Russia's Alexandr Kolobnev has told of his pride in taking second place at the weekend's UCI World Road Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. The 26 year-old dubbed his second place to dual World Champion Paolo Bettini the greatest accomplishment of his career, which includes a Paris-Nice stage win earlier this season.
"I'd told the team in advance that I was on absolute top-form after the Vuelta and out on the route I could feel my legs were good," explained Kolobnev, who finished second on the Vuelta's Stage 16. "So the plan was to get me in position and I owe my team-mates a big thank you for all the hard work they delivered throughout the day. Our tactics were to try and make the race as tough as possible in order to split the peloton, which is exactly what happened."
While Kolobnev admitted he wished to win the world title, he added that there's no shame in finishing second to a rider like Bettini. "Of course it would've been fantastic to win the world championship, but there is only one Bettini after all," Kolobnev told team-csc.com. "I have every reason to be proud and happy with the outcome. It's my best result so far for sure."
The Team CSC rider said that having one of his trade team-mates, Luxembourg's Fränk Schleck, in the break with him made little difference on the day as were riding for different nations. "First of all we were each fighting for separate teams on the day and secondly there was no time to talk tactics at all, because the pursuers were breathing down our necks. So it was every man for himself really," explains Kolobnev.
The Russian now hopes to carry his silver medal winning form through the final races of his 2007 program. "I've got four races in Italy in October finishing with Giro di Lombardia and I'd really like to make a couple of good results there if I can," concluded Kolobnev.