Ponferrada World Road Championships 2014 – U23 Men, Sven Erik Bystrom Takes it Solo
Well, if there's a pizza place in Ponferrada, we can't find it.
It's rude to criticise your host's abode but we're mystified by how the Worlds came to be here.
The communications are terrible, it's four-and-a-half hours by road or rail out of Madrid or get transfer flights up to the North West and more driving.
The town is 'any town Spain/Italy' and with the exception of the beautiful Knights Templar Castle there's very little which is photogenic.
It's 'just a town,' like Broxburn or Kelty - which is fine but maybe we're looking for more from the biggest week of racing on the planet ?
Take the Commonwealth Games road race circuit - in the heart of a great city passing the wonderful buildings, along famous streets and through beautiful parks.
That's what a circuit for a big race should be about.
And you should be able to get there without it being an exercise in sleep deprivation.
I'm calm now . . .
The first climb is on the main dual carriageway out of town past garages and supermarkets - and only the part of the parcours between the top of that climb and the bottom of the descent off the second climb is what you could describe as 'scenic.'
Anyway, it's the Worlds and it's the riders who make the race.
Today's U23 race was a slow burner which only ignited in the last two laps.
The young Aussies rode like seasoned professionals but when they lost control on the final climb there were other young men there with plenty of ambition to seize the moment.
You'd have got long odds on two Norwegians on the podium.
The favourite was Caleb Ewan and the way he won the bunch sprint was explanation enough as to why no one would help the men from down under.
Our pal Vik rang us when we were in the press room after the race to voice his disappointment at the GB team's performance.
And also to instruct me that I've not to interview any of the GB boys about their race - their performance didn't deserve it.
Those boys should thank their lucky stars Vik isn't their DS.
But I take his point, there was an Algerian laddie away in the break of the day and many of the African riders performed every bit as well as the GB boys.
GB's best finisher was Owain Doull in 19th; Eritrea had Kudus in 25th spot on the same time . . .
The way the race was won did give us clues about what might happen on Sunday.
The Norwegian Sven Erik Bystrom - who's with Katusha for 2015 - won the race on the descent, not the climb - and that could be even more pronounced on Sunday, if it rains.
A demon descender on the right rubber could steal it.
That said, there's a school of thought that it could well end in a small bunch sprint of 30/40 riders.
But that's all conjecture - we have the Juniors' and Ladies' races today first.
The juniors are on at 09:00 am start but we've decided to get in to town for the final laps, not the start.
When I say, 'get into town' that's 80 kilometres.
We owe thanks to John Young of Fietsenphotography for the use of his images and also for organising the digs - he had to take a place out in the sticks because of the horribly inflated prices they're charging in Ponferrada.
Just another example of why Ponferrada wouldn't have been our choice of venue.
Keep it tuned to VeloVeritas for our coverage of the Juniors' and Ladies' Championships today - and of course the Elite Men on Sunday.
¡Adios, hasta luego!
Result - World Road Championships, U23 Men
1 Sven Erik Bystrom (Norway) 4:32:39
2 Caleb Ewan (Australia) 0:00:07
3 Kristoffer Skjerping (Norway)
4 Tiesj Benoot (Belgium)
5 Sondre Holst Enger (Norway)
6 Iuri Filosi (Italy)
7 Bohorquez Sanchez (Colombia)
8 Ilya Davidenok (Kazakhstan)
9 Silvio Herklotz (Germany)
10 Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands)
