Report: Cavendish is World Champion!

Britain’s Mark Cavendish, thanks to the efforts of eight incredible riders in the GB team, is World Road Race Champion.

As expected, the World Road Race championship came down to a bunch kick after the riders in the Great Britain team did nothing short of an incredible job of controlling the race, and whilst the last 500 metres were chaotic to say the least, Mark Cavendish used all his experience to repay those GB efforts by managing to fight off the challenge of fellow Milan San Remo winner Matt Goss (Australia) to clinch the first rainbow jersey for GB since Tom Simpson in the 60’s.

It was as Cavendish explained later, a  title for Great Britain and the other seven riders who helped him make it happen, Steve Cummings, Bradley Wiggins, David Millar, Chris Froome, Ian Stannard, Jeremy Hunt and Geraint Thomas.

Race Report
It was very active start to the race and despite over six hours of racing ahead (166 kilometres), the attacks flowed as they do in a pro race one after the other. This continued for most of the first lap until finally the elastic holding the peloton together was broken.

Six riders opened up a gap with a seventh from Spain managing to nip across the gap before it grew to big. In that break were Antony Roux (France), Christian Poos (Luxembourg), Robert Kiserlovski (Crotia), Oleg Chuzhda (Ukraine), Tanel Kangert (Estonia), Maxim Iglinskiy (Kazakstan) and Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spain).

No GB riders but then as Cavendish is reported to have said in the media, Great Britain’s aim was to have the race settled in a bunch sprint. Courses suited to a sprinter do not come along very often at a World Road Championship and GB were apparently putting all their eggs in the one basket. Two more riders meanwhile managed to escape before the peloton put the brakes on, Otavio Bulgarelli (Brazil) and Columbian Ivan Mauricio Casas Buitrago.

Photo: Thomas van Bracht

Unfortunately for them the break had flown and with the riders in it swapping turns, the two chasers were unable to bridge to the group and slowly lost time on the leaders. The first 48 kilometres were covered in 1.02.06 which is pretty rapid considering the distance of 166 kilometres in all to be raced. That pace never slackened either despite only two countries, Germany and Great Britain taking control of the chase.

The other teams knew it was down to GB to do the work for Cavendish and despite a lot of talking between teams and riders, it soon became a familiar sight of the rouleurs Steve Cummings, Chris Froome, David Millar, Bert Grabsch and Andreas Klier at the front with plenty of GB jerseys behind them in a peloton that was lined out behind the British/German spearhead at the front.

GB’s Ian Stannard meanwhile was seemingly on bottle duty going back to the car and then coming back to feed the riders who were finding it difficult to get bottles in a very crowded feed zone. The break meanwhile was continuing to build up a large lead. Four minutes, then five and at the start of the sixth lap the lead was over seven and a half minutes. It had been over eight minutes at one point.

The two chasers from Brazil and Columbia meanwhile were caught at the start of the sixth lap and two more, Hossein Askari and Said El Ammoury, who had also tried to start a chase, were also reeled back in.

Photo: Thomas van Bracht

Halfway …
As the riders reached the halfway point of the race, bright blue skies above them, the break continued to lead the German/British lead peloton and with the lead around five minutes, and the speed above 46 kph, the race was anything but a procession on this fairly flat course.

The favourites though were getting an easy ride in the wheels and that included Cavendish sporting a new ‘aero’ helmet.

For GB, the chase work was being done by Steve Cummings and Chris Froome, with both riders spending a long time at the front before swinging across and going back to have a rest before another spell on the front. A look down the peloton and the rider in the GB camp assigned to Cavendish was Jeremy Hunt and a look at the splits on Tissot showed they were never far apart going through the three time checks each lap.

Panic though set in when as the race entered the 10th lap (seven to go), the race exploded as Belgium went on the attack and quickly a small group went clear; Johan Van Summeren (Belgium), Yoann Offredo (France), Luca Paolini (Italy), Oliver Kaisen (Belgium) and Simon Clarke (Australia). This development saw the lead of the break start to tumble and was now under four minutes.

The chase group quickly opened up a gap of 30 seconds plus and while the GB, USA and German riders continued to ride tempo on the front of the peloton, the break’s lead was continuing to be eroded by the chasers and Christian Poos lost contact with them.

