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UCI Road World Championships 2009: Men's Elite Individual Time Trial

Grüezi Cyclingnews readers and welcome back to Mendrisio! Today will see the first Elite Men event take off on the hilly grounds of the Swiss Alps - the time trial is finally upon us and we're looking forward to it!

Start and finish of the 16.6 kilometres course (to be raced three times) is located downtown Mendrisio. The riders then head out towards Capolago and Riva San Vitale on the shores of Lake Lugano before coming back to finish their loop.

James Weeks (St Kitts and Nevis) is the first rider to start.
 

There is a nasty left hand curve just after the start ramp before the riders can start getting into aero position and put some power on the pedals.

Cameron Wurf (Australia) has also taken the start now, followed by Gabriel Sorin Pop (Romania).

Jarmo Rissanen (Finland) is going good. He's just passed the first rider out, Weeks.

A few words on the course:

After a first, flat three kilometres on the Via Vignalunga, the road turns on a gentle descent of a little more than two kilometres into the village of Capolago.

The riders will then keep their momentum on a flat road between Capolago and Riva San Vitale on the shores of Lake Lugano for almost two kilometres before the first uphill stretch starts, lasting 700 metres. This marks the return of the course towards Mendrisio.

After a further level section and a gentle one kilometre false flat, a tough 650 m ascent follows in the village of Rancate, including gradients of up to 10 percent. The last six kilometres back to the finish will take place on long straight roads with only a few uphill sections.

Another important information: The final part of the TT is identical to the last kilometre of the road race on Sunday.

José Ivan Gutierrez (Spain) is the last rider to take on the course in this first group. He might be the one setting a first real time of reference. And he's off!

Whew - he almost went straight into the barriers on the right side of the road in this first turn right after the start area. Too fast, too soon!

We now have 45 minutes before the next group starts on the course, enough time to take a close look on what's happening on the road.

Serpa is going really well. We are trying to put together the first intermediate times as we get the information.

Paulinho is on the climb in Rancate now. The first time check is on top of this climb.

Gutierrez has lost 32 seconds on the fastest rider, Peraud, on top of the hill, but this TT is still long. For the sake of clarity, we will bring to you the two time splits of the finish line and of course the finishing time of the best riders.

20.17 minutes for Frenchman Péraud, who just crossed the finish line for the first time. Remember, this is a circuit to be raced three times for a total of 49.8 kilometres.

20.17 at the first check is the best time at the moment for the Frenchman. Gutierrez now comes through after 21.08 minutes. 'Guti' might not have a good day!

The French national champion is going full gas. Let's see if he can hold the tempo up.

Peraud looks very efficient, and still very fresh on top of the climb in Rancate, which he has just passed for the second time.

Colombia's José Serpa is second-placed to the Frenchman at the moment.

41.28 is Serpa's time at the second split after 33 kilometres. Let's wait and see what Peraud does once he comes through the finish for the second time.

40.53 for Peraud! He's still leading.

The morning haze is gradually lifting, and the air is heating up.

The next group of riders is sweating on the rollers, getting ready to start at 12.30.

Frenchman Peraud is still pushing a big gear, moving his head and shoulders only slightly. He should be the best rider in this first group.

Bikes are being checked for UCI standards at the start. Three riders stand out in this second group: David Mc Cann (Ireland) and Tom Zirbel (United States Of America) as well as Rubens Bertogliati (Switzerland).

Eugen Wacker (Kyrgyzstan) is the second rider to start in this group. He's off, and we now expect the first group's riders in the finish.

Here are the first best times for reference:

Time check 1 - 16.6km

1 Jean Christophe Peraud (France) 20:17
2 Jose Serpa (Colombia) 20:41
3 Cameron Wurf (Australia) 21:01


Time Check 2 - 33.2km

1 Jean Christophe Peraud (France) 40:53
2 Jose Serpa (Colombia) 41:28
3 Branislau Samoilau (Belorussia) 42:19

Eduard Novak (Romania) has taken the start now. He's followed by Magno Prado Nazaret (Brazil). All are extremely concentrated.

Serpa finishes: 1:02.52. A very respectable performance for the Colombian.

Spain's Gutierrez, however, lost out completely today. His performance cannot compare to his previous feats at all.

