Saturday, October 16, 2021
HomeDiariesWorld Road Championships 2007 - Day 5: Elite Road Race

World Road Championships 2007 – Day 5: Elite Road Race


It wasn’t until the Belgian guy pointed it out to me today, but it wasn’t the friendliest of championships, the World Road Championships 2007. The Press Centre you expect to be a clique-ridden, unfriendly, verging on hostile place.

World Road Championships 2007
The press horde.

I think it’s because a lot of those that work there are freelance and any new face could be taking work from them. But even in the ‘real’ world, if you don’t speak first, no one will talk to you.

World Road Championships 2007
Oh look, a beer garden…

In Belgium, folks always ask what you’re about and then you have a pils together – or a dozen pils, more like.

In Germany, maybe because they are conservative by nature, there’s not a lot of chat. Anyway, enough of my un-PC attitudes and racial stereo-typing.

World Road Championships 2007
They’re off.

Sometimes you just know when someones going to win, Cancellara for instance and Bettini too. The road race is obviously much more of a lottery than the test, but when I saw Bettini training on the circuit on Friday, it was apparent that he was a driven-man. He wore a mask of concentration and determination that spoke more than any words in a newspaper. This morning (Sunday) too, business-like, focused, no time for autographs, there was a race to win.

World Road Championships 2007
Carlos Sastre.

However, it would be wrong to forget the role played by Italian coach, Franco Ballerini, who once again welded-together a strong, united team, which ran rings round a Spanish squad; which was every bit as strong as the Italians, on paper.

World Road Championships 2007
The early break.

Millar was well-in the mix until the bell lap, but that’s when it really matters. The Worlds is like Milan-San Remo, it’s all going to happen between the Poggio and the Via Roma, but you have to get there with the “heads” to be in the race. The Worlds is really just two laps, but it’s just two laps with five hours plus, in your legs.

World Road Championships 2007
Oscar and Dave.

Mark Cavendish looked OK until mid-race, but it was no surprise to see him off the back as the shadows lengthened. The Italians didn’t pick Benatti or Petacchi, so there was no way that Cavendish was going to get a result. No disrespect to ‘Cav’; he’s had a marvellous first season and if he continues to progress, is a real star in the making. But let the laddie pay his dues at this level before we think about him battling with the Azzuri for the last two laps.

World Road Championships 2007
Snack time.

Before the race it was chaotic around the Italian bus, there were hundreds of fans, looking for a glimpse of the Squadra.

World Road Championships 2007
Schumacher before the race. We just can’t quite get behind this guy for some reason.

Meanwhile, home favourite, Schumacher was able to get out of his car, stretch and chat to friends in complete peace. I think the Germans like the actual sporting event, but they’re not into the Belgian or Italian pagan idolatry stuff.

World Road Championships 2007
Race watching is thirsty work – time for a beer.

It was a beautiful day in Stuttgart, in the first couple of laps, riders were removing under vests as it got hotter and hotter. It made for a different race from the U23 event where strong headwinds on the climbs and strong tail winds on the fast parts of the course, conspired to make it very difficult to form a breakaway. There was little wind today and the result was an attacking race.

World Road Championships 2007
Dave and Paolo on the big screen.

The official finishing sheet lists two pages of DNF, virtually three quarters of the field, that tells a story. The organisers were lucky with the weather, earlier in the week it had almost felt as if there was snow in the air. One year, in a Northern European Worlds, the UCI are going to get “caught” by the weather with this new, late date. At Plouay in 2000 it was horrible, wet and very cold. In addition, many riders have had a long, long season, the racing starts in January and by the end of September, they’ve had enough.

World Road Championships 2007
The three best riders in the world. Maybe.

It’s 10.00 am Monday CET and I’m sitting in Stuttgart airport, waiting on my flight to Gatwick. That’s The Worlds for another year, Varese in Italy for 2008.

Still, Trossachs next Sunday. Braw.

World Road Championships 2007
Kolobnev deserved the silver – at least.

World Road Championships 2007
Oscar’s team couldn’t match the Italians.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

World Road Championships – Controversy at the U23 Men Road Race as Nils Eeekhoff DQ’d

There was controversy today; none of us – including Pidcock – knew that the ‘jury was out’ on big Dutchman, Nils Eeekhoff’s ‘victory.’

