World Time Trial Championships - Day 2
September 24, 2009; by Larry Hickmott
The second day of the World Time Trial Championships in Switzerland saw a full day of racing for the Elite men with Great Britain having two accomplished Time Trialists racing for their country, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome. On another hot day in Switzerland, Bradley Wiggins was fanning the flames with yet another awesome ride when disaster struck. With the finish line less than a lap away