UCI Road World Championships 2012

September 16-23, 2012, Valkenburg, Netherlands, Road - CM

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Susan Westemeyer

This is it!  The Elite Men will battle it out to see who is best in the World!

  1. 10:46:20 CEST

    And they're off!

    The men take on a monster course today: 267km. They start out with a 105km jaunt through southern Limburg before tackling ten laps of the now familiar circuit course which of course, features the Cauberg only shortly before the finish.

  2. 10:47:41 CEST

    GB's Cavendish and Wiggins -- the reigning World Champion and the Tour de France/Olympic winner -- are leading the way in the neutralized section.

  3. 10:52:22 CEST

    The large group is moving together through the neutralized section, but it looks like now the action has started!

  4. 10:53:23 CEST

    The speed has picked up now, of course. No one has gotten away yet.

  5. 10:54:12 CEST

    It is an overcast day with chances of showers later on.  Cooler rather than warmer.

  6. 10:57:08 CEST

    The last time the Worlds were held here was in 1998. At that time the covered 258km, or 15 laps of a circuit course. Oscar Camenzind of Switzerland won it in a time of 6:1:30 – yes, that is six hours – with Belgium's Peter van Petegem second at 23 seconds and Michele Bartoli of Italy third at 24 seconds.

  7. 10:57:40 CEST

    Team GB is back at the head of the field.

  8. 10:58:51 CEST

    There is a lot of road furniture on this section of the course, but so far there have been no problems.

    Hm, looks like a few riders are trying to get away.

  9. 10:59:16 CEST

    No chance for them, but now a Dutch rider dashes out.

  10. 10:59:40 CEST

    He immediately have three or four riders on his rear wheel, and then the whole peloton.

  11. 11:01:40 CEST

    They are riding through a village now, where a few cars are parked on the road. Not good.

  12. 11:02:34 CEST

    Lithuanian Ignatas Konovalovas greets the tv camera as he takes his jacket off.

  13. 11:03:45 CEST

    GB is still leading the field, but not far behind them is a fleet of blue-and-orange Dutch riders.

  14. 11:05:02 CEST

    And another attack from a Dutch rider!

  15. 11:05:42 CEST

    He is not alone, but not sure who is with him - a French rider.

  16. 11:06:18 CEST

    The French rider is Jeremy Roy, can't quite catch the number of the Dutchman.

  17. 11:06:44 CEST

    It is Bert-Jan Lindeman, and the pair take on the first climb of the day.

  18. 11:08:41 CEST

    Vladimir Isaichev (Russia) is trying to bridge up to the leading pair, which has 19 seconds on the field.

  19. 11:10:53 CEST

    The Russian now has compan, as more riders jump out.

  20. 11:12:59 CEST

    It now looks like there is only one rider between the field and the two leaders.

  21. 11:13:50 CEST

    It is Evaldus Siskevicius of Lithuania.

  22. 11:14:19 CEST

    Koen de Koert of the Netherlands is moving up on him now.

  23. 11:16:41 CEST

    Siskeviciusnow has the leaders in his sights -- but so does the whole peloton.

  24. 11:17:38 CEST

    Everyone has been caught except for the two leaders.

  25. 11:19:08 CEST

    Another rider has jumped from the field, and we have our first crash: Oscar Freire!

  26. 11:19:59 CEST

    His bike has problems, but he may hve injured himself as well. He is back up and going, so let's hope he is ok.

  27. 11:21:33 CEST

    One of the Spanish threats to win is Oscar Freire, and why not?  He has already won this title three times! He has also said if he wins today, he will ride another year, otherwise he will retire. But he has threatened that before, so who knows....

  28. 11:23:18 CEST

    Freire is back on the field now. Meanwhile Lindeman and Roy have been caught.

  29. 11:24:03 CEST

    Freire is now discussing things with some other riders, with much gesturing. We venture to say he is not particularly happy.

  30. 11:25:39 CEST

    Another rider has taken off, not yet sure who it is. He doesn't have a huge lead.

  31. 11:27:44 CEST

    The other rider involved in Freire's crash was Ireland's Dan Martin, but he was easily able to continue.

    The break rider now is Stanislav Kozubek of the Czech Republic. But he has now been caught.

  32. 11:30:06 CEST

    Here the top ten from last year's race in Copenhagen:

    1     Mark Cavendish (Great Britain)     5:40:27      
    2     Matthew Harley Goss (Australia)            
    3     André Greipel (Germany)            
    4     Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)            
    5     Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium)            
    6     Romain Feillu (France)            
    7     Borut Bozic (Slovenia)            
    8     Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)            
    9     Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain)            
    10     Tyler Farrar (United States Of America)            

    Of those riders, Goss, Greipel, Cancellara, Feillu, and Farrar are not participating today – some due to injuries, but also because it is absolutely not a flat sprinter's course.

