Just about everyone named Rodriguez, Valverde, Nibali, Sagan, Gilbert and Cancellara as favourites – but I didn’t see one mention of Portugal’s Rui Costa’s name before the race.
But he was there with the best at the death and played his hand as coolly as Paul Newman in ‘The Sting.’
Martin and I watched him win a Tour stage back in the summer and he really does ride with his head as well as legs – one smart rider.
He’s won the Tour de Suisse twice so it’s obvious he can get over the climbs; but he’s also won the Four Days of Dunkirk – there are no wimps on that role of honour.
A good head coupled with good climbing skills and toughness – just about all the ingredients you need to be a top roadman.
The day was gruesome; it rained from before the riders made the first pass of the circuit until two laps to go.
At best a drizzle, at worst a torrent which had little streams running down the climb and drain covers bubbling.
By the end my camera was misted up and my notebook was mush – thankfully the sun came out at the end and I was able to improvise, taking pictures with the BlackBerry.
The Italians did a power of work – too much, I think with Nibali isolated at the end.
Nibali rode a man’s race; he could rightly have expected some help from Costa in the finale but the Portuguese was playing his poker game to perfection.
It also looked to me that Valverde was perhaps playing his role for Movistar, not just Spain.
Even although Costa leaves Movistar for Lampre for 2014 it’s still a huge boost for the Spanish team until the end of this year for Costa to wear the rainbow stripes.
If Valverde had played it differently and Costa or Nibali had won then it wouldn’t have looked good.
Rodriguez was shattered after the line, I grabbed a quick picture as he was marshalled towards the ‘controle’ – head hung, tight lipped.
It’s passion with men like Rodriguez, not just objectives, plans and formula.
‘The Shark’ was close to tears as he wheeled through the madness that is a Worlds finish.
Had he not crashed then it just might have been different…
He was lucky to escape the Media frenzy – riders are pounced upon and asked detailed questions practically before they’ve unclipped.
Some, like Serge Pauwels were showing a bit of stress; those Belgian journos don’t miss you.
But others, like Zdeněk Štybar look remarkably, ‘neither up nor down with’ with it all – the last thing the Czech looked like was a man who’d just finished a 7 hour 25 minute death race in the rain.
Phil Gilbert finished ninth, not a bad ride but total failure as far as the Belgian Media are concerned; but he has to stand and answer those questions – it’s part of his job.
But if ninth was failure, then how do you describe an entire team being DNF?
‘Total disaster’ is one way.
I was doing my usual ‘walk the circuit’ thing when I came upon this work of art.
There was also a ‘Go Froomey Go!’ banner; but when the squalls which preceded the storm began to blow in, there was a loud ‘crack’ and it was gone.
‘A portent’ I thought to myself – and sure enough he lost contact and quit. Wiggins had actually gone by this stage, creeping past the banner dedicated to him whilst back among the cars.
There’s two ways you can look at it; once their leader Froome was gone then there was no job for the rest of the team to do – so why suffer and risk crash and/or illness?
But look at Simon Clarke for Aussie – he didn’t chuck it when Porte and Evans crashed out, he put his head down and ‘honoured the race’ taking seventh spot and doing his reputation no harm.
Doubtless it was a horrible day – but not just for GB, for all 60 finishers.
It can also be argued that it’s been a long season for some of the GB guys, but again, you can say the same of the rest of the peloton.
Whilst GB and Sky have mastered the art of stage racing – which centres round time trials and control, the one day game is altogether different and much less easy to control.
Watts are watts; tactics and grinta are quite different things.
But it’s easy for me to say, I wasn’t on the bike in that rain.
I did win a personal battle, though – after my morning cappuccino and pour over the Gazzetta, I came upon a hardware store.
‘Raid’ is what it said on the tin and that’s exactly what I launched upon the blood thirsty aphids which have made my last two nights such a torment.
I slept like a baby and woke without one bite on me – a nice way to end my Worlds.