The race had entered a new phase as the pace had to be lifted in the peloton  to keep the chase group in check and the gap at the end of lap 11 to the chasers was only two minutes and the peloton another minute back.

The race also saw Hunt and Cavendish move up to the tail end of the GB train at the front and out of harms way as the race behind them became more frantic in the wheels.

Chris Froome. Photo: Thomas van Bracht

Six laps to go …
More attacks started to come in the peloton as other nations went on the attack as Visconti of Italy had a serious dig along with riders from Australia and other nations and the injection of these attacks strung the peloton out and splits started to appear.

All this action saw the lead of the break continue to tumble and speaking of tumbling, a big crash at the back of the peloton saw Frank Schleck and many others go down onto the tarmac with the effect of it seeing a big split in the peloton.

Five laps to go …
Victims of the crash also included Jack Bauer and Thor Hushovd and while they had to chase to try make up that time (they failed), the Dutch rider Pieter Weening attacked in the feed zone at the end of lap 12 as the chasers caught the five men left in the break.

With eleven riders now leading the race, nations such as Holland, Italy and Australia were putting GB under pressure and a group started to form around Weening including  Baden Cooke, Giovanni Visconti, Bauke Mollema, Nicki Sorenson, and Thomas Rohregger.

They were brought back but the pressure on GB was ever increasing and was sure to take its toll later on although it has to be said that both Chris Froome and Steve Cummings had done a huge job riding at the front hour after hour after hour …

Four laps to go
The attacks continued to be launched as they came up the rise through the finish (and feedzone) with four to go. Visconti of Italy had yet another dig with Simon Gerrans and Tour of Britain stage winner, Wouter Poels. This break was short lived and then Denmark countered an attack that was quickly chased down before the Aussies too had a go.

Matt Brammeier was now getting involved as plenty of riders were giving it full gas with still 60k to go. Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Italy were all firing riders away. The race was now very active and while chaos ensured at the front of the peloton, the GB team carried on in formation with 212 kilometres under their wheels. They had a plan and no matter what, were going to stick to it.

Photo: Thomas van Bracht

Three laps to go
Through the start/finish again, up the only climb of note and the Italians again attacked and yet again, a period of manic chasing ensued by the peloton who were able stay in touch. Another attack though with seven riders then went clear including Albasini, Rogers, Costa, Gavazzi, Nuyens, Leukmanns and Lovkvist. They too opened up a gap with the peloton chasing them down led by David Millar of GB.

As that break came back, the counter came straight away from Denmark and all the aggression being unleashed in the peloton saw the gap of the break come right down and that had its effect on the break too. Attacks started to come there as well as panic set in and French rider Roux went clear.

Two laps to go…
Lars Bak was the Danish rider chasing Roux and after the many miles spent on the front in the Tour of Britain this year, he started to catch the break which was playing games now behind Roux. At the front of the peloton, the teeth were coming out as the grimaces were now evident with Norway joining the GB chase with Rasch and Arvenson working for Boasson Hagen on a finish that suited the Sky rider.

While Roux continued to steam roll his way alone at the front, the break was caught and attacks from Australia and Holland were launched off the front of the peloton which was travelling far too quick for lone attacks to succeed on such a course.

It was a spark though that ignited a fire of multiple attacks from France (Voeckler), Denmark (Sorenson) and Belgium (Lodewyke) and a trio went clear.

Final Lap

After help from Germany and Norway, the peloton leading the chase after the leaders was soon all down to Great Britain with Wiggins keeping the pace really high but that didn’t stop Holland launching a rider down the road.

The Dutch rider was Jonny Hoogerland who suffered such awful injuries in the Tour de France and he quickly joined the three leaders with less than ten minutes of racing left. Chasing full gas was Bradley Wiggins though and he was keeping the gap at around only 10 or so seconds so Hoogerland attacked the break. It was in vain however and the four leaders remained together as they entered the final five miles.

In the peloton, as GB led the chase, the other teams such as Italy and Australia were massing at the front. The break came back and Voekler had a go again  but he wasn’t able to carry on the effort for more than  few seconds. Behind Wiggins was Ian Stannard with 5k to go and by now only four riders from GB were left at the front as the other nations applied the pressure.

