Denmark's Matti Breschel edged himself one step closer to a win in the UCI Road World Championships elite men's road race this afternoon when he added a silver medal to the bronze he won in 2008.
Breschel took third in the 2008 Worlds decider in Varese, Italy, when Alessandro Ballan claimed the title and he then finished seventh in last year's world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
In today's race he opened the sprint finish, taking Allan Davis with him, as Thor Hushovd hugged the barriers. Ultimately the plan didn't work for a gold medal and the Dane expressed his disappointment.
"I just went with everything and Thor passed me with 50 or 30 metres to go. At the moment of course I'm disappointed because today I was going for the victory. But second place is a good result," he said.
"In the sprint, I think I had the wheel of Greg Van Avermaet and he opened with 200m to go - it's a pretty long sprint considering we had done 260km and it was uphill. But I tried with everything and unfortunately Thor was too strong."
Breschel was one of six Danish riders who almost played their cards to perfection against the big teams such as Australia and Belgium; while riders from Denmark and Norway filled the first two places on the podium, the fancied power nations mustered a third place - Australia's Allan Davis took the bronze.
Breschel said that the lack of race radios may have been one of the smaller teams' advantages. "I don't know about the bigger teams - maybe they would need a radio. It's easier for Denmark and Norway - smaller teams... I don't know," he said.
He admitted that the course "was really hard" and that "the steep climb was hard", but with his name rarely entering the equation in the discussion about potential world champions, Breschel said his underdog status was another advantage.
"Being the underdog suited me pretty well - I've had two races since August so I've just been training, training, training behind a scooter and stuff like that... so I felt pretty good," he explained.
And with the corresponding fixture taking place in Breschel's home nation next year, he says he's already looking forward to the challenge, albeit on a flatter parcours. "The course next year is not as hard as here, that's for sure but it can be pretty bad weather and twisty, winding roads so for sure in the end it's going to be a hard race of 280km," he said.
"I've come close a couple of times and in Copenhagen next year I know the roads and all the people are there, so of course it will give you the morale to win in your own country. For sure it will be my goal for next season and there are also the Classics."
Speaking of the Classics, Breschel's move to Rabobank should see him become one of the team's leading one-day riders. He agreed that they would be his goal and is enthused about being part of a youthful squad for these type of races.
"Next year it's a pretty young team for the Classics - there's still [Sebastian] Langeveld and Lars Boom, so we'll see," he said.
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