Result - Elite Men Road Race World Championship 2013
2 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spain)
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spain) 0:00:17
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)
5 Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) 0:00:31
6 Peter Sagan (Slovakia) 0:00:34
7 Simon Clarke (Australia)
8 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan)
9 Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)
10 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
11 Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
12 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway)
13 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spain)
14 Simon Geschke (Germany)
15 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Colombia)
16 Michele Scarponi (Italy)
17 Filippo Pozzato (Italy) 0:01:05
18 Arthur Vichot (France)
19 Maciej Paterski (Poland)
20 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
21 Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)
22 Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania) 0:01:26
23 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)
24 Yury Trofimov (Russian Federation) 0:01:44
25 Pieter Weening (Netherlands) 0:01:59
26 Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)
27 Aleksejs Saramotins (Latvia) 0:02:01
28 Romain Bardet (France)
29 Serge Pauwels (Belgium)
30 Matija Kvasina (Croatia)
31 Alex Howes (United States of America)
32 Chris Anker Sorensen (Denmark)
33 Michal Golas (Poland)
34 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Colombia)
35 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Colombia)
36 Tiago Jose Pinto Machado (Portugal)
37 Peter Stetina (United States of America)
38 Stefan Denifl (Austria) 0:02:05
39 Marcus Burghardt (Germany) 0:03:40
40 Jan Polanc (Slovenia)
41 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia) 0:04:27
42 John Degenkolb (Germany) 0:04:53
43 Sergei Chernetski (Russian Federation) 0:04:55
44 Anthony Roux (France)
45 Gregory Rast (Switzerland) 0:06:24
46 Thomas Lovkvist (Sweden) 0:07:27
47 Andrei Nechita (Romania) 0:08:06
48 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain)
49 Paul Martens (Germany)
50 Thibaut Pinot (France) 0:09:09
51 Giovanni Visconti (Italy) 0:09:15
52 Bartosz Huzarski (Poland) 0:09:36
53 Danilo Wyss (Switzerland) 0:11:20
54 Jan Barta (Czech Republic)
55 Fabian Wegmann (Germany)
56 Amael Moinard (France)
57 Jan Bakelants (Belgium)
58 Rafal Majka (Poland) 0:12:55
59 Cyril Gautier (France) 0:15:11
60 Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands)
61 Thomas Voeckler (France)
DNF Youcef Reguigui (Algeria)
DNF Enzo Moyano (Argentina)
DNF Cadel Evans (Australia)
DNF Cameron Meyer (Australia)
DNF David Tanner (Australia)
DNF Mathew Hayman (Australia)
DNF Michael Matthews (Australia)
DNF Richie Porte (Australia)
DNF Rohan Dennis (Australia)
DNF Rory Sutherland (Australia)
DNF Bernhard Eisel (Austria)
DNF Georg Preidler (Austria)
DNF Markus Eibegger (Austria)
DNF Matthias Brandle (Austria)
DNF Riccardo Zoidl (Austria)
DNF Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)
DNF Bjorn Leukemans (Belgium)
DNF Johan Vansummeren (Belgium)
DNF Maxime Monfort (Belgium)
DNF Murilo Antonio Fischer (Brazil)
DNF Rafael Andriato (Brazil)
DNF Spas Gyurov (Bulgaria)
DNF Christian Meier (Canada)
DNF Francois Parisien (Canada)
DNF Janier Acevedo Calle (Colombia)
DNF Jose Cayetano Sarmiento Tunarosa (Colombia)
DNF Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia)
DNF Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Colombia)
DNF Winner Anacona Gomez (Colombia)
DNF Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (Costa Rica)
DNF Gregory Obando Brenes (Costa Rica)
DNF Kristijan Durasek (Croatia)
DNF Radoslav Rogina (Croatia)
DNF Frantisek Rabon (Czech Republic)
DNF Jakub Novak (Czech Republic)
DNF Martin Hunal (Czech Republic)
DNF Stanislav Kozubek (Czech Republic)
DNF Matti Breschel (Denmark)
