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Evans becomes road World Champion in Mendrisio

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Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto)

Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Spain) rides to the start of the World Championship road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland on Sunday.

Alejandro Valverde (Spain) rides to the start of the World Championship road race in Mendrisio, Switzerland on Sunday. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fans were out in force today, supporting their national heros.

Fans were out in force today, supporting their national heros. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The shadow of a bridge cuts through the peloton early in the race.

The shadow of a bridge cuts through the peloton early in the race. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The World Championship peloton races through Mendrisio, Switzerland on Sunday.

The World Championship peloton races through Mendrisio, Switzerland on Sunday. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Olegs Melehs (centre, Latvia) leads the early breakaway.

Olegs Melehs (centre, Latvia) leads the early breakaway. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans wins the World Championship for Australia

Cadel Evans wins the World Championship for Australia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Elite men's road race World Championship podium: Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation), Cadel Evans (Australia), Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain)

Elite men's road race World Championship podium: Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation), Cadel Evans (Australia), Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) was emotional on the podium

Cadel Evans (Australia) was emotional on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) during the race

Cadel Evans (Australia) during the race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) in his new rainbow stripes

Cadel Evans (Australia) in his new rainbow stripes (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans gets congratulations from his wife after winning

Cadel Evans gets congratulations from his wife after winning (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans smiles as he presents his medal and jersey in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

Cadel Evans smiles as he presents his medal and jersey in Mendrisio, Switzerland. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) rode away from the rest in the closing stages of the World Championship race.

Cadel Evans (Australia) rode away from the rest in the closing stages of the World Championship race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Yes, that's right, you're about to become World Champion.

Yes, that's right, you're about to become World Champion. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Evans (Australia) starts to realise what is happening.

Evans (Australia) starts to realise what is happening. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Kolobnev (Russia) leads Rodríguez (Spain) over the line.

Kolobnev (Russia) leads Rodríguez (Spain) over the line. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Kolobnev (Russia) outsprints Rodríguez (Spain) at the finish.

Kolobnev (Russia) outsprints Rodríguez (Spain) at the finish. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) crosses the line.

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) crosses the line. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Matti Breschel (Denmark), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), Alejandro Valverde (Spain) and Damiano Cunego (Italy) approach the finish.

Matti Breschel (Denmark), Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), Alejandro Valverde (Spain) and Damiano Cunego (Italy) approach the finish. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Victory today rounds off what has been one of the most tumultuous seasons in Cadel Evans' career.

Victory today rounds off what has been one of the most tumultuous seasons in Cadel Evans' career. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Tears of joy: Cadel Evans (Australia) on the podium in Switzerland.

Tears of joy: Cadel Evans (Australia) on the podium in Switzerland. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Evans' displays his medal to the assembled masses.

Evans' displays his medal to the assembled masses. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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It was an emotional day for the family. Evans' wife Ciara watches her husband collect the rainbow jersey on Sunday evening.

It was an emotional day for the family. Evans' wife Ciara watches her husband collect the rainbow jersey on Sunday evening. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The World Championship podium: Alexandr Kolobnev (2nd, Russia), Cadel Evans (1st, Australia) and Joaquím Rodríguez (3rd, Spain)

The World Championship podium: Alexandr Kolobnev (2nd, Russia), Cadel Evans (1st, Australia) and Joaquím Rodríguez (3rd, Spain) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) crosses the line, the new World Champion.

Cadel Evans (Australia) crosses the line, the new World Champion. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Evans' celebrations were reserved as he crossed the line, but emotions bubbled through to the surface on the podium.

Evans' celebrations were reserved as he crossed the line, but emotions bubbled through to the surface on the podium. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Evans shows his appreciation to the crowd. The Australian lives in Switzerland, nearby Mendrisio, during the season.

Evans shows his appreciation to the crowd. The Australian lives in Switzerland, nearby Mendrisio, during the season. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) after crossing the finish line.

Cadel Evans (Australia) after crossing the finish line. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) rode his heart out and was visibly disappointed at finishing fifth.