Here comes Peraud, sprinting to the finish: 1:01.39. Excellent time.

Tom Zirbel (USA) just started.

Bertogliati is "in the zone" as they say. He is a very good rouleur, too, and could do well today. Off he goes!

That's it for the second group, the next will start at 1.30pm.

Reginald Douglas (St Kitts and Nevis) is almost zigzaging up the climb... and it's only the first time he's got to do it!

Gutierrez finishes as fifth rider at the moment. He cannot be pleased.

Cameron Wurf finished 3.42 minutes down on Peraud, for all our Australian followers.

The first group is through, so let's look at the next 13 riders.

David McCann is fifth fastest on the top of the Rancate climb.

Oh, we were wrong by saying the first group was through: James Weeks just finished, 18.54 minutes down. Oh well... we hope he still enjoys his time in Switzerland!

Jay Robert Thomson (South Africa) comes into the finish for the first time check, clocking 20.40 minutes. He's currently second behind Peraud there.

The South African is going good. Juan Carlos Lopez Marin (Colombia) also seems to be fast.

20.34 is the time for McCann at the first time check in the finish. Second best!

Third best, sorry. Zirbel (USA) just clocked the new best at the first split, 20.04!

20.48 is the time for Bertogliati as he crosses the line for the first time. That only gets him 7th place right now...

Thompson powers through the finish for the second time: 41.55, that's third-best time right now.

Zirbel is still leading Peraud by 30 seconds according to GPS times.

Zirbel is driving past McCann now. What a difference in speed! He approaches the start/finish area: 38 seconds faster than Peraud, who is watching the scene from the hot seat.

McCann should be within the top three at the second time check, but we are still looking to have his time confirmed.

Reginald Douglas (St Kitts and Nevis) sports a true Rasta outfit with a big golden lion hanging around his neck. He also has "Reggie" written on the front of his helmet. Ride on!

McCann is trying hard not to lose Zirbel's wheel some 20 metres in front of him. They just passed Pavol Polievka (Slovakia), who is also trying to hang on...

McCann is still close to Zirbel, moving from left to right behind the American. The riders of the third group are meanwhile getting ready to start.

Some names form this next group: Adam Hansen (Australia), Jerome Coppel (France), Christopher Froome (Great Britain), Lars Ytting Bak (Denmark), Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spain) and, last but not least, Andrey Kashechkin (Kazakhstan).

Hansen is now be counted down.

Zirbel finishes: 1:00.42. Excellent time, the new best! He looks devastated... McCann is second!

At the start, Andrey Kashechkin (Kazakhstan) is getting ready. We wouldn't be surprised if the Kazakh would pull of a coup today.

Bertogliati lost 3.25 minutes to Zirbel. He still gets massive applause from his countrymen, of course.

Dutchman Koos Moerenhout is going well in the third group. He looks fast but this is only the first lap.

Hansen is getting his head down on a straight stretch. The 2008 Australian TT champ could do well today, too.

Moerenhout is 44 seconds faster than Zirbel as he reaches the top of the first climb. Let's wait what he does passing through the finish.

Zirbel changed his jersey before sitting down on the hot seat. He had a little bit of blood on it after his ride - we wonder what could have happened.

Oops: Coppel has lost a lot of time on the top of that climb and is sweating heavily. Not his day, it seems.

Jeremy Vennell (New Zealand) comes through the finish for the first time: 21.01 is his time there.

Here comes the tall Moerenhout, still turning his legs fast. His first intermediate is 20.15 minutes, second-best behind Zirbel at the moment. But can he sustain this speed for the whole time?

Moerenhout is sneaking up on Codo Acebo (Spain) now - passing him with ease. Cobo stays right in his slipstream! A commissaire's car comes up...

Coppel's performance is hopeless today. Maybe it's the long season that's worn him out, or just a bad day.

Chris Froome is also having a good ride, but Zirbel in the hot seat doesn't have to worry too much about him. If someone can beat the American from this group, it's Moerenhout - but he's also 12 seconds back at the moment.

Kashechkin doesn't seem to be up to the test today yet. He's 11th fastest half-way through the race, coming back from his two-year suspension for blood doping.

Moerenhout clocked second-best at the second intermediate time check, 19 seconds off the pace of Zirbel.

