be road race champion one day.

Britain came out of the Worlds with one bronze, courtesy of Nicole Cooke, a decent ride by Cavendish (11th) and some classy riding by Millar.

‘Plus sa change’ … as we say in Dysart.

And a ‘thank you’ to Adam and John for the beer, your good for the cabins on any Six I’m on boys.

Trossachs next, see you there.  Did I say this was a gay bar?