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) rode his heart out and was visibly disappointed at finishing fifth. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) assumes the top step of the podium.

Cadel Evans (Australia) assumes the top step of the podium. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The podium ceremony was clearly affecting for Cadel Evans (Australia)

The podium ceremony was clearly affecting for Cadel Evans (Australia) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquím Rodríguez (Spain) took the bronze medal.

Joaquím Rodríguez (Spain) took the bronze medal. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) finished in second place.

Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) finished in second place. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Evans became particularly emotional as the Australian national anthem was played.

Evans became particularly emotional as the Australian national anthem was played. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) grins on the podium.

Cadel Evans (Australia) grins on the podium. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans' gold medal and rainbow jersey.

Cadel Evans' gold medal and rainbow jersey. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde discusses strategy with a Spanish teammate.

Alejandro Valverde discusses strategy with a Spanish teammate. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Samuel Sanchez (Spain) was a favorite going into the race.

Samuel Sanchez (Spain) was a favorite going into the race. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alessandro Ballan (Italy)

Alessandro Ballan (Italy) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The peloton

The peloton (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Damiano Cunego (Italy)

Damiano Cunego (Italy) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The peloton in the center of Mendrisio, Switzerland.

The peloton in the center of Mendrisio, Switzerland. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Oscar Freire (Spain)

Oscar Freire (Spain) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Racers lined up at the start.

Racers lined up at the start. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Hungarian team rolls to the start.

The Hungarian team rolls to the start. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The fans really got into the race.

The fans really got into the race. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The peloton

The peloton (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Former World Champion Tom Boonen (Belgium) with a thousand-yard stare.

Former World Champion Tom Boonen (Belgium) with a thousand-yard stare. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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2008 World Champion Alessandro Ballan (Italy)

2008 World Champion Alessandro Ballan (Italy) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Italians Damiano Cunego and Filippo Pozzato talk about the race.

Italians Damiano Cunego and Filippo Pozzato talk about the race. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Oscar Freire (Spain)

Oscar Freire (Spain) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) after the finish

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) after the finish (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Italians Filippo Pozzato and Damiano Cunego chat

Italians Filippo Pozzato and Damiano Cunego chat (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Oscar Freire (Spain) talks to Alexander Vinokourov (Kazakh)

Oscar Freire (Spain) talks to Alexander Vinokourov (Kazakh) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexander Vinokourov (Kazakh)

Alexander Vinokourov (Kazakh) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ivan Basso (Italy) at the front of the peloton.

Ivan Basso (Italy) at the front of the peloton. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Spain's Samuel Sanchez arrives at the finish with world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)

Spain's Samuel Sanchez arrives at the finish with world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) made a bold, final attack.

Cadel Evans (Australia) made a bold, final attack. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) rides toward the finish alone.

Cadel Evans (Australia) rides toward the finish alone. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) rounds a bend.

Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) rounds a bend. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Cadel Evans (Australia)

Cadel Evans (Australia) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) with his World Championship silver medal.

Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) with his World Championship silver medal. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (1st, Australia) got the better of Alexandr Kolobnev (2nd, Russia) and Joaquím Rodríguez (3rd, Spain)

Cadel Evans (1st, Australia) got the better of Alexandr Kolobnev (2nd, Russia) and Joaquím Rodríguez (3rd, Spain) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The 2009 World Championship podium.

The 2009 World Championship podium. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Australia)

Cadel Evans (Australia) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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There was plenty of climbing to be done today; more that 4.5 kilometres of vertical ascent.

There was plenty of climbing to be done today; more that 4.5 kilometres of vertical ascent. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The brightly coloured mass of the World Championship podium.

The brightly coloured mass of the World Championship podium. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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202 riders took to the roads of Mendrisio to represent their nations.

202 riders took to the roads of Mendrisio to represent their nations. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The World Championship peloton.

The World Championship peloton. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The peloton lines out on the descent from the Acqua Fresca.

The peloton lines out on the descent from the Acqua Fresca. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Michele Scarponi (Italy) during the World Championship road race.

