Evans becomes road World Champion in Mendrisio

First-ever Australian men's road World Championship win

Cadel Evans (Australia) is the new world champion. That is not a sentence that many would have imagined at 10:30 am in Mendrisio, when 202 riders set out for 19 laps of a 13.8km circuit, for a total distance of 262.2km, but, seven hours later, it was the Australian who appeared alone at the finish. His opportunistic attack at the foot of the final climb, 5km from the end, brought him a success that was as spectacular as it was surprising.

Since it was his first major one-day win, Evans was perhaps not versed in the art of victory celebrations. His were far from elaborate. He raised one hand to his mouth, blowing a kiss to the left, then one to the right, before patting his chest and kissing the ring that dangled on a chain around his neck - his wedding ring, he revealed later. The tears followed, understandably.

The home favourite Fabian Cancellara, who had set his heart on doing the double after winning Thursday's time trial, was a key protagonist over the crucial final two laps, though he eventually missed out, crossing the line a disconsolate fifth. The tears followed for him, too.

It was on the penultimate lap, on the descent of the Acqua Fresca, that Cancellara, anonymous until then, finally made his move, opening the throttle and bridging the gap to a dangerous looking lead group that had just formed. It included Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), Oliver Zaugg (Switzerland) and two survivors of an earlier move in Luca Paolini (Italy) and Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium).

Damiano Cunego (Italy) and Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) were among those who followed in Cancellara's wake, though the rest of a diminished field - down to not many more than 20 bodies - was not far behind.

Zaugg put in a power of work for his Swiss teammate, but they were caught and the Italians took over, Filippo Pozzato and Ivan Basso leading up the second climb, the Novazzano, the summit of which came only 2.8km before the line.

Coming through for the bell, though, it was a familiar figure out front on his own. UCI president Pat McQuaid had suggested, 24 hours earlier, that he would be less than happy to have to present the rainbow jersey to Alejandro Valverde of Spain, who remains under suspicion for his alleged involvement in Operacion Puerto.

But the idea of presenting it instead to the rider now on the attack must have filled him with a similar dread. The escapee was Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan), who recently returned from a two-year ban for blood doping.

"Vino" was captured, but attacked again going through Mendrisio, building a healthy-looking lead until a counterattack by Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) helped bring him back. Cancellara, meanwhile, had another dig on the final downhill section between the two climbs, this time opening the gap with another skillful descender, Samuel Sanchez (Spain), who ignored the Swiss rider's invitation to come through and capitalise on their advantage.

Yet that move did prompt the crucial selection. A nine-man lead group formed, with most of the Italians eliminated - only Cunego was left. Sanchez, in contrast, had three teammates - Valverde, Joaquin Rodriguez and three-time champion Oscar Freire - and apparently all the cards.

It was inevitable that a Spaniard would attack, and it was Rodriguez, launching a cheeky attack up the left side before the climb of Novazzano - the final climb of the race. It was cheeky because the road split in two at this point, with a border up the middle, but, when the border disappeared and the road opened back up, Kolobnev and Evans jumped after him. As Evans explained later, "Spain had the numbers. When one Spanish guy went away, no one was going to chase him down, so that's why when Spain made a move, I made sure I was there."

Yet when Evans jumped clear, at the foot of the climb, Rodriguez seemed unable to react. He sat behind Kolobnev, no doubt hoping that a teammate would come up from behind, but it didn't happen. Instead, Cancellara cut a forlorn figure on the front of the chase group - a misnomer, since it wasn't actually chasing - looking around for help, but with no response.

Evans had 13 seconds over Kolobnev and Rodriguez at the top of the climb, and 24 seconds on the group behind. It was enough. He put his head down and raced for the finish. "I've been thinking about this race for two years," said a tearful Evans, who lives only 3km from the circuit. But surely even he - in his wildest dreams - couldn't have foreseen this outcome.