Three k to go and Wiggins swung over as Stannard took to the front only for the Aussie train to blast bast and take over the lead out as the argy bargy in the all out war began as riders fought for position. The USA team then came alongside the Aussies as did the Germans with 2 k to go. The peloton was now at full speed and Cavendish moved up while Stannard was on the front with Thomas behind him looking for Cavendish. The Isle of Man rider knew GB were out numbered and he went looking for the right wheel. He found it in Matt Goss’s.

The Aussies, with Goss and Cavendish in tow, were now the team making the run down the right of the finishing straight, Cavendish around six or so back in the string and waiting for the moment.

The Aussies, crucially for Cavendish, were looking left for riders making their run and as they looked left, they moved to the centre of the road, creating space on the right but Cavendish knew it was a hard finish and resisted making his run for a long time. Finally, a gap opened up on the barriers and he launched himself through it and side-by-side with Matt Goss, the two riders sprinted to the line with the GB rider getting it by half a length. Cavendish was world champion and the work by the other seven GB riders had been repaid.

Photo: Thomas van Bracht

Post Race Reactions

Mark Cavendish:

“Winning the Rainbow Jersey is a dream come true. I have won the green jersey in the Tour de France and won Milan-San Remo, but this jersey signifies the greatest thing I can get, really… I get to ride with the rainbow bands all next year and to wear them on the sleeves for the rest of my life.”

“I got boxed in with about 450 meters to go and I wanted ideally to go with 150. But then suddenly a gap opened on the right of the road with a couple of hundred to go so I took that chance, even if it was a bit too far out.”
“But usually I know if I am going to win or not when I kick and this time when I kicked, I knew I was going to win. I saw Goss coming back close to me in the end, but with the biggest sprinters in the world, I knew it was not going to be a walk in the park and it would be close.”

“There could not be another result after the way the guys rode today. We had eight of the best guys in the World and it was the first time we have come together and it was incredible. They took the race on from start to finish and we won, I can’t believe it. We were afraid of attacks going in the end so we had the guys in front riding an incredible tempo so that nobody could attack. They just rode out of their skin.”

“We knew three years ago when this course was announced we had a chance here and we put a plan together to come here with the best group of guys to this race and bring the rainbow jersey back to Britain. This was three years in the making. The guys worked so hard to collect points through out the season to get eight guys here and you just saw them ride incredible.”

Re London 2012, he says “We only five guys there but it is the biggest goal next year and hopefully we can make the double next year. As a British citizen, the Olympics are really a big thing that you want to win, but as a professional cyclist, it does not get much bigger than the rainbow Jersey. I always said when I was younger that I wanted to be World Champion, the best in the World. I was World Champion in the Madison with Rob Hayles when I was 19, but these are the solid bands, so this is really a dream come true.”

Finally, talking to Jill Douglas of the BBC, he parted saying “I want to go  and see them (his teammates) before they start drinking otherwise G will be on the floor if he’s started already! As a one day cyclist, this is the biggest jersey you can get and I can now wear it the whole of next year and I will wear it on behalf of Great Britain.”

Matt Goss:

The Australian said in the press conference “The plan was to have four riders in front through the last corner and they put me in the perfect position in the end so I owe a great thank you to those guys.”

“I certainly did not have an ideal preparation, as I had to pull out of the Vuelta but at the same time that was maybe a blessing in disguise. I have been training and racing pretty well lately but I was still not quite sure about my form before the race.”

“But after 160 km my legs started feeling better and better and I said to the team that I thought that I could get a good result today. The Olympics will definitely be a big goal for me next year, as they will probably be much harder than this today.”

André Greipel (Germany)

“It was a pretty nice circuit and we do not get many opportunities like this as a sprinter. We had the best team for this race and we were doing the chase but then we lost four guys behind a crash and we had to change our plan.”

“But we still did our best and in the end John Degenkolb, Danilo Hondo and Marcel Sieberg brought me into a good position and I had a great chance to be World Champion. I am still happy with third place.

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Photos: Thomas van Bracht | Click to display | Use the cursor keys to move back and forward through images. | Click an image to close.


