The much debated percorso has me in two minds – there’s a part of me which says that it’s not as tough as I’d thought it would be – but the other part says; ‘but what about after ten times!’
I walked down the Salviati today and it’s a stinker, no question, but not that long.
I also walked down around 60% of the Fiesole, all of which is just a drag; albeit I think it kicks up steeper beyond where I descended from.
The descent off the Fiesole leads straight into the Salviati but it’s fast all the way off there to the line with just one ‘bump.’
But maybe it’s too fast for an organised chase?
The weather will play a big part, the tarmac is silky smooth, the sort of surface that Edinburgh cyclists and drivers dream about – but if it rains it could well be lethal.
This is the final drop to flat, non-technical and fast run in to the finish line.
Whilst this is further up – these bends were taken at warp speed today, to do so in the rain would be tempting providence.
There are zebra crossings, white lines, drain covers and some tricky turns.
The finish is really fast and dead straight, if they take a sprinter to the last 1,500 then he’ll win – unless someone does an Oscar Freire and disappears up the road as the ‘Bigs’ look at each other.
The circuit isn’t scenic, there’s the odd nice old building but in general it’s bland, running past apartment blocks and high walls.
But there are nice views of the famous Duomo off the Salviati descent.
The early break – which went on the 57 K run in to Florence – had a big lead when they entered the circuit but when the gas went on in the last few laps they were swallowed and spat out in a trice.
The laddies from far flung place like Morocco, Mexico and Algeria are no longer a joke though – holding their places in the peloton ‘til late in the day.
But good to see that ‘auld boys with whistles’ still hold sway at the Worlds, just like in West Flanders and Freuchie.
The Belgian fans are here in force for Gilbert – the red, yellow and black team plan is to attack the race hard, early to shed the fast men and set it up for ‘Phil’ to bolt on the Salviati, last time up.
But that sounds just like the Italian plan . . .
There were some big names shelled today, U23 TT winner Damien Howson, Australia finished 50th @ 2:42 on Mohoric.
It’s only a percorso for ‘power’ riders if you’re a skinny devil – gravity will eventually take a toll on ‘big boned’ riders.
The big Belgian favourite Jasper Stuyven lost out too – 25th @ 1:14 on the lanky Slovenian.
Stuyven has enjoyed a good season and recently signed for Trek – the new incarnation of ‘Lay-o-pahrd.’
But it has to said that the Salviati is a beast of a thing – very steep, looking steeper than the 16% they quote in the race guide.
There are no pavements; the road runs straight in to high stone walls on both sides with some riders almost riding in to the walls as the wrestled with their machines.
The USA’s Gavin Mannion managed to look comfy; as did GB’s Adam Yates who ended the day in 19th spot with bruv Simon two placings to the good.
But there were some horrible sights to behold as riders zigzagged and tried to pull their handlebars out by the roots.
As a track and chrono man respectively, Owain Doull and Joe Perret just weren’t the boys for this kind of savage percorso.
Young Mohoric was a worthy winner, showing descending skills which many hardened pros would be proud of and displaying great grinta.
Louis Meintjes silver underlines that cycling in Africa isn’t a joke anymore – almost getting across to the Slovenian and giving MTN-Qhubeka another great result.
With Milano-Sanremo courtesy of Ciolek and a whole raft of top performances to their name the African team has been one of the pleasant surprises of this season.
And another sterling result for the Dark Continent with Kudus Ghebremedhin of Eritrea in 15th spot – and no prizes for guessing the happiest pits at the end of today.
Juniors and ladies, tomorrow – maybe I won’t walk so far this time though…
Result - U23 Road Race World Championship 2013
2 Louis Meintjes (South Africa) 0:00:03
3 Sondre H Enger (Norway) 0:00:13
4 Caleb Ewan (Australia)
5 Toms Skujins (Latvia)
6 Davide Villella (Italy)
7 Dylan Van Baarle (Netherlands)
8 Silvio Herklotz (Germany)
9 Julian Alaphilippe (France)
10 Patrick Konrad (Austria)
11 Clement Chevrier (France)
12 Jan Hirt (Czech Republic)
13 Nathan Brown (United States Of America)
14 Frederico Figueiredo (Portugal)
15 Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eritrea)
16 Odd Christian Eiking (Norway)
17 Simon Yates (Great Britain)
18 Sebastian Henao Gomez (Colombia)
19 Adam Yates (Great Britain)
20 Ilia Koshevoy (Belarus) 0:00:16
21 Flavien Dassonville (France) 0:00:45
22 Ildar Arslanov (Russian Federation) 0:00:52
23 Felix Grossschartner (Austria) 0:00:53
24 Stefan Rabitsch (Austria)
