Dutchman Michael Boogerd was very much in the action at the business end of the World Championships in Madrid on Sunday. He was part of a six man break that included teammate Koos Moerenhout, Italian Paolo Bettini, Kazakhstani Alexandre Vinokourov, Spaniard Marcos Serrano, and Slovenian Gorazd Stangelj. But the move came to nothing with 600 metres to go, when the Belgian-driven bunch behind brought Boonen back into the bike race.
In his column in De Telegraaf, Boogerd described his race in the finale: "Actually I thought I was certain of a medal in the World's. With six kilometres to go, I was away with Paolo Bettini and Alexandre Vinokourov. Those are the ideal men to go with in the finale. I didn't think immediately about the world title, but I knew that I would stand on the podium. Even when Koos Moerenhout, Serrano and Stangelj closed the gap, I was convinced of my chances. Maybe Koos should have immediately attacked when he closed. Then the others would have had to have worked, and that suited me perfectly. If they had hesitated, Moerenhout would have soloed to the world title.
"In any case, Koos rode a world championship race. His power was inexhaustible. We tried to play a game in the last kilometres, but that didn't work. I would have had the worst of it in a sprint against Bettini, but I had the nerve against the other men. Until the group came back with five hundred metres from the finish. Then it was all over.
"Tom Boonen is a great champion. What a fantastic season he's ridden. In the coming years, we can expect a lot from him. I give it to the Belgian team too, because they rode as one. In any case, I'm happy that the Italians didn't win. It's unbelievable how arrogant the guys were on their bikes. The whole race, they looked at everyone like they were inferior. As if they couldn't lose this race. As if the rest were riding for scraps. A rider like Pozzato, who rides with an air as if he's by far the best rider. Now, they finished behind. Their coach Franco Ballerini will complain that he based most of the race on sprinter Alessandro Petacchi. Di Luca, Basso and Cunego, they were the right guys who could have made the difference here. What that means is that they read it totally wrong. Opposite to the Italians, the sobriety of the low countries is rewarded. The Belgians and the Dutch demonstrated that they could also ride a strong finale.