By Monika Prell in Stuttgart, Germany
The two Spaniards who started the World Championship time trial were at opposite ends of the experience spectrum: Luis León Sánchez in his first elite championship and the quite experienced José Iván Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez was hopeful for a medal after putting in strong performances to win the Eneco Tour in late August, but both riders came up empty handed.
Sánchez described his first shot at the world title to Cyclingnews: "It was an important experience. It was my first professional world championships. I am proud of the confidence the selector put in me, because my competition form is not very good," he explained. "We had a very difficult Vuelta a España, and I started with a fever in Vigo. My only goal there was to help my team-mates and to recuperate." After finishing 46th, 5.07 minutes behind the winner, Sánchez was happy with his performance in Stuttgart.
"I am happy that the trainer selected me for the World's, because it's a sign of trust in me. I am satisfied to be here in Germany. The race was harder than I expected, I did not think that the climb was that hard, but I did my best. I hope that in future years, the selector will have the same confidence in me." The 23 year-old described the course: "I believe that the circuit is for riders who have a lot of power in their legs, like Iván [Gutiérrez] or [Fabian] Cancellara or similar riders."
However, 28 year-old José Iván Gutiérrez did not find quite enough power to make the podium, but finished seventh, 1 minute 56 seconds behind Fabian Cancellara. Gutiérrez and the Spanish national selector Francisco Antequera, analysed the race for Cyclingnews.
"I lacked power," Gutiérrez complained. "When I crossed the finish line for the first time, I was demoralised by seeing my time. But when [Laszlo] Bodrogi overtook me, I got new morale and tried to follow him, so my second lap was better than the first one." Antequera praised Bodrogi's pacing: "You know? He descended very fast and maintained his speed during the climb."