A long day

The first half of the world title race was dominated by an early break, which went clear as early as the first lap, with Matija Kvasina (Croatia), Christoph Sokoll (Austria), Peter Kusztor (Hungary), Jan Barta (Czech Republic), Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) and the surprise infiltrator, Andre Greipel (Germany), fresh from his four stage wins at the Vuelta a Espana.

Thirty seconds clear at the end of the first lap of 13.8km, with its two testing climbs and very little respite in between, they had doubled that advantage a lap later. A chasing group of four then formed behind them on the third lap, containing Mauricio Ardila (Colombia), Gorazd Stangelj (Slovenia), Volodymyr Zagorodny (Ukraine) and Olegs Melehs (Latvia), and they came together on the climb out of Mendrisio - the Acqua Fresca - to make a lead group of 10.

With none of the major nations represented - apart, perhaps, from Greipel for Germany - they were able to capitalise on the peloton's indifference, steadily building a lead that nudged ten minutes after six laps, with almost a third of the race covered. It was at this point, though, that the race proper began for at least one of the Italian team - Marzio Bruseghin.

The Lampre veteran put in an incredible shift, leading the bunch for lap after lap - he led them through the start/finish area for an incredible six laps in succession - and almost single-handedly reduced the break's advantage.

By the time that Bruseghin clocked off - his shift ending after eleven laps, or with almost two-thirds completed - it was down to around six minutes, but his clocking off coincided with a more significant development involving four of the Azzurri, including the defending World Champion Alessandro Ballan.

Ballan, Michele Scarponi, Giovanni Visconti (all Italy), Joaquin Rodriguez (Spain), Greg Van Avermaet and Francis De Greef (both Belgium), Michael Albasini (Switzerland), Paul Maertens (Germany) and Johnny Hoogerland (Netherlands) formed a dangerous-looking nine-man group - so dangerous that they were hunted down by a counter-move of 20 men.

That group included former champion Tom Boonen and two more Belgian teammates, another Italian - Luca Paolini - as well as Michael Rogers (Australia), Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg), Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) and two more Spaniards in Juan Jose Cobo and Carlos Barredo. As the two groups merged to form one of some 29 riders, that mix was interesting - four Italians, four Belgians and three Spanish.

Behind, it was initially the Norwegian team of Edvald Boasson Hagen who led the chase, before Australia, with Adam Hansen, Stuart O'Grady and Matthew Hayman all prominent, took over.

The Ballan group gained a minute-and-a-half on the peloton, while the break continued to dangle out front. Coming up for four laps to go, though, and it was down to a precarious 36 seconds, with the bunch a further 45 seconds back. It looked then as though it would all come back together, but then, with the early break swallowed up, the gap stretched back out - to two minutes over the next lap.