World Road Championships 2007 – Day 1: Espoirs Time Trial

I'm sitting in the press room at the World Road Championships 2007, sharing a table with my boyhood hero, Hugh Porter, four time world pursuit champion and on the podium in that event for seven years straight-he'll need to get interviewed, I can't let that opportunity go! We're here for the Worlds in Stuttgart, the Under-23 time trial was this morning and ladies time trial was this afternoon. I was lucky-enough to follow the Latvian rider, Gatis Smukulis in the test.

World Road Race Championship 2007 – Day 4: Espoirs Road Race

It was warm today at the World Road Race Championship 2007. It's a cliche, but what a difference nice weather makes. The ladies race was on first: I have to rant, I'm afraid. What is Jeanie Longo doing? What is the French Federation doing? What is the UCI doing? It's not good for the sport for a woman who looks about 60 to finish in the bunch; she's a remarkable athlete, no doubt. But that's not the point, it's time to stop, Jeanie. Now! OK, I feel better now.

John Archibald – Reflecting on his World Championship Pursuit

Here at VeloVeritas whilst we have the utmost respect for John Archibald and his performances we didn’t seek any pre-Worlds interviews from him, his sister Katie, Neah Evans or Mark Stewart. We felt that the ‘they just need to turn up and ride then bring home the rainbow jerseys’ vibe was putting them under pressure – of which they would experience more than enough in the cauldron of Pruszkow. We let the dust settle post-Worlds, gave John a call and found how it went...

World Road Championships 2006 – Day 1: Getting there

Off to the World Road Championships 2006. It was a 04.00 alarm job to get ready to leave at 06.00 and I hadn't had time to pack the night before. It's always the same driving to Prestwick-you think you are making great time until you get to Stepps and the vast car park that is the M8 during the rush-hour. Check-in at Prestwick wasn't too bad but the Colgate had to go-I wouldn't mind but it drives me crazy not knowing how to convert it into an explosive device.

World Road Championships 2006 – Day 5: Elite Road Race – Paolo Bettini

It's Sunday now and Paolo Bettini is World Champion. Erik Zabel's last chance of a rainbow jersey is surely gone, Valverde has another Worlds medal and I'd better try to get this diary up to date. I left you yesterday as the women's race was running its course.

At Random

Pete Smith

British cycling recently lost one of its unsung but great riders and personalities with the sad news that Pete Smith has died at the age of 76 after being in collision with a motor vehicle.

John Archibald – Racing with Contador’s EOLO-Kometa squad in 2021

There was never any doubt about Scotsman John Archibald’s talent; but we must lay aside UK results in the context of international racing, they simply don’t count with European team management. At 30 years-of-age our feeling at VeloVeritas was that John’s chances of a contract at the highest level were slim, despite his obvious class, however we’re glad to be proved wrong and John will be racing with Alberto Contador's EOLA-Kometa ProTeam squad next season.

Giro d’Italia 2012 – First Rest Day: Or Is It?

Giro d'Italia 2012 - First Rest Day, but now there's a misnomer; 'rest day.' But 'day to facilitate huge transfer which we have to carry out after our money spinning exercise in Denmark' doesn't quite roll off the tongue as easily. Let's go back to the reason the UCI introduced two rest days into Grant Tours, along with regulations to govern stage and total race lengths. There's a clue in the name, 'rest' - it was part of a raft of measures designed to lessen the stresses and strains on the riders. Read; 'stop them having to kit up.' But rest days have now become a vehicle for crazy transfers.

The VV View: Team Sky’s ‘Marginal Gains’ – Worthwhile, or Simply Hype?

It's great to see cycling breaking mainstream - a double page colour spread in the Times discussing Marginal Gains... it's almost as if the guy that bankrolls the team, owns the newspaper. He does? Oh!

Copenhagen Six Day 2009 – Day 3

VeloVeritas are in Copenhagen (south of Sweden) for day three of the six and it's time for the horror that is - the afternoon session. The highlight of the afternoon was the break dancing competition, manfully judged by Messrs. Rasmussen and Donadio. It's not well known, but break dancing has a long connection with cycling.

Tim James

Over the weekend we were shocked and saddened to hear that young English rider Tim James had passed, aged just 23 years.