Oakley's Cadel Evans and Tatiana Guderzo Win at World Cycling Championships
Oakley’s Cadel Evans of Australia got the biggest win of his career on Sunday, breaking free on the final climb to win the men’s race at cycling’s road world championships. The two-time Tour de France runner-up finished 6 hours, 56 minutes, 26 seconds on the 162.9-mile course.
“It’s something exceptional,” said the new world champion, who crossed the line kissing the wedding ring he wears on a necklace.
Oakley’s Alexandr Kolobnev of Russia crossed 27 seconds behind to take silver, beating Spain’s Joaquin Rodriguez in a sprint finish.
Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara was in contention on the final lap, but finished fifth as he sought a historic gold medal double after winning the time trial on Thursday.
Oakley’s Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara won his third career gold in the men’s time trial at the world road race championships on Thursday.
Cancellara, who won the world title in both 2006 and 2007, averaged a speed of just over 51 kilometres per hour for the 49.8 kilometre course, which he completed in 57 minutes and 55 seconds.
Cancellara’s third career gold in the time trial matches the record set by Australia’s Michael Rogers, who won the world title three years in a row.
The 32-year-old Evans became the first Australian to take gold in the 76th edition of the world championships, triumphing on roads just a few miles from his home in Switzerland during the European summer season. In addition to placing second in the Tour in 2007 and 2008, Evans was runner-up in the past three Dauphine Libere stage races. He was coming off a third-place finish in the Spanish Vuelta last Sunday.
His second place in Belgium’s Wallonne Arrow race last year was his best result in a one-day classic, and he took road race silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games. “Sometimes it gets demoralizing,” Evans said. “But I’ve always looked ahead to the possibility of winning in the future.”
The riders covered 19 laps on a tight, hilly course that challenged them with two climbs, technically demanding downhill sections and little recovery time.
“I’ve been thinking about this race for two years,” Evans said. “The finish line is three kilometers from my home away from home.” His Italian wife, Chiara, looked on, smiling and wiping away tears, as her husband spoke to reporters.
The race featured a dramatic final lap with all the prerace favorites in the lead group. Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan made the first move but was soon hauled in.
Cancellara went to the front with Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez on the descent following the steep Castel San Pietro climb, before being joined by Evans, Kolobnev and Rodriguez.
The three eventual medalists broke clear together and Evans made his decisive break on the final Novazzano climb.
In the women’s division, Oakley’s Tatiana Guderzo of Italy, bronze medallist at last year’s Olympic Games, won the women’s road race at the world cycling championships on Saturday.
The 25-year-old broke away from the field on a climb with just over 12 kilometres remaining in the 124.2-km race and sped away to win in three hours 33.25 minutes, 19 seconds ahead of her closest rival.
Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, winner in 2006 at the age of 19, pipped Noemi Cantele and Kristin Armstrong in a sprint for second place.
Guderzo’s compatriot Cantele was third and United States rider Kristin Armstrong, winner of Wednesday’s time trial and set to retire after the race, missed out on the medals.
On a track which started wet but quickly dried out, Cantele led for nearly two laps of the nine laps around Mendrisio in southern Switzerland.
Both Cantele and Guderzo, as well as Denmark’s Linda Villumsen tried to break during the early stages of the final lap but it was Guderzo who finally got away.
“I was a member of a team and it’s fair to divide this gold between six athletes,” Guderzo told reporters. "We controlled the race from the first lap.
“We knew that Italy was very, very strong. We agreed that if we were together on the last lap, the one who felt better should make the break. I was the lucky one.”