25 Jasper Stuyven (Belgium) 0:01:14
26 Jasha Sutterlin (Germany) 0:01:25
27 Stefan Kueng (Switzerland)
28 Karel Hnik (Czech Republic)
29 Adrien Chenaux (Switzerland)
30 Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kazakhstan) 0:01:27
31 Adam Phelan (Australia)
32 Zico Waeytens (Belgium) 0:01:30
33 Tanner Putt (United States Of America) 0:01:39
34 Andrea Zordan (Italy) 0:01:45
35 Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez (Colombia) 0:02:27
36 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark) 0:02:33
37 Mike Teunissen (Netherlands)
38 Sjors Roosen (Netherlands)
39 Gregor Muhlberger (Austria)
40 Emanuel Piaskowy (Poland)
41 Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan)
42 Louis Vervaeke (Belgium)
43 Derk Abel Beckeringh (Netherlands)
44 Frayre Moctezuma Eder (Mexico)
45 Lukasz Wisniowski (Poland)
46 Antoine Duchesne (Canada)
47 Tilegen Maidos (Kazakhstan)
48 Luis Enrique Davila (Mexico)
49 Cristian Raileanu (Republic of Moldova)
50 Damien Howson (Australia) 0:02:42
51 Bjørn Tore Nilsen Hoem (Norway) 0:03:18
52 James Oram (New Zealand) 0:04:14
53 Fredrik S Galta (Norway)
54 Tiesj Benoot (Belgium)
55 Facundo Lezica (Argentina)
56 Fredrik Ludvigsson (Sweden) 0:05:27
57 Alexis Gougeard (France) 0:06:36
58 Alberto Bettiol (Italy)
59 Davide Formolo (Italy)
60 Michael Valgren Andersen (Denmark)
61 Roman Katyrin (Russian Federation) 0:06:52
62 Juan Ernesto Chamorro Chitan (Colombia)
63 Natnael Berhane (Eritrea)
64 Johann Van Zyl (South Africa) 0:07:07
65 Ruben Fernandez Andujar (Spain) 0:08:06
66 Mikhail Akimov (Russian Federation) 0:08:40
67 Gennady Tatarinov (Russian Federation)
68 Emanuel Buchmann (Germany)
69 Nicolae Tanovitchii (Republic of Moldova)
70 Emiel Dolfsma (Netherlands) 0:10:49
71 Simon Pellaud (Switzerland) 0:11:10
72 Heiner Rodrigo Parra Bustamente (Colombia)
73 Kristian Haugaard Jensen (Denmark)
74 Patryk Stosz (Poland) 0:11:40
75 Issak Tesfom Okubamariam (Eritrea) 0:14:45
76 Rick Zabel (Germany) 0:15:24
77 Dion Smith (New Zealand)
78 Jaka Bostner (Slovenia)
79 Emils Liepins (Latvia) 0:15:54
80 Erik Baska (Slovakia) 0:16:08
81 Marlen Zmorka (Ukraine)
82 Ihar Mytsko (Belarus)
83 Carlos Barbero Cuesta (Spain) 0:16:10
84 Mario Gonzalez Salas (Spain)
Yoav Bear (Israel)
Rene Corella (Mexico)
Henry Velasco (Ecuador)
Peeter Tarvis (Estonia)
Emil Vinjebo (Denmark)
Kolya Shumov (Belarus)
Ait El Abdia Anass (Morocco)
Maxat Ayazbayev (Kazakhstan)
Awet Ghebremedhin (Eritrea)
Meron Teshome Hagos (Eritrea)
Uladzislau Dubovski (Belarus)
Oskar Svendsen (Norway)
Olivier Le Gac (France)
Nick Van Der Lijke (Netherlands)
Julio Marcelo Paspuezan Carlozama (Ecuador)
Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spain)
Lawson Craddock (United States Of America)
Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway)
Edward Theuns (Belgium)
Nathan Wilson (United States Of America)
Haritz Orbe Urrutia (Spain)
Alistair Slater (Great Britain)
Campbell Flakemore (Australia)
Bradley Linfield (Australia)
Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kazakhstan)
Ariel Sivori (Argentina)
Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Ethiopia)
Tim Mikelj (Slovenia)
Samuel Spokes (Australia)
Richard Carapaz (Ecuador)
Andzs Flaksis (Latvia)
Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (France)
Joseph Perret (Great Britain)
Owain Doull (Great Britain)
Mark Dzamastagic (Slovenia)
Brayan Stiven Ramirez Chacon (Colombia)
Eduardo Sepulveda (Argentina)
Michele Scartezzini (Italy)
Jovan Zekavica (Serbia)
Milos Borisavljevic (Serbia)
Johannes Weber (Germany)
Eduard Michael Grosu (Romania)
Burr Ho (Hong Kong, China)
Pedro Rodriguez (Ecuador)
Feritcan Samli (Turkey)
Samir Jabrayilov (Azerbaijan)
Adil Barbari (Algeria)
Kim Magnusson (Sweden)
Maxim Rusnac (Republic of Moldova)
Marcus Faglum-Karlsson (Sweden)
Gavin Mannion (United States Of America)
Haddi Soufiane (Morocco)
Josef Cerny (Czech Republic)
Josef Hosek (Czech Republic)
Lukas Postlberger (Austria)
Dieter Bouvry (Belgium)
Mraouni Salah (Morocco)
Alexander Foliforov (Russian Federation)
Hichem Kab (Algeria)
Ben Einhorn (Israel)
Mekseb Debesay (Eritrea)
Zoltan Sipos (Romania)
David Dvorsky (Czech Republic)
Lubos Malovec (Slovakia)
Nassim Saidi (Algeria)
Carlos Eduardo Quisphe-Quishpe (Ecuador)
Ido Zilberstien (Israel)
Krists Neilands (Latvia)
Alex Frame (New Zealand)
Christopher Jennings (South Africa)
Jonathan Dibben (Great Britain)
Michael Kolar (Slovakia)
Juraj Lajcha (Slovakia)
Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Denmark)
Andris Vosekalns (Latvia)
Harrouch Tourki Youssef (Morocco)
Kristian Neemela (Estonia)
Mohd Adiq Husaini Othman (Malaysia)
Julio Cesar Benitez Rubio (Mexico)
Mihkel Raim (Estonia)
Abdallah Elar (Lebanon)
Andrei Voicu (Romania)
Marko Danilovic (Serbia)
Ilhan Celik (Turkey)
Luka Pibernik (Slovenia)