  33. 11:30:48 CEST

    Bradley Wiggins at the rear of the field.

  34. 11:32:22 CEST

    This is an unsettled part of the race. Many rides trying to jump but not being successful.

  35. 11:33:20 CEST

    Two riders with a slight lead on the next climb. Let's see if we can get those names.

  36. 11:34:31 CEST

    The duo is Vitaliy Buts (Ukraine) and Gattis Smukulis (Latvia).

  37. 11:34:56 CEST

    The field is strung out single file, with small gaps appearing.

  38. 11:36:07 CEST

    There is a first chase group of 40 or so, with a slight gap back to the peloton.

  39. 11:37:16 CEST

    The two chase groups have merged again, as another rider takes off.

  40. 11:37:42 CEST

    It is another rider from the Ukraine, but we didn't catch his number.

  41. 11:40:48 CEST

    The duo has an 18 second lead.

  42. 11:42:39 CEST

    The other Ukrainian rider is still dangling in between the two groups.

  43. 11:43:24 CEST

    The Ukrainian chaser is Oleksandr Polivoda.

  44. 11:45:20 CEST

    Well, the gaps have sure changed! The peloton is now at 1:08 back!

  45. 11:46:24 CEST

    Polivoda, who was underway with Latvia's Saramotins, has been caught. And the next group tries to form and give chase.

  46. 11:47:24 CEST

    That group didn't accomplish anything.

  47. 11:49:31 CEST

    The pace is very high right now and the peloton is being pulled apart.

    Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain) back amongst the team cars, but we think he just dropped back for a chat.

  48. 11:51:45 CEST

    Going back a few years, these are the World Champions:

    2011 Mark Cavendish
    2010 Thor Hushovd
    2009 Cadel Evans
    2008 Alessandro Ballan
    2007 Paolo Bettini
    2006 Paolo Bettini
    2005 Tom Boonen
    2004 Oscar Freire Gomez
    2003 Igor Astarloa Askasibar
    2002 Mario Cipollini
    2001 Oscar Freire Gomez
    2000 Romans Vainsteins
    1999 Oscar Freire Gomez

    And which of them are here?  Cavendish, Boonen and Freire.

  49. 11:56:36 CEST

    Koen de Koert  of the Netherlands has tried to jump but doesn't succeed.

  50. 220km remaining from 261km

    11:58:14 CEST

    There are about 220km still to go. We understand that a large group has formed in the lead now, joining the two previous leaders.

  51. 11:58:45 CEST

    It is now a 10-man group, with 36 seconds on the field.

  52. 11:59:46 CEST

    55 seconds now for the leaders, as many of the peloton pull over for a nature break.

  53. 12:01:42 CEST

    The lead group didnt stop, but kept on going, so their gap is now 1:24. And the peloton riders who didn't stop earlier to answer the call of nature are doing so now.

  54. 215km remaining from 261km

    12:02:36 CEST

    Not ten, but eleven riders: Lastras (ESP), Cataldo (ITA), Duggan (USA), Howes (USA), Coppel (FRA), Anacona (COL), Mezgec (SLO), Isaichev (RUS), Buts (UKR), Ferrari (URU), and Kangert (EST).

  55. 12:06:35 CEST

    The lead group now has three minutes, so this looks like our group of the day.

  56. 12:11:10 CEST

    The gapjis now even at four minutes.

  57. 12:13:15 CEST

    Climbing?  Yes, those lovely little climbs of this area.  And here they are:

        1 Maasberg (500m at 4.4%)
        2 Adsteeg (500m to 5'4)
        3 Lange Raarberg (1300m to 4.5%)
        4 Putberg (1400m to 4.6%)
        5 Rugweg (3100m to 3'2)
        6 Eperheide (2300m to 4.5%)
        7 Hoogcruts (1000m to 5.8%)
        8 Bemelerberg (900m 5%) x10
        9 Cauberg (1200m to 5.8%) x10

  58. 12:14:34 CEST

    None other than outgoing world champion Mark Cavendish is leading the peloton.

  59. 12:16:10 CEST

    A change in the make-up of the lead group: Not Kangert, but Gatis Smukulis of Latvia.

  60. 12:17:14 CEST

    The Dutch aren't willing to let this race get out of their grasp, and have sent what looks like their whole team to the head of the field.