We have a change here at Live Report Central.  Susan Westemeyer is now here to take you through the rest of the afternoon.  Right now the last riders of group three are finishing up, and at 2:30, the first riders of group four will start.

Raivis Belohvosciks of Larvia, 33, opens the fourth group.

A number of riders are passing through the final intermediate time check, but so far no one is endangering Zirbel's time.

Dmytro Grabovskyy of the Ukraine and Sebastian Lang of Germany are now both underway.

Grabovsky is 23, and rides for ISD.  Lang, 30, is with Silence Lotto.

Martin Velits takes off for Slovakia.  He and his twin brother Peter ride for Milram, and will be moving to Columbia-HTC next year.

The Urkaine has two riders in this group, with Andriy Grivko ready to go.  He follows Dominique Cornu of Belgium.

Artem Ovechkin of Russia goes.  After him we have a rider with a good chance to medal here today, Ignatas Konovalovas of Lithuania.

Australia's Adam Hansen crosses the finish line as eighth.  Helminen of Finland is much further back, at 22nd.

GB's Froome comes in as fourth at the moment, with a time of 1:02:30.

The next two riders to go are Tiago Machado of Portugal and Alex Rasmussen of Denmark.

Bak is now in at the finish, moving into fourth place.

Moerenhout nears the finish line.  Will he set a new best time?

No, but he moves into second place with a time of 1:01:07.

Vasiliy Kiryienka of Belrussia has taken off, and so has Marco PInotti of Columbia.  The last in this group will be Aleksejs Saramotins of Latvia.

Lang is fourth at the first time check.  Grabovskyy was very far back.

Rasmussen rides alongside a train -- and is faster!

Kashechkin has now finished.  At 1:03:12 he is some three minutes behind the leader.

Cornu has set a new best time at his first intermediate time check.  Will he be able to maintain that lead?

Lang is riding very smoothly, keeping his own rhythm.  He is already approaching Grabovskyy, who started a minute ahead of him.

Lang moves smoothly right by the Ukranian, who tries hard to keep up with the German.

This is PInotti's seventh try at the Worlds time trial.  HIs best result was 10th in 2000, his first year, and he is determined to better that this year:  www.cyclingnews.com/news/pinotti-out-for-worlds-top-nine

In fact, he just put in a new best time at the 9km check point.

Lang is quite still on the bike, only his legs are moving.

Ovechkin finishes his first lap of the circuit in 11th place.

Pinotti is up out of the saddle as he nears the finish line for the first time.

Pinotti sets a new best time at the 16km marker, and is the first rider to go under 20 minutes.

Pinotti is four-time Italian national time trial champion, including this year.

Pinotti has just flown right past Kiryienka.

Cornu started out very fast, but has now slowed down.  Still he is about to catch Velits, who started in front of him.

Cornu is only fifth at the 25 km time check.  He had set best times at the earliest time checks.

Who do you think will win today?  Or, to put it another way, does anyone at all have a chance against Fabian Cancellara?  You can talk about it in our forum:  forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php

Konovalovas' kit is pretty much half and half yellow and red-orange, right down the middle.  If you see him from the different sides, you aren't sure who it is.

Pinotti has an 11 second lead in first place at the 25 km time check.

Lang is a bit slower than expected, only eighth at the end of the second lap.

Konovalovas is fourth at the end of the second lap.

PInotti has now passed Rasmussen, who started two minutes ahead of him.

Pinotti couldn't hold his good time and was one second back at the end of the second lap.

Lang works his way up the final climb.

In five minutes we will see the start of the final group -- the group of favourites.

It looks like race radios are on the way out! That is only one of the decisions the UCI has made the last few days:  www.cyclingnews.com/news/radio-recommendations-sure-to-raise-the-ire-of-teams
 

After a 48 minute break, our final group of 14 riders is ready to start. They will go off at one-minute intervals, so it will be very interesting to see who passes who along the way. It will be easy to see who is on form and who is not.

Kanovalovas approaches two riders riding front of him.

The final group of 14 top riders includes all the top favourites. Of this final group, four ride for Team Columbia-HTC, three for Garmin-Slipstream, and two each for Saxo Bank and Astana. Katusha, Rabobank and Quick Step are represented by one rider each.