As is often the case in the World Championships, however, the race didn't erupt until the final two laps. The Italians and Spaniards predictably massed at the front, but it was to be a race with a twist - and one that justified all that work by the Cyclones, who, a couple of hours later, could celebrate Australia's first ever world road race champion.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cadel Evans (Australia)6:56:26 
2Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation)0:00:27 
3Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain)  
4Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spain)0:00:30 
5Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)  
6Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)0:00:51 
7Matti Breschel (Denmark)  
8Damiano Cunego (Italy)  
9Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spain)  
10Simon Gerrans (Australia)0:01:47 
11Fabian Wegmann (Germany)  
12Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Norway)  
13Chris Sörensen (Denmark)0:01:59 
14Johnny Hoogerland (Netherlands)0:02:02 
15Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain)  
16Ivan Basso (Italy)  
17Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Portugal)0:02:44 
18Michael Barry (Canada)  
19Serguei Ivanov (Russian Federation)  
20Karsten Kroon (Netherlands)0:02:50 
21Filippo Pozzato (Italy)  
22Leonardo Fabio Duque (Colombia)  
23Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands)  
24Sylvester Szmyd (Poland)  
25Kevin De Weert (Belgium)  
26Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan)  
27Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus)  
28Oliver Zaugg (Switzerland)  
29Sylvain Chavanel (France)  
30Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania)  
31Alexandre Botcharov (Russian Federation)  
32Tadej Valjavec (Slovenia)  
33Thomas Lövkvist (Sweden)  
34Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Portugal)  
35Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia)  
36Robert Gesink (Netherlands)0:03:01 
37Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia)0:03:21 
38Tom Boonen (Belgium)  
39Bert De Waele (Belgium)  
40Philip Deignan (Ireland)  
41Alessandro Ballan (Italy)  
42Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spain)  
43Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)0:03:45 
44Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)  
45Kim Kirchen (Luxembourg)0:04:20 
46Pierrick Fedrigo (France)0:04:29 
47Marcus Ljungqvist (Sweden)0:05:20 
48Gorazd Stangelj (Slovenia)  
49Jussi Veikkanen (Finland)  
50José Rujano Guillen (Venezuela)  
51Eduard Vorganov (Russian Federation)  
52Steven Cummings (Great Britain)  
53Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)  
54Kristjan Fajt (Slovenia)  
55Murilo Antonio Fischer (Brazil)  
56Kanstantin Siutsou (Belarus)  
57Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan)  
58Assan Bazayev (Kazakhstan)  
59Craig Lewis (United States Of America)  
60Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)  
61Christophe Riblon (France)  
62Przemyslaw Niemiec (Poland)  
63Nick Nuyens (Belgium)  
64Matthew Lloyd (Australia)0:06:07 
65Luca Paolini (Italy)0:07:43 
66Dmitriy Fofonov (Kazakhstan)  
67Thomas Voeckler (France)  
68Daniel Martin (Ireland)0:08:22 
69Rui Alberto Rui Costa (Portugal)  
70Vladimir Miholjevic (Croatia)0:10:54 
71Stefano Garzelli (Italy)  
72Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukraine)  
73Bartosz Huzarski (Poland)  
74Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Colombia)  
75Carlos José Ochoa (Venezuela)  
76Hrvoje Miholjevic (Croatia)  
77Aleksejs Saramotins (Latvia)  
78Fredrik Kessiakoff (Sweden)  
79Grischa Niermann (Germany)  
79Timothy Duggan (United States Of America)  
81Stian Remme (Norway)  
82Michael Albasini (Switzerland)  
83Franklin Chacon Colmenares (Venezuela)  
84René Mandri (Estonia)  
85Pavel Brutt (Russian Federation)  
86Michal Golas (Poland)  
87Gabriel Rasch (Norway)  