  61. 200km remaining from 261km

    12:19:02 CEST

    The gap is at 4:15 with 200km still to go.

  62. 12:23:28 CEST

    Who are the favourites here today? Cyclingnews expects one of these ten riders to take the title.

  63. 12:26:02 CEST

    GB again at the head of the field, Cavendish again.

  64. 12:28:08 CEST

    Big crowds in the village. Cycling is of course enormously popular here.

  65. 12:32:06 CEST

    Let's take a look at some of the favourites.  Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) is most definitely one of them. One could say this hasn't really been his season. After totally dominating things in 2011, he shockingly didn't get his first win this year until the Vuelta a Espana, where he took two stages. This is surely the kind of course which favours him and he will be highly motivated, but will that be enough?

    Of course, he already has one medal from this Worlds:  silver from the team time trial.

  66. 12:34:54 CEST

    Daniel taking over from Susan and Stephen for a while.

  67. 12:35:56 CEST

    Cavendish and team GB continue to set the pace on the front. It's a rather puzzling move as GB don't need to do the chasing at the moment. The onus is on the teams like Belgium and Holland to do the majority of the work.

  68. 12:38:08 CEST

    Mark Cavendish (Sky) wins stage 8


    Cavendish has done a fair share of work on the front in the early stages. As the outgoing world champion he's racing today as a sign of respect for the rainbow jersey. With little chance of a sprint, he's devoted all of his energies to GB.

  69. 12:42:05 CEST

    • Crash

    The earlier crash for Friere is the only major incident we've seen so far in the race. The three time world champion is looking for his 4th world title. He's currently tied in the record books and having finished so well in Amstel this year, he's a good bet for today - assuming he's not suffering too badly after the early tumble.

  70. 12:43:33 CEST

    The gap to the leaders is up to 5:39.

  71. 12:45:14 CEST

    A Spanish train of riders have moved up to the front of the peloton, just as the road starts to narrow. Cavendish and Dowsett are actually the only two British riders working but they've been joined by a ride from Belgium.

  72. 12:48:36 CEST

    Back to Susan

  73. 12:50:21 CEST

    We are doing a tag-team live report today, it looks like.

    The good news is that the sun has come out now on the course.

  74. 12:53:40 CEST

    It is a big field today, 203 riders from 46 different countries. Team sizes range from nine riders to one.

  75. 12:55:52 CEST

    Tim Duggan of the US is leading the break group at the moment. HIs stars-and-stripes kit is quite a contrast to this neon green Liquigas arm warmer!

  76. 12:58:10 CEST

    We now see Alberto Contador the first time. It will be interesting to see how he does today, whether he will ride for himself or work for his teammates.

  77. 171km remaining from 261km

    13:01:06 CEST

    We have covered about 90km and the gap is nearly at six minutes. There is still a very long way to go, though.

  78. 13:04:29 CEST

    We have three sets of brothers in the race today, with Slovakia even having two pairs: Peter and Juraj Sagan, and Martin and Peter Velits. The other pair is Jacques and Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg of South Africa.

  79. 13:05:19 CEST

    The Netherlands charges to the head of the field now.

  80. 13:07:56 CEST

    We will be going on to the circuit course in about 10km, perhaps that is why the Netherlands has moved up to take control.

  81. 13:10:04 CEST

    All nine Dutch riders are up there pushing the pace. Actually it looks like more thannie.

    They have pushed the pace so far in fact that the field is breaking up.

  82. 13:11:03 CEST

    And now the Dutch have all pulled back and GB is in control again. Were the Dutch just looking to see who would respond, and who they could drop?

  83. 13:12:16 CEST

    The gap has come down slightly, and is now at 5:30.

  84. 13:13:57 CEST

    Duggan drops back to the team car and stocks up on bidons.

  85. 13:14:09 CEST

    Here we go. The breakaway starts the Cauberg climb for the first time.

  86. 13:15:09 CEST

    The riders will climb the Cauberg 11 times and cover 10 laps of the 16.5km circuit.

  87. 13:17:38 CEST

    The crowds are huge on the climb, with the breakaways getting a huge cheer.

  88. 153km remaining from 261km

    13:18:49 CEST

    The break goes through the finish area after 2:26 of racing, while the peloton dives down the descent to the foot of the Cauberg.

  89. 13:21:09 CEST

    Belgium, France and Great Britain lead the peloton over the top of the Cauberg, with Bradley Wiggins close to the front.

  90. 13:23:33 CEST

    Thomas Voeckler (France) is up front with Wiggins. He is the team leader for France today.