Michele Scarponi (Italy) during the World Championship road race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alexandr Kolobnev (2nd, Russia), Cadel Evans (1st, Australia) and Joaquím Rodríguez (3rd, Spain)

Alexandr Kolobnev (2nd, Russia), Cadel Evans (1st, Australia) and Joaquím Rodríguez (3rd, Spain) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) waves to his wife as he exits the podium ceremony.

Cadel Evans (Australia) waves to his wife as he exits the podium ceremony. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Damiano Cunego (Italy)

Damiano Cunego (Italy) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alessandro Ballan (Italy)

Alessandro Ballan (Italy) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Italians Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego

Italians Michele Scarponi and Damiano Cunego (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Pre-race favourite Damiano Cunego (Italy), pre-race.

Pre-race favourite Damiano Cunego (Italy), pre-race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Damiano Cunego and Ivan Basso

Damiano Cunego and Ivan Basso (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Sefano Garzelli (Italy) awaits the start.

Sefano Garzelli (Italy) awaits the start. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Now-former World Champion Alessandro Ballan (Italy) before the race.

Now-former World Champion Alessandro Ballan (Italy) before the race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Luca Paolini was a member of the Italian train.

Luca Paolini was a member of the Italian train. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The course wore away at the peloton today and only the strongest remained to finish at the business end of the race.

The course wore away at the peloton today and only the strongest remained to finish at the business end of the race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Samuel Sanchez (Spain) corners during the race.

Samuel Sanchez (Spain) corners during the race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Tom Boonen (Belgium) was in the front end of a big mid-race split.

Tom Boonen (Belgium) was in the front end of a big mid-race split. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) played his hand today, but came up short. He finished 26th.

Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) played his hand today, but came up short. He finished 26th. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Italy were at the head of affairs all day.

Italy were at the head of affairs all day. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) bides his time in the peloton.

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) bides his time in the peloton. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Filippo Pozzato (Italy) played domestique today.

Filippo Pozzato (Italy) played domestique today. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Stuart O'Grady (Australia) follows the pace set by Marzio Bruseghin (Italy). Both riders did an enourmous job of work for their respective teams.

Stuart O'Grady (Australia) follows the pace set by Marzio Bruseghin (Italy). Both riders did an enourmous job of work for their respective teams. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Stefano Garzelli (Italy) follows wheels.

Stefano Garzelli (Italy) follows wheels. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) were attentive throughout the day.

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) were attentive throughout the day. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alejandro Valverde (Spain)

Alejandro Valverde (Spain) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans during the 2009 World Championship road race.

Cadel Evans during the 2009 World Championship road race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Australia)

Cadel Evans (Australia) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cunego (Italy) looks cool in the middle part of the race.

Cunego (Italy) looks cool in the middle part of the race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Samuel Sanchez (Spain) finished the day in fourth.

Samuel Sanchez (Spain) finished the day in fourth. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquím Rodríguez (Spain) gets out of the saddle.

Joaquím Rodríguez (Spain) gets out of the saddle. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Tom Boonen (Belgium) rode hard all day.

Tom Boonen (Belgium) rode hard all day. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Little guy, big attack: Jose Rujano (Venezuela).

Little guy, big attack: Jose Rujano (Venezuela). (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Jose Rujano (Venezuela) on the attack.

Jose Rujano (Venezuela) on the attack. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Plenty of colour as the peloton climb in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

Plenty of colour as the peloton climb in Mendrisio, Switzerland. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Giovanni Visconti (Italy) was part of a big mid-race move.

Giovanni Visconti (Italy) was part of a big mid-race move. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Cadel Evans (Australia) during the race.

Cadel Evans (Australia) during the race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The Belgian team ride during the World Championship race.

The Belgian team ride during the World Championship race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Steve Cummings (Great Britain) rides alongside Alejandro Valverde (Spain)

Steve Cummings (Great Britain) rides alongside Alejandro Valverde (Spain) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) launches his final-lap attack.

Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) launches his final-lap attack. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Damiano Cunego (Italy) follows wheels in the race's closing stages.