88Maarten Wynants (Belgium)  
89Maxime Monfort (Belgium)  
90Martin Velits (Slovakia)  
91Lars Boom (Netherlands)  
92Roger Hammond (Great Britain)  
93Christophe Le Mevel (France)  
94Thomas Peterson (United States Of America)  
95Dimitri Champion (France)  
96Hayden Roulston (New Zealand)  
97Maxim Iglinsky (Kazakhstan)  
98Mccartney Jason (United States Of America)  
99Johannes Fröhlinger (Germany)  
100Peter Velits (Slovakia)  
101Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia)  
102Gerhard Trampusch (Austria)0:14:03 
103Paul Martens (Germany)  
104Volodymyr Zagorodny (Ukraine)  
105Vladimir Karpets (Russian Federation)  
106Jan Barta (Czech Republic)  
107Michael Rogers (Australia)  
108Juan Carlos Lopez Marin (Colombia)  
DNFJuan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spain)  
DNFThomas Danielson (United States Of America)  
DNFTony Martin (Germany)  
DNFMarzio Bruseghin (Italy)  
DNFSerhiy Honchar (Ukraine)  
DNFJacek Morajko (Poland)  
DNFJuan Manuel Garate Cepa (Spain)  
DNFJackson Rodriguez (Venezuela)  
DNFSebastian Langeveld (Netherlands)  
DNFPeter Kusztor (Hungary)  
DNFAliaksandr Kuchynski (Belarus)  
DNFChristian Knees (Germany)  
DNFFrancis De Greef (Belgium)  
DNFManuel Eduardo Medina Marino (Venezuela)  
DNFGiovanni Visconti (Italy)  
DNFRubens Bertogliati (Switzerland)  
DNFMichele Scarponi (Italy)  
DNFCarlos Barredo Llamazales (Spain)  
DNFRuben Plaza Molina (Spain)  
DNFAnders Lund (Denmark)  
DNFChristopher Froome (Great Britain)  
DNFTyler Farrar (United States Of America)  
DNFFrank Hoj (Denmark)  
DNFMaciej Paterski (Poland)  
DNFAndrew Bajadali (United States Of America)  
DNFSvein Tuft (Canada)  
DNFRoman Kreuziger (Czech Republic)  
DNFDaniel Lloyd (Great Britain)  
DNFGrega Bole (Slovenia)  
DNFWesley Sulzberger (Australia)  
DNFVolodymyr Starchyk (Ukraine)  
DNFYukiya Arashiro (Japan)  
DNFBen Swift (Great Britain)  
DNFAndré Greipel (Germany)  
DNFMauricio Ardila Cano (Colombia)  
DNFFabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uruguay)  
DNFGeraint Thomas (Great Britain)  
DNFLars Ytting Bak (Denmark)  
DNFMatija Kvasina (Croatia)  
DNFThor Hushovd (Norway)  
DNFLaurent Didier (Luxembourg)  
DNFGuama Byron (Ecuador)  
DNFAndrey Kashechkin (Kazakhstan)  
DNFStuart O`Grady (Australia)  
DNFDavid Millar (Great Britain)  
DNFMathew Hayman (Australia)  
DNFSimon Clarke (Australia)  
DNFJanek Tombak (Estonia)  
DNFBrent Bookwalter (United States Of America)  
DNFAndrey Amador Bikkazakova (Costa Rica)  
DNFRoy Hegreberg (Norway)  
DNFMartin Mares (Czech Republic)  
DNFRein Taaramae (Estonia)  
DNFFreddy Vargas (Venezuela)  
DNFEvgeny Popov (Russian Federation)  
DNFMathias Frank (Switzerland)  
DNFTiago Fiorilli (Brazil)  
DNFNicolas Roche (Ireland)  
DNFChristoph Sokoll (Austria)  
DNFTaiji Nishitani (Japan)  
DNFDan Craven (Namibia)  
DNFBorut Bozic (Slovenia)  
DNFMagno Prado Nazaret (Brazil)  
DNFGuennadi Mikhailov (Russian Federation)  
DNFGrégory Rast (Switzerland)  
DNFTimothy Gudsell (New Zealand)  
DNFJan Valach (Slovakia)  
DNFJay Robert Thomson (South Africa)  
DNFFrederik Wilman (Norway)  
DNFJeremy Vennell (New Zealand)  
DNFOlegs Melehs (Latvia)  
DNFAlexander Porsev (Russian Federation)  
DNFJean-Pierre Drucker (Luxembourg)  
DNFNebojsa Jovanovic (Serbia)  
DNFIan Stannard (Great Britain)  
DNFAndy Schleck (Luxembourg)  
DNFMartin Garrido Mayorga (Argentina)  
DNFRyder Hesjedal (Canada)  
DNFMarcel Sieberg (Germany)  
DNFGerald Ciolek (Germany)  
DNFMatias Medici (Argentina)  
DNFRussell Downing (Great Britain)  
DNFHaavard Nybö (Norway)  
DNFIstvan Cziraki (Hungary)  
DNFLars Petter Nordhaug (Norway)  
DNFValentin Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan)  
DNFAlfredo Orlando Lucero (Argentina)  
DNFAllan Davis (Australia)  
DNFZolt Der (Serbia)  
DNFGergely Ivanics (Hungary)  
DNFEsad Hasanovic (Serbia)  
DNFCarlos Ivan Oyarzun Guiñez (Chile)  
DNFRuslan Pydgornyy (Ukraine)  
DNFPeter Wrolich (Austria)  

 

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