  91. 13:24:25 CEST

    The speed is high through the pits, with riders throwing off clothing and snatching bottles.  

  92. 13:26:16 CEST

    The 11 riders in the breakaway are also eating and drinking as they work smoothly together. 

  93. 13:27:18 CEST

    The official time gap between the break and the peloton at the finishline was 5:11. 

  94. 145km remaining from 261km

    13:30:55 CEST

    Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) stops for a wheel rear change. He's quickly off again and chasing but with no race radios his teammates may not know he's stopped.

  95. 13:31:54 CEST

    Great Britain is leading the chase, with outgoing world champion Mark Cavendish doing long terms on the front.


  96. 13:32:55 CEST

    Gilbert is tucked in behind his team car at the back of the peloton.

  97. 13:34:17 CEST

    Mark Cavendish narrowly avoided being hit by a sign held out by a roadside fan. It glanced his helmet but he wasn't happy.

  98. 13:36:57 CEST

    The peloton has slowed down as it goes through the second pits area on the back of the circuit but is now lined out as the side winds threaten to be a factor.

  99. 13:38:40 CEST

    Upfront, the break is back on the Cauberg.

  100. 13:42:29 CEST

    Now here come the peloton, with Cavendish on the front and most of his teammates just behind him. 

  101. 13:43:38 CEST

    Vladimir Isaichev of Russia stops for a front wheel change but is quickly away.

  102. 13:44:55 CEST

    Cavendish is digging deep on the front, generously working for the Great Britain cause even though he is outgoing world champion.

  103. 13:47:29 CEST

    The peloton goes through the finish at a slower pace, with more riders taking off gillet and getting ready to grab bottles at feed zone.

    The gap to the break is now 4:27.

  104. 13:53:43 CEST

    The roads are still dry in Limburg but the winds is getting stronger. 

  105. 13:54:28 CEST

    Lastras grabs his musette in the second feed zone. The crowds are huge, with no barriers to hold them back.

  106. 14:00:12 CEST

    The gap is slowly coming down and the break is under control but it will be fascinating to see how long they 11 riders can stay away.

  107. 14:02:07 CEST

    The break is back on the Cauberg, with eight laps to go. Things are steady now but will explode very soon.

  108. 14:04:26 CEST

    The peloton crossed the speed bumps on the descent to the Cauberg. Hopefully they won't cause any crashes later on.

  109. 14:07:26 CEST

    Over the top of the Cauberg, Juan Antonio Felcha surges away, with Steve Cummings (Great Britain) and half a dozen other riders going with him.

    Race on! 

  110. 14:10:23 CEST

    The attack looks good but perhaps a little large to stay clear. 

  111. 14:10:41 CEST

    Steve was on for the last hour or so, now Susan is back.

    We had a small three-man crash near the back of the field, but looks like everyone is ok.

  112. 14:12:25 CEST

    In there are Beppu (Japan), Nocentini (Italy), Bouet (France), Fuglsang (Denmark), Meersmann (Belgium), Schar (Switzerland) and Matthews (Australia). 

    Behind Belgium is leading the chase.

  113. 14:13:05 CEST

    9 or 10 riders have formed a group which is abaut 11 seconds ahead of the field. The lead group now has just over three and a half minutes on them all.

  114. 113km remaining from 261km

    14:15:30 CEST

    After 3:25 of racing, the average speed has been over 43km/h.

  115. 14:15:58 CEST

    The chase group, with some 11 seconds on the field is:    
    Cummings (GB), Flecha (Spain), Nocentini (Italy), Meersman (Belgium), Matthews (Australia), Bouet (France), Schär (SwitzerlandI), Beppu (Japan), and Fuglsang (Denmark).

  116. 14:19:13 CEST

    The chase group is moving well and is now 2:33 back. We don't have a new time for the peloton.

    Cavendish takes his leave from the peloton now. He has done an enormous amount of work for his GB teammates.

  117. 14:19:55 CEST

    It looks like race over for Mark Cavendish. He's dropped off the back of the peloton on the  Bemelerberg climb. He will no doubt climb off at the feed zone. His year as world champion is officially over.

  118. 120km remaining from 261km

    14:20:12 CEST

    The field is 58 seconds behind the chase group.

  119. 14:21:33 CEST

    The first three riders have abandoned the race, including Slovakia's Martin Velits.

  120. 14:23:45 CEST

    It is interesting that there are no Dutch riders in either of the two groups.

  121. 14:24:09 CEST

    Duggan leads the first group up the Cauberg once again.

  122. 14:25:06 CEST

    The 9 chasers are working hard to get across to the 11 breakaways. This race is about to get very interesting.

