By Hedwig Kröner in Varese, Italy
Fabian Wegmann of the German team rode a fine UCI World Championship road race on Sunday, finishing seventh behind the new rainbow jersey winner Alessandro Ballan. The 28 year-old was part of the final, successful breakaway and did not lack much to take home a medal, save for a bit of energy spent too soon in covering nearly every move that went during the last few laps of the race.
"If you want to win, you have to be able to follow the moves," he said, leaning against his team Gerolsteiner bus after the event. "That's what I did. It was not a pure race of attrition - you had to attack constantly to be in front. It was always the same riders: Ballan, (Damiano) Cunego, (Davide) Rebellin... they were always attacking in the last four laps and I was always with them, too."
Nevertheless, he admitted that his efforts might have been too much. "Sure, if you jump with every attack then maybe you pay for it in the end," he said. "For me, it didn't work out, but the seventh placing is not that bad, is it! I can be satisfied, I think."
Wegmann added that he felt completely drained after his performance. "It was one of the hardest races I ever did, I think. In the end, all I could feel was cramps. It wasn't a bike race anymore, it was...," he was left speechless.
"The lest ten kilometres, the climb and the flat part - I felt delirious. I couldn't think anymore. I just tried to keep somebody's wheel, at any cost..."
The German also paid tribute to the new World Champion. "Ballan was incredibly strong. He really deserved the win today. He's a very active rider. I really like his riding style and his class."