Tom Danielson of the US is the first to go.

Mikhail Ignatiev of Russia is now on the road.

Lars Boom, Tour de France stage winner, is now underway in the distinctive orange kit of the Netherlands.

Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan is now on the road.

Janez Brajkovic takes to the course for Slovenia.

Pinotti has lost three seconds at the penultimate time check.

Lang has finiished in eighth place, with a time of 1:03:12.

Frantisek Rabon of the Czech Republic takes to the course.

Cornu is the next to finish, sixth, at 1:02:05.

Svein Tuft of Canada is the next to go!

Sebastien Rosseler of Belgium is the next rider on the course.

Tony Martin of Germany is now on his way.

Konovalovas finishes with the third best time.

Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain sets off on his search for a medal.

Only three more riders left.

Gustav Larsson of Sweden is the third-to-last rider to go.

Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland is on the road now, the top favourite to win the title here.

Defending champion Bert Grabsch is the final rider to take to the course.

Pinotti finishes 15 seconds down on Zirbel.

That's it -- they are all underway now!

As expected, Cancellara is quite speedy and smooth underway-- even if he did just come a bit too close for comfort to the curb on that corner....

Danielson, 31, rides for Garmin-Slipstream. He dropped out of the Vuelta on the 18th stage, while lying in ninth place overall. He was sick and injured both: he had a lung infection and crashed on the previous stage, and thought he might have broken a rib. He is also scheduled to ride the road race on Sunday.

Martin sets a new best time at the 9 km checkpoint.

Martin, 24, started out as a time trial expert, but is quickly developing into an allrounder at Team Columbia-HTC. This season he won the moutain ranking at Paris-Nice, and stages at the Criterium International and the Bayern Rundfahrt. He really bloomed in June and July. At the Tour de Suisse, he won the eighth stage and the mountain ranking, and finished second overall. He went on to further glory at the Tour de France, finishing second on the Mont Ventoux stage and wearng the white trikot of the best young rider for 11 days.

Wiggins is fourth at the 9 km check.

And Cancellara smashes the best time at the 9 km time check, 18 seconds faster than Martin.

The 28 year-old Cancellara, who rides for Team Saxo Bank, won the Worlds title in 2006 and 2007, and the Olympic title last year. Plus he won the bronze medal in the road race at the Olympics.

Brajkovic brings in the third best time as he crosses the finish line for the first time.

Grabsch is sixth at the 9 km time check.

Cancellara is going like Swiss clockwork here.

Larsson is also fast underway.  Larsson, 29, won the silver medal in the time trial at last year's Olympic games. He was Swedish national champ in 2007 and 2008.

Martin puts in a new best time at the end of the first lap.

Wiggins crosses the finish line for the first time, as the fourth fastest.

Wiggins, 29, recently finished fourth in the Tour de France for Garmin Slipstream. He has now turned his attention to the road after a highly successful track career. On the track, he has gathered three Olympic gold medals,and six World titles.

Cancellara smashes the best time at the end of the first lap.  It seems highly unlikely that anyone else could win here today.

Grabsch is over a minute down, in seventh place at the end of the first lap.

Cancellara has made up the minute gap to Larsson and passes him with ease.

Larsson tries to hang on to Cancellara, but the Swiss rider slowly pulls away.

And of course, as we write that, Larsson catches him.

Let us not forget the other riders out there on the course.  Danielson has only one win this season, the time trial in the Vuelta a Burgos the beginning of August.

The race jury reminds Larsson not to draft on Cancellara, and sends him over to the other side of the road.

Igantiev, 24, has a lot of good experience at the Worlds time trials. He won the Under-23 title in 2005, and finished second in 2007 and 2008.

Cancellara is over a minute faster at the next time check. He is on the verge of catching Wiggins, who started two minutes ahead of him.

Cancellara has also been Swiss national champion in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. This year the won the Swiss road title, for a change.

Grabsch is eighth at the 25km time check.

Cancellara catches and passes Wiggins.

He flies right by the British rider.

Vinokourov, who is also underway right now, has only recently returned after sitting out two years. He was caught for blood doping during the 2007 Tour de France. His return to racing has helped to blow apart Team Astana.

Martin crosses the finish line for the second time with the third best time.

Cancellara will be the next over the finish line, with of course a fabulous new best time.