  123. 14:27:52 CEST

    Now the rest of them are on their way up the Cauberg.

  124. 14:28:21 CEST

    The lead group has now finished the third lap. Let's see what the time gaps will be.

  125. 14:30:03 CEST

    Here comes the chase group. They are only 1:49 back, and the peloton is not far either.

  126. 14:30:19 CEST

    Peloton at 2:17.

  127. 14:33:04 CEST

    Alejandro Valverde of Spain, who has returned from a doping ban in top form, could do well today.. Amongst his many wins this year he can claim stage wins at the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana, finishing seecond overall in the latter.  Again, ths is the kind of course that is good for him. But like Gilbert, he also has teammates who are equally good candidates for the win.

    It must also be noted that Valverde fainted after lunch on Friday, but says he is fine and “in perfect condition to race.”

  128. 14:36:08 CEST

    We have been seeing a lot of blue at the head of the peloton, and it is the blue of Belgium. They have two top riders here today, either one of whom could go for the win: Gilbert and Boonen.

  129. 14:37:37 CEST

    Reigning World Champion Mark Cavendish (GB) sees the race ending late this afternoon with the sprint of a small group – but without him.  This hilly course is not his thing at all, which he acknowledges. However, there was never any question as to his participating, as a matter of respect.

  130. 14:38:59 CEST

    Cavendish has finally made his way to the top of the Cauberg. We expect him to abandon now. And indeed he does, but first he poses for a photo with a Colombia soigneur.

  131. 97km remaining from 261km

    14:41:35 CEST

    2:22 now for the peloton, with the chase group 48 seconds ahead of them. Which we think puts them at 1:34 down.

  132. 14:43:15 CEST

    It is no longer so sunny, and the wind is picking up.

  133. 14:44:27 CEST

    We see Christopher Froome (GB) for the first time today, but at the far end of the field.

  134. 14:47:01 CEST

    Spain has sent a nine-man squad to the race start, and five of them are potential winners. Too mny leaders? They don't see it that way and are in fact ready to go for gold.

  135. 14:49:43 CEST

    Chrisopher Horner of the USA rode the Worlds here in 1998, and is doing the same again. He knows that there is "nowhere to ease back" on this course.

  136. 14:50:34 CEST

    The Cauberg is there again. Contador leads the field and pushes the tempo. The peloton is still quite large.

  137. 89km remaining from 261km

    14:51:10 CEST

    Four laps done for the leaders, six more to go.

  138. 14:52:28 CEST

    The chase group is 1:10 back.

  139. 14:53:25 CEST

    And the peloton -- now led by the Belgians again -- is at 1:42.

  140. 14:56:05 CEST

    A year ago hardly anyone had heard of Jonathan Tiernan-Locke. Now he is leading the British team.

  141. 14:57:37 CEST

    Meersman is hanging at the back of the field the whole team. Just keeping an eye on things for his team...

  142. 14:58:11 CEST

    Luca Paolini drops back to the Italian tam car for a quick chat with national coach Paolo Bettini.

  143. 15:00:46 CEST

    GB's Alex Dowsett, who had dropped back from the peloton, has now abandoned.

  144. 15:01:24 CEST

    Howes, in the break group, must be preparing for action: he strips off his arm warmers.

  145. 89km remaining from 261km

    15:03:44 CEST

    The chasers hit the top of the Bemelerberg a mere 49 seconds behind the lead group. Haven't yet got the time for the peloton.

  146. 15:04:55 CEST

    The field is at 1:27. Laurens Ten Dam of the Netherlands leads that field, with the Dutch and Belgians sharing the work.

  147. 15:06:35 CEST

    We now see raindrops at the race for the first time, not good news.

  148. 15:06:59 CEST

    The peloton now listed at only 56 seconds back.

  149. 15:08:24 CEST

    Dries Devenyns drops out of the field. His work is done for the day.

  150. 15:10:50 CEST

    Italy is known for its cycling traditions, and one is on show here today. Moreno Moser is on the team here -- his uncle Francesco Moser is a past World Champion.

  151. 15:11:32 CEST

    Once again, the Cauberg. It doesn't seem to be getting any easier through familiarity.

  152. 15:12:23 CEST

    Contador jumps from the field, taking a handful of Dutch riders with him.

    Meanwhile, Wiggins drops off the back.

  153. 15:13:19 CEST

    Wiggins is of course not the only one to lose contact.

  154. 15:15:18 CEST

    It lools like we have about 30 riders in the chase group now, with a bunch having come up with Contador. In fact, they have also caught the lead group. But the peloton is at 29 seconds.