Damiano Cunego (Italy) follows wheels in the race's closing stages. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) is followed by eventual winner Cadel Evans (Australia).

Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) is followed by eventual winner Cadel Evans (Australia). (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Joaquím Rodríguez (Spain) grabs some food as the race enters its final lap.

Joaquím Rodríguez (Spain) grabs some food as the race enters its final lap. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Oscar Freire (Spain)

Oscar Freire (Spain) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Filippo Pozzato (Italy) corners.

Filippo Pozzato (Italy) corners. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan)

Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The International Cycling Union (UCI)

The International Cycling Union (UCI) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The sign-on board for the 2009 Elite men's World Championship road race.

The sign-on board for the 2009 Elite men's World Championship road race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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UCI President Pat McQuaid in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

UCI President Pat McQuaid in Mendrisio, Switzerland. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The scene at the start of the 2009 Elite men's World Championship road race.

The scene at the start of the 2009 Elite men's World Championship road race. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Giovanni Visconti (Italy) leads the peloton.

Giovanni Visconti (Italy) leads the peloton. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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A deflated Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) crosses the finish.

A deflated Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) crosses the finish. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Evans finishes in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

Evans finishes in Mendrisio, Switzerland. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Wow, this is incredible. Cadel Evans (Australia) poders his World Championship victory, completed just 15 minutes prior.

Wow, this is incredible. Cadel Evans (Australia) poders his World Championship victory, completed just 15 minutes prior. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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World Champion Cadel Evans (Australia)

World Champion Cadel Evans (Australia) (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Cadel Evans' medal glints in the evening sun.

Cadel Evans' medal glints in the evening sun. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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The scene at the start in Mendrisio on Sunday morning.

The scene at the start in Mendrisio on Sunday morning. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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Huge crowds were making an equally massive amount of noise as they supported the peloton today.

Huge crowds were making an equally massive amount of noise as they supported the peloton today. (Image credit: Riccardo Scanferla)
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The Spaniards await the start.

The Spaniards await the start. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alexandre Vinokourov (left, Kazakhstan) rides ahead of Filippo Pozzato (Italy).

Alexandre Vinokourov (left, Kazakhstan) rides ahead of Filippo Pozzato (Italy). (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Samuel Sanchez (Spain) finishes fourth.

Samuel Sanchez (Spain) finishes fourth. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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The day's break spent a lot of time off the front.

The day's break spent a lot of time off the front. (Image credit: Edward Madden)
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Dan Martin (Ireland) finished in 68th.

Dan Martin (Ireland) finished in 68th. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Japanese rider Taiji Nishitani grits his teeth.

Japanese rider Taiji Nishitani grits his teeth. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Marzio Bruseghin (Italy) rides on the front for Damiano Cunego.

Marzio Bruseghin (Italy) rides on the front for Damiano Cunego. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) gave it his all on the way to silver - again.

Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) gave it his all on the way to silver - again. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Australian stalwart Cadel Evans en route to victory in Mendrisio.

Australian stalwart Cadel Evans en route to victory in Mendrisio. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Irish rider Philip Deignan didn't make the big moves and finished 40th.

Irish rider Philip Deignan didn't make the big moves and finished 40th. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Filippo Pozzato (Italy) found himself on the front regularly in the closing kilometres.

Filippo Pozzato (Italy) found himself on the front regularly in the closing kilometres. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Swiss favourite Fabian Cancellara put in another massive display of power riding today.

Swiss favourite Fabian Cancellara put in another massive display of power riding today. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) was part of the day's long break.

Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) was part of the day's long break. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Belgium's Nick Nuyen's (centre) keeps things ticking over in the peloton.

Belgium's Nick Nuyen's (centre) keeps things ticking over in the peloton. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Italian rider Michele Scarponi did his bit to help team leader Damiano Cunego.

Italian rider Michele Scarponi did his bit to help team leader Damiano Cunego. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)
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Oliver Zaugg (Switzerland) was active in the big moves.

Oliver Zaugg (Switzerland) was active in the big moves. (Image credit: Edward Madden/www.dotcycling.com)

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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