HIs time of 38:20 is 1:53 minutes better than the previous best time.

Cancellara now approaches Rosseler, who started six minutes ahead of him.  Martin has obviously already passed the Belgian, too.

Looks like there will be no medal again this year for Grabsch, as he crosses the finish line for the second time in ninth place.

Rosseler, 28, has ridden for Team Quick-Step since 2005, but will ride for the new Team RadioShack next year.

Also Larsson has passed Rosseler.

Larsson also passes Wiggins now.

It is hotly rumoured that Wiggins will be leaving Garmin next season to join the new Team Sky. There is no official word, though, and he does have a contract with Garmin for the coming year.

It looks like gold and sliver are locked up, by Cancellara and Larsson, but how about bronze?  Right now it is up for grabs between Wiggins and Martin.

Cancellara continues to pull away.  Martin puts in a good time at the 42km check point, the best yet, but Cancellara will blast through it momentarily.

Cancellara is 2:24 faster at this time check than Martin, and Larsoon is faster than the German too.

Mechanical problems for Wiggins on the climb -- the chain -- and he finally throws the bike to the road in disgust.

He walks across the road and is patted on the  shoulder by a sympathetic bystander.  His medal dream is over.

Vinokourov finishes the race in fourth place.  So far.

Brajkovic is at the finish with the third best time so far.

Wiggins has gotten a new bike, but the race is over for him.  He continues on his way at a leisurely pace now, trying to accept what has happened.

Cancellara is just as fast es ever.

Boasson Hagen comes in as 20th.  HIs Columbia teammate Rabon is 15th.

Cancellara will break the one hour mark when he wins.

Martin moves into first place at the finish, 16 seconds ahead of Zirbel.

Cancellara stops racing several hundred metres before the finish line and enjoys his triumph, in a time of 57:55.

Larson also breaks the 60 mintue mark, coming in second.

Martin lays flat on the ground, being tended by his soigneur.  The youngster is all in.

A stunning performance by Cancellara today, who totally destroyed all of his competition.

Wiggins finally makes it to the finish in a time of 1:02:45, for 20th place.  Up until his mishap, he was looking good for the bronze medal.

Grabsch passes under the final km marker.

Last year's champion crosses the finish line in 1:01:33, for tenth place.

Congratulations to our podium of Fabian Cancellara, Gustav Larsson and Tony Martin!

Here is the provisional top ten:

1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 0:57:54
2 Gustav Larsson (Sweden) 0:01:27
3 Tony Martin (Germany) 0:02:29
4 Tom Zirbel (United States) 0:02:48
5 Marco Pinotti (Italy) 0:03:01
6 Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia) 0:03:22
7 Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands) 0:03:46
8 Alexander Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) 0:04:19
9 Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania) 0:05:05
10 Bert Grabsch (Germany)

And so the time trials are over for another year!  We all have a day off tomorrow, then join us on Saturday for the women's and under-23 road races.

Thanks for reading along today!

Before we close out, here is the top seven, with corrected times:

1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 0:57:54
2 Gustav Larsson (Sweden) 0:01:27
3 Tony Martin (Germany) 0:02:30
4 Tom Zirbel (United States) 0:02:47
5 Marco Pinotti (Italy) 0:03:02
6 Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia) 0:03:08
7 Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands) 0:03:11

Time check 1 - 16.6km

1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 0:19:05
2 Tony Martin (Germany) 0:00:38
3 Gustav Larsson (Sweden) 0:00:46
4 Marco Pinotti (Italy) 0:00:48
5 Tom Zirbel (United States) 0:00:59


Time Check 2 - 33.2km

1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 0:38:20
2 Gustav Larsson (Sweden) 0:01:43
3 Tom Zirbel (United States) 0:01:34
4 Tony Martin (Germany) 0:01:53
5 Marco Pinotti (Italy) 0:01:53


Finish - 49.8km

1 Tom Zirbel (United States) 1:00:42
2 Marco Pinotti (Italy) 0:00:15
3 Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands) 0:00:24
4 Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania) 0:00:46
5 David McCann (Ireland) 0:00:54
6 Jean Christophe Peraud (France) 0:00:56
7 Lars Ytting Bak (Denmark) 0:00:20

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