  155. 15:16:04 CEST

    Matti Breschel of Denmark is the next to abandon.

  156. 80km remaining from 261km

    15:16:36 CEST

    Five laps left to go, and only a 30 second gap.

  157. 15:19:05 CEST

    Contador eats an energy bar and salutes the tv camera.

  158. 15:19:50 CEST

    58 seconds now for the group. Will they be able to stay away?

  159. 15:20:56 CEST

    We are working on getting those names, it just takes a while!

  160. 15:22:14 CEST

    An Australian leads the field now, with the Belgians and Dutch very close at hand.

  161. 15:23:00 CEST

    The gap is inded growing, now at 1:11 as they start up the Bemelerberg again.

  162. 15:23:57 CEST

    Spaniard Pablo Lastras leads the first group over the top.

  163. 196km remaining from 261km

    15:25:30 CEST

    We have a crash in the field on the climb. Doesn't look serious but some riders will be held up.

  164. 15:26:08 CEST

    Zdenek Stybar is one of the victims - well, not hime but either a pedal or shoe.

  165. 15:27:42 CEST

    The group of 29 is:

    Pablo Lastras (Spain), Dario Cataldo (Italy), Timothy Duggan (USA), Alex Howes (USA), Jerome  Coppel (France), Winner Anacona (Colombia), Luka Mezgec (Slovenia), Vladimir Isaichev (Russia), Vitaliy Buts (Ukraine), Fabricio Ferrari (Uruguay), Gatis Smukulis (Latvia),Stephen Cummings (GB), Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain), Rinaldo Nocentini (Italy), Gianni Meersman (Belgium), Michael Matthews (Australia), Maxime Bouet (France), Michael Schär (SwitzerlandI), Fumiyuki Beppu (Japan), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Marco Marcato (Italy), Diego Ulissi (Italy), Koen De Kort (Netherlands), Robert Gesink (Netherlands), Michael Albasini (Switzerland), Bjorn Lukemans (Belgium), Thomas Voeckler (France), Alberto Contador (Spain), Jon Tiernan-Locke (Great Britain).

  166. 15:29:58 CEST

    Contador is "jefe" of this lead group, making sure they work together and more importantly, stay away.

    The peloton doesn't like that idea and has already cut the gap by a few seconds.

  167. 15:32:22 CEST

    Roman Kreuziger is hit by a mechanical. Not good timing.

  168. 15:33:28 CEST

    Looks like we are at the Cauberg again! And the Spaniards are leading the way. From the helmet, we would say that must be Flecha.

  169. 15:34:10 CEST

    Rigobeto Uran leads a small grup which has broken from the field. Gilbert is right behind him.

  170. 15:35:10 CEST

    11 or 12 riders are in the Gilbert group, but with more joining them.

  171. 15:36:05 CEST

    Contador leads the group over the finsh line. Four laps to go!

  172. 15:37:09 CEST

    The Gilbert group has been caught by the peloton, which is now only 52 seconds back.

  173. 15:39:29 CEST

    The riders didn't have much time to grab bidons or snacks at the last feed zone, they are simply going too fast. So the neutral supply wagon is getting a lot of calls at the moment.

  174. 15:40:22 CEST

    For the first time today we see the Germans at the head of the field. For whom are they riding -- multiple Vuelta stage winner John Degenkolb or Classics specialist Fabian Wegmann?

  175. 15:43:03 CEST

    Five riders have now fallen back out of the lead group: Duggan (USA), Beppu (JPN), Buts (UKR), Ferrari (URU) und Mezgec (SLO)


  176. 15:45:27 CEST

    Austria is now down to one rider, as we understand that Brändle and Schorn have abandoned.

  177. 15:47:07 CEST

    Cataldo leads the group at the intermediate time check. We are not sure what the gap is. One source says it is about a minute, another says 42 seconds.

  178. 15:48:14 CEST

    Lots and lots of fans along this course.

  179. 15:49:20 CEST

    We have another source that says 43 seconds, so with two at about that time, we will take it.

  180. 15:49:56 CEST

    Wiggins, Froome, Phinney all have dropped out. Plus quite a number of others.

  181. 52.5km remaining from 261km

    15:52:35 CEST

    52.5km to go and 43 seconds. It is impossible to call at this point.

  182. 15:54:09 CEST

    Around this familiar corner and up the Cauberg once more! The Spaniards lead the way, Flecha again.

  183. 15:54:58 CEST

    Flecha is not sparing anything as he drives the grou up this climb. Voeckler is on second wheel, with Tiernan-Locke behind him.