11 Dion Smith (New Zealand)
12 Fabian Lienhard (Switzerland)
13 Tanner Putt (United States Of America)
14 Timo Roosen (Netherlands)
15 Luka Pibernik (Slovenia)
16 Joaquim Silva (Portugal)
17 Odd Christian Eiking (Norway)
18 Miguel Angel Benito Diez (Spain)
19 Owain Doull (Great Britain)
20 Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Colombia)
21 Mike Teunissen (Netherlands)
22 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark)
23 Artem Nych (Russian Federation)
24 Markus Hoelgaard (Norway)
25 Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eritrea)
26 Miguel Angel Lopez (Colombia)
27 Thomas Boudat (France)
28 Louis Meintjes (South Africa)
29 Dylan Teuns (Belgium)
30 Sam Oomen (Netherlands)
31 James Oram (New Zealand)
32 Sindre Skjoestad Lunke (Norway)
33 Jasper De Buyst (Belgium)
34 Scott Davies (Great Britain)
35 Robert Power (Australia)
36 Brayan Stiven Ramirez Chacon (Colombia)
37 Gregor Muhlberger (Austria)
38 Loic Vliegen (Belgium)
39 Floris De Tier (Belgium)
40 Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spain) 0:00:20
41 Emanuel Buchmann (Germany) 0:00:22
42 Luca Chirico (Italy) 0:00:36
43 Simon Pellaud (Switzerland) 0:00:42
44 Anasse Ait El Abdia (Morocco)
45 Oleg Zemlyakov (Kazakhstan)
46 Rafael Ferreira Reis (Portugal) 0:01:03
47 Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kazakhstan)
48 Felix Grossschartner (Austria)
49 Mario Gonzalez Salas (Spain)
50 Michael Carbel Svendgaard (Denmark) 0:01:11
51 Gianni Moscon (Italy) 0:01:13
52 Luis Enrique Davila (Mexico) 0:02:01
53 Federico Zurlo (Italy)
54 Roniel Campos (Venezuela)
55 Yonder Godoy (Venezuela)
56 Alexander Foliforov (Russian Federation)
57 Robin Carpenter (United States Of America) 0:02:31
58 Caio Godoy Ormenese (Brazil)
59 Alexey Vermeulen (United States Of America) 0:02:48
60 Iltjan Nika (Albania) 0:03:46
61 Lukas Spengler (Switzerland)
62 Davide Martinelli (Italy)
63 Ryan Mullen (Ireland)
64 Mario Vogt (Germany)
65 Thery Schir (Switzerland)
66 Marc Soler Gimenez (Spain)
67 Jack Haig (Australia)
68 Maxat Ayazbayev (Kazakhstan)
69 Quentin Jauregui (France)
70 Jeremy Leveau (France)
71 Michael Gogl (Austria)
72 Conor Dunne (Ireland) 0:05:11
73 Krists Neilands (Latvia) 0:06:10
74 Logan Owen (United States Of America)
75 Ruben Guerreiro (Portugal)
76 Aleksey Rybalkin (Russian Federation)
77 Milos Borisavljevic (Serbia)
78 Samuel Spokes (Australia) 0:08:34
79 Kevin Ledanois (France) 0:08:42
80 Ricardo Ferreira (Portugal) 0:09:18
81 Jan Dieteren (Germany)
82 Alex Kirsch (Luxembourg) 0:10:34
83 Stefan Kueng (Switzerland)
84 Erik Baska (Slovakia)
85 Arakdiusz Owsian (Poland)
86 Aliaksandr Riabushenko (Belarus)
87 Sebastian Schonberger (Austria) 0:11:48
88 Roman Kustadinchev (Russian Federation)
89 Metkel Eyob (Eritrea)
90 Samir Jabrayilov (Azerbaijan)
91 Gasper Katrasnik (Slovenia)
92 Bartosz Warchol (Poland)
93 Lukas Postlberger (Austria)
94 Matej Razingar (Slovenia)
95 Aleksandr Komin (Russian Federation)
96 Pierre-Roger Latour (France)
97 Ignacio Prado (Mexico)
98 Domen Novak (Slovenia)
99 Carlos Ramirez (Colombia)
100 Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Poland)
101 Jack Wilson (Ireland)
102 Ruben Zepuntke (Germany)
103 Tao Geoghegan Hart (Great Britain)
104 Lennard Hofstede (Netherlands)
105 Alex Peters (Great Britain)
106 Matti Manninen (Finland)
107 Soren Kragh Andersen (Denmark)
108 Vadim Galeyev (Kazakhstan) 0:11:54
109 Meron Teshome Hagos (Eritrea) 0:18:24
110 Rok Korosec (Slovenia) 0:19:07
111 Serkan Balkan (Turkey) 0:20:24
112 Jeison Elias Vega Solano (Costa Rica)
113 Nikolai Shumov (Belarus) 0:20:47
114 Willem Jakobus Smit (South Africa)
115 Salaheddine Mraouni (Morocco)
116 Abderrahmane Mansouri (Algeria) 0:21:27
117 Abdenour Yahmi (Algeria)
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