DNF Jose Ragonessi (Ecuador)
DNF Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eritrea)
DNF Jani Tewelde Weldegabir (Eritrea)
DNF Meron Russom (Eritrea)
DNF Alo Jakin (Estonia)
DNF Gert Joeaar (Estonia)
DNF Tanel Kangert (Estonia)
DNF Jussi Veikkanen (Finland)
DNF Christophe Riblon (France)
DNF Warren Barguil (France)
DNF Dominik Nerz (Germany)
DNF Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)
DNF Christopher Froome (Great Britain)
DNF Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)
DNF Ian Stannard (Great Britain)
DNF Joshua Edmondson (Great Britain)
DNF Luke Rowe (Great Britain)
DNF Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)
DNF Stephen Cummings (Great Britain)
DNF Ioannis Tamouridis (Greece)
DNF Ho Ting Kwok (Hong Kong, China)
DNF King Lok Cheung (Hong Kong, China)
DNF Peter Kusztor (Hungary)
DNF Daniel Martin (Ireland)
DNF Matt Brammeier (Ireland)
DNF Nicolas Roche (Ireland)
DNF Sam Bennett (Ireland)
DNF Alessandro Vanotti (Italy)
DNF Diego Ulissi (Italy)
DNF Ivan Santaromita (Italy)
DNF Luca Paolini (Italy)
DNF Rinaldo Nocentini (Italy)
DNF Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan)
DNF Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan)
DNF Andris Smirnovs (Latvia)
DNF Viesturs Luksevics (Latvia)
DNF Gediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania)
DNF Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)
DNF Bob Jungels (Luxembourg)
DNF Sea Keong Loh (Malaysia)
DNF Hector Hugo Rangel Zamarron (Mexico)
DNF Juan Pablo Magallanes Aranda (Mexico)
DNF Uri Martins (Mexico)
DNF Adil Jelloul (Morocco)
DNF Essaid Abelouache (Morocco)
DNF Ismail Ayoune (Morocco)
DNF Lahcen Saber (Morocco)
DNF Reda Aadel (Morocco)
DNF Johnny Hoogerland (Netherlands)
DNF Laurens Ten Dam (Netherlands)
DNF Robert Gesink (Netherlands)
DNF Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands)
DNF Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)
DNF Tom Jelte Slagter (Netherlands)
DNF George Bennett (New Zealand)
DNF Jack Bauer (New Zealand)
DNF Sam Bewley (New Zealand)
DNF Thor Hushovd (Norway)
DNF Maciej Bodnar (Poland)
DNF Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland)
DNF Przemyslaw Niemiec (Poland)
DNF Szmyd Sylwester (Poland)
DNF André Fernando Cardoso (Portugal)
DNF Serghei Tvetcov (Republic of Moldova)
DNF Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation)
DNF Ivan Stevic (Serbia)
DNF Juraj Sagan (Slovakia)
DNF Martin Velits (Slovakia)
DNF Matej Jurco (Slovakia)
DNF Patrik Tybor (Slovakia)
DNF Peter Velits (Slovakia)
DNF Borut Bozic (Slovenia)
DNF Grega Bole (Slovenia)
DNF Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia)
DNF Kristijan Koren (Slovenia)
DNF Mugerli Matej (Slovenia)
DNF Daryl Impey (South Africa)
DNF Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa)
DNF Alberto Contador Velasco (Spain)
DNF Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spain)
DNF Jose Herrada Lopez (Spain)
DNF Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spain)
DNF Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spain)
DNF Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Sweden)
DNF Tobias Ludvigsson (Sweden)
DNF Martin Elmiger (Switzerland)
DNF Mathias Frank (Switzerland)
DNF Michael Albasini (Switzerland)
DNF Michael Schar (Switzerland)
DNF Oliver Zaugg (Switzerland)
DNF Sebastien Reichenbach (Switzerland)
DNF Rafaa Chtioui (Tunisia)
DNF Andriy Khripta (Ukraine)
DNF Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine)
DNF Sergiy Grechyn (Ukraine)
DNF Vitaliy Buts (Ukraine)
DNF Yaroslav Popovych (Ukraine)
DNF Andrew Talansky (United States of America)
DNF Christopher Horner (United States of America)
DNF Matthew Busche (United States of America)
DNF Taylor Phinney (United States of America)
DNF Tejay van Garderen (United States of America)
DNF Carlos Jose Ochoa (Venezuela)
DNF Freddy Vargas (Venezuela)
DNF Jackson Rodriguez (Venezuela)
DNF Pedro Sequera (Venezuela)
DNF Yonathan Monsalve (Venezuela)
DNF Yonder Godoy (Venezuela)