  184. 15:56:01 CEST

    The Belgians are moving to head of things -- don't want to see their chances slip away.

  185. 15:56:35 CEST

    Contador at the rear of the group. We aren't too worried about him, though.

  186. 15:57:25 CEST

    A crash in the field! Many riders down and some injuries we are afraid. That will increase the gap.

  187. 15:58:33 CEST

    A number of riders need new bikes or tires. Someone is limping across the road. The gap is now 50 seconds, but of course the peloto is much smaller.

  188. 15:59:16 CEST

    The field has in fact shattred. Many Dutch riders were caught up and are now trying to catch up.

  189. 15:59:44 CEST

    That's it for Susan today. Steve will take you to the finish.

  190. 16:01:32 CEST

    We're into the final three laps of the race now, with the race still wide open. Will this break stay away or will the race reshuffle again?

  191. 16:02:42 CEST

    There are now only 17 riders in lead group. Isaiachec, Schär, Smukulis, Caraldo, lastras, Bouet and Matthews have all been dropped.

    Behind there are only 57 riders left in the front peloton after the crash.

  192. 16:04:30 CEST

    Flecha is still working hard to keep the move away. France and Italy are helping him but others ridersre lookingback down the road for the peloton.

  193. 16:05:17 CEST

    It's great to see Alex Howes of the USA still in the front group. He did a similar ride in this year's Amstel Gold Race.

  194. 16:06:46 CEST

    The gap is down to 36 seconds.

  195. 40km remaining from 261km

    16:08:26 CEST

    Germany and Belgium are leading the chase behind but the 16 riders up front still have 33 seconds advantage. 

  196. 16:09:18 CEST

    Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal (Canada) was delayed by the crash and is chasing at over a minute down.

  197. 16:11:37 CEST

    As the break passes the windmill, the peloton gets closer and closer.

  198. 16:14:47 CEST

    There are exactly 60 riders in the peloton, chasing the 17 riders up front.

    A whole new race is about to begin.

  199. 16:15:41 CEST

    The break is on the Cauberg again. Will Contador attack?

  200. 16:16:15 CEST

    The peloton is just behind them and can see them.

  201. 16:17:11 CEST

    Germany kick off the surge to close the gap but Contaor has lined-out the break.

  202. 16:18:03 CEST

    Ouch! the peloton is lined-out in pursuit of the break.

  203. 16:18:36 CEST

    The break is waiting for the peloton despite Voeckler calling for the riders to work together.

  204. 25km remaining from 261km

    16:19:55 CEST

    That's it. the front of the race is all together as the peloton catches the break.  

  205. 16:20:41 CEST

    70 riders crossed the line together with two laps to go.

  206. 16:21:30 CEST

    The next group of chasers are at 23 seconds.

  207. 16:22:36 CEST

    Spain's Samuel Sanchez attacks and is followed by Allan Davis and the rest of the peloton.

  208. 16:25:42 CEST

    Big names in the front include John Degonkolb (Germany), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway), Oscar Freire (Spain), Heinrich Haussler (Australia), Tom Boonen (Belgium), Peter Sagan (Slovakia), Ben Swift (Great Britain),Moreno Moser and Vincenzo Nibali (Italy), Simon Gerrans (Australia), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) and Rigoberto Uran (Colombia).

  209. 16:26:24 CEST

    Other riders are also getting back on from behind.

  210. 16:29:32 CEST

    The riders are on the Bemelberg now, with Great Brtiain leading. But now Andrew Talansky (USA) attacks, followed by Ian Stannard (Great Britain). 

  211. 16:30:35 CEST

    With a lap and a half to go, there are 91 riders left at the head of the race.

  212. 16:31:14 CEST

    This race will surely explode next time up the Cauberg.

  213. 16:32:23 CEST

    The duo up front have 13 seconds on the peloton.

  214. 16:33:35 CEST

    The two are digging into a stuff head/sind wind. This will hurt.

  215. 16:34:52 CEST

    The big nations are hesitating behind, as a German riders waves his teammates forward.

  216. 16:36:36 CEST

    Now the fighting begins for the front slots on the descent ready to swing onto the Cauberg.

  217. 16:37:34 CEST

    Here we go. The Cauberg!

  218. 16:38:06 CEST

    Germany leading the chase but Tiernan-Locke of Great Britain is there too.

  219. 16:38:52 CEST

    Stannard drops Talansky but the peloton is there too.

  220. 16:39:27 CEST

    All the big names come up as the race comes back together. Nibali is on the front now.