1  CAVENDISH Mark GBR 5:40:27 +0
2  GOSS Matthew Harley AUS @st
3  GREIPEL André GER @st
4  CANCELLARA Fabian SUI @st
5  ROELANDTS Jurgen BEL @st
6  FEILLU Romain FRA @st
7  BOZIC Borut SLO @st
10 FARRAR Tyler USA @st
12  SAGAN Peter SVK @st
13  RAVARD Anthony FRA @st
14  BENNATI Daniele ITA @st
15  COSTA Rui POR @st
16  CARDOSO Manuel Antonio Leal POR @st
17  GILBERT Philippe BEL @st
18  MORKOV Michael DEN @st
19  VEILLEUX David CAN @st
20  BOLE Grega SLO @st
21  LIGTHART Pim NED @st
22  SARAMOTINS Aleksejs LAT @st
23  KOSTYUK Denys UKR @st
24  PHINNEY Taylor USA @st
25  BAGDONAS Gediminas LTU @st
26  FUGLSANG Jakob DEN @st
27  HUTAROVICH Yauheni BLR @st
28  RUTKIEWICZ Marek POL @st
29  BOOM Lars NED @st
30  MIYAZAWA Takashi JPN @st
31  KWIATKOWSKI Michal POL @st
32  BAK Lars Ytting DEN @st
33  KUSCHYNSKI Aliaksandr BLR @st
34  KVASINA Matija CRO @st
35  HOOGERLAND Johnny NED @st
36  BRAMMEIER Matt IRL @st
37  OFFREDO Yoann FRA @st
38  PATERSKI Maciej POL @st
39  LÖVKVIST Thomas SWE @st
40  MODOLO Sacha ITA @st
41  CARDOSO Andre Fernando S. Martins POR @st
42  HAUSSLER Heinrich AUS @st
43  SÖRENSEN Nicki DEN @st
44  TJALLINGII Maarten NED @st
45  STANGELJ Gorazd SLO @st
46  ROHREGGER Thomas AUT @st
47  RASCH Gabriel NOR @st
48  NUYENS Nick BEL @st
49  HAEDO Juan José ARG @st
50  BRAJKOVIC Janez SLO @st
51  ROCHE Nicolas IRL @st
52  LEUKEMANS Björn BEL @st
53  GALLOPIN Tony FRA @st
54  KESSIAKOFF Fredrik SWE @st
55  MANDRI Rene EST @st
56  CHUZHDA Oleg UKR @st
57  LUND Anders DEN @st
58  CARDOSO Filipe Duarte Sousa POR @st
59  MESTRE Ricardo Jorge Correia POR @st
60  WEENING Pieter NED @st
61  ROJAS GIL Jose Joaquin ESP @st
62  MOLLEMA Bauke NED @st
63  LODEWYCK Klaas BEL @st
64  BRUTT Pavel RUS @st
65  BOOKWALTER Brent USA @st
66  KOCJAN Jure SLO @st
67  KONOVALOVAS Ignatas LTU @st
68  VELITS Peter SVK @st
69  VELITS Martin SVK @st
70  CHAVANEL Sylvain FRA @st
71  KRUOPIS Aidis LTU @st
72  SUTTON Christopher AUS @st
73  RAST Grégory SUI @st
74  COOKE Baden AUS @st
75  HONDO Danilo GER @st
76  KISERLOVSKI Robert CRO @st
77  GAVAZZI Francesco ITA @st
79  GERRANS Simon AUS @st
80  VIVIANI Elia ITA @st
81  THOMAS Gerraint GBR @st
82  OSS Daniel ITA @st
83  GARATE CEPA Juan Manuel ESP 5:40:43 +16
84  ARVESEN Kurt-Asle NOR @st
85  ISAICHEV Vladimir RUS @st
86  ALBASINI Michael SUI 5:40:46 +19
87  KOHLER Martin SUI @st
88  POELS Wouter NED @st
89  KRUIJSWIJK Steven NED @st
90  MARTIN Daniel IRL @st
91  O`GRADY Stuart AUS @st
92  ERVITI OLLO Imanol ESP @st
93  DE WEERT Kevin BEL @st
94  KING Benjamin USA @st
95  FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio ESP @st
96  SIEBERG Marcel GER 5:40:53 +26
97  LASTRAS GARCIA Pablo ESP 5:40:56 +29
98  VOECKLER Thomas FRA 5:40:58 +31
99  STANNARD Ian GBR 5:41:01 +34
100 HAYMAN Mathew AUS @st
101  ROGERS Michael AUS 5:41:05 +38
102  CLARKE Simon AUS @st
103  QUINZIATO Manuel ITA 5:41:09 +42
104  TOSATTO Matteo ITA 5:41:16 +49
105  KOREN Kristijan SLO @st
106  PAOLINI Luca ITA 5:41:19 +52
107  VISCONTI Giovanni ITA 5:41:29 +1:02
108  WIGGINS Bradley GBR 5:43:41 +3:14
109  KAISEN Olivier BEL 5:44:27 +4:00
110  OJAVEE Mart EST @st
111  DEGENKOLB John GER @st
112  IGLINSKIY Maxim KAZ @st
113  ROUX Anthony FRA 5:47:01 +6:34
114  MILLAR David GBR 5:48:49 +8:22
115  HUNT Jeremy GBR @st
116  UBETO APONTE Miguel Armando VEN 5:49:21 +8:54
117  LJUNGBLAD Jonas SWE @st
118  HENDERSON Greg NZL @st
119  ANDRIATO Rafael BRA @st
120  BEPPU Fumiyuki JPN @st
121  BAUER Jack NZL @st
122  OLIVEIRA Nélson Filipe S Simoes POR @st
123  SOHRABI Mehdi IRI @st
124  SERPA PEREZ Jose Rodolfo COL @st
125  TAMOURIDIS Ioannis GRE @st
126  ASKARI Hossein IRI @st
127  OCHOA Carlos José VEN @st
128  RUBIANO CHAVEZ Miguel Angel COL @st
129  SÖRENSEN Chris Anker DEN @st
130  GIL MARTINEZ Tomas Aurelio VEN @st
131  KNEES Christian GER @st
132  HAEDO Lucas Sebastian ARG @st
133  ARASHIRO Yukiya JPN @st
134  NECHITA Andrei ROU @st
135  URAN URAN Rigoberto COL @st
136  RICHEZE Maximiliano ARG @st
137  MIHOLJEVIC Hrvoje CRO @st
138  ANACONA GOMEZ Winer Andrew COL @st
139  TUFT Svein CAN @st
140  ROGINA Radoslav CRO @st
141  CASAS BUITRAGO Ivan Mauricio COL @st
142  ÐURASEK Kristijan CRO @st
145  SHEYDYK Oleksandr UKR @st
146  OYARZUN GUINEZ Carlos Ivan CHI @st
147  PAKHTUSOV Anatoliy UKR @st
148  GARRIDO Gonzalo CHI @st
149  PANIZO Gregory BRA @st
150  DIDIER Laurent LUX @st
151  GOLAS Michal POL @st
152  DEAN Julian NZL @st
153  KVACHUK Oleksandr UKR @st
154  GASTAUER Ben LUX @st
155  BODNAR Maciej POL @st
156  HUZARSKI Bartosz POL @st
157  BUSCHE Matthew USA @st
158  EISEL Bernhard AUT @st
159  IGNATYEV Mikhail RUS @st
160  PORSEV Alexander RUS @st
161  KRITSKIY Timofey RUS @st
162  NEPOMNYACHSHIY Yevgeniy KAZ @st
163  RENEV Sergey KAZ @st
164  SANCHEZ GIL Luis Leon ESP @st
165  TERPSTRA Niki NED @st
166  MARTIN Tony GER @st
167  MURPHY John USA @st
168  SIUTSOU Kanstantsin BLR @st
169  FOFONOV Dmitriy KAZ @st
170  HUSHOVD Thor NOR @st
171  KLIER Andreas GER @st
172  DUMOULIN Samuel FRA @st
173  LOUDER Jeffry USA @st
174  DUGGAN Timothy USA @st
175  VAN AVERMAET Greg BEL 5:49:37 +9:10
176  KITTEL Marcel GER 5:49:43 +9:16
177  VAN SUMMEREN Johan BEL @st

FROOME Christopher GBR DNF
DUQUE Leonardo Fabio COL DNF
POOS Christian LUX DNF

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