  221. 16:39:44 CEST

    Nibali attacks hard!

  222. 16:40:06 CEST

    But Gilbert refuses to come through.

  223. 16.5km remaining from 261km

    16:41:23 CEST

    One lap to go as Dani Moreno (Spain) sneaks way. Van Avermaet follows.

  224. 16:42:34 CEST

    Nibali goes again, trying to force a split but Stannard blocks. 

  225. 16:43:45 CEST

    All the big names are in the front group. This race could be decided in a split second.

  226. 16:44:37 CEST

    Boonen is sat at the back, stretching. He looks tired but he's still there. Can he hang on next time up the Cauberg?

  227. 16:45:11 CEST

    Peter Sagan is also there, while the Belgian team control the front with four riders.

  228. 16:45:41 CEST

    Just 48 riders are left in the front group. Degonkolb is there for Germany.

  229. 16:46:31 CEST

    Spain is also gathering at the front as the Bemelberg climb approaches.

  230. 16:47:43 CEST

    Here comes Italy too. They will be riding for Moreno Moser and Nibali.

  231. 10km remaining from 261km

    16:48:32 CEST

    This is the quiet before the storm, as Simon Clarke (Australia) continues to lead the peloton.

  232. 8km remaining from 261km

    16:51:16 CEST

    Swift (Great Britain) is dropped. This is hurting everyone.

  233. 16:51:46 CEST

    Up front Contador is setting a fast pace.

  234. 16:52:19 CEST

    The front group is getting smaller and smller.

  235. 5km remaining from 261km

    16:54:54 CEST

    The Italians are looking for each other. Very soon the riders start the descent to the foot of the Cauberg. 

  236. 16:55:48 CEST

    Stannard is positioning Tiernan-Locke for the descent to the Cauberg, as the Italians hit the front.

  237. 16:56:23 CEST

    The riders are packed tight across the narrow road. Everyone wants to be near the front.

  238. 16:56:47 CEST

    Sagan is there, Gerrans, Dan Martin and Nico Roche too.

  239. 16:57:20 CEST

    Paolini drags Moser to the front and Nibali joins him.

  240. 3km remaining from 261km

    16:58:06 CEST

    They're diving down at 60km/h. Voeckler is there too for France.

  241. 16:58:26 CEST

    Here we go. They hit the Cauberg!

  242. 16:59:13 CEST

    Nibali leads on the steep section but there are four Belgian be hind him. Gilbert attacks!

  243. 16:59:43 CEST

    He's suffering as Kolobnev and Boasson Hagen chase.

  244. 1.5km remaining from 261km

    17:00:07 CEST

    Gilbert is trying a solo move. They hesitate behind.

  245. 17:00:28 CEST

    Gilbert has 100 metres lead.

  246. 17:01:01 CEST

    Valverde tries to chase but the others sit on him.

  247. 1km remaining from 261km

    17:01:29 CEST

    Gilbert has is hands on the drops and is going to win.

  248. 17:01:56 CEST

    Gilbert eases up and celebrates. He is the 2012 world champion!

  249. 17:02:33 CEST

    Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) takes second, with Valverde third.

  250. 17:03:38 CEST

    Gilbert had to go on the Cauberg and he did it. He got such a gap that the others hesitated and refused to work together and chase.

  251. 17:04:41 CEST

    Gilbert finished four seconds ahead of Boasson Hagen, with Valverde at five seconds.

  252. 17:05:39 CEST

    John Degenkolb (Germany) was fourth, Lars Boom (Netherlands) was fifth.

  253. 17:06:03 CEST

    Gilbert powered up the Cauberg on the big ring.

  254. 17:08:46 CEST

    The Belgian fans are already celebrating. The country will be united tonight as it celebrates with a few beers.

  255. 17:12:21 CEST

    Gilbert is close to tears as he talks about becoming world champion.

  256. 17:17:02 CEST

    The crowd chants 'Philippe Gilbert, Philippe Gilbert' as he pulls on the rainbow jersey and his gold medal.

  257. 17:21:07 CEST

    Top ten result:

    1 Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) 6:10:41
    2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway) 0:00:04
    3 Alejandro Valverde (Spain) 0:00:05
    4 John Degenkolb (Germany)
    5 Lars Boom (Netherlands)
    6 Allan Davis (Australia)
    7 Thomas Voeckler (France
    8 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)
    9 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Colombia)
    10 Oscar Freire (Spain).


  258. 17:22:50 CEST

    Thanks for following the Cyclingnews live coverage from the world championships. Check back soon for a full race report, huge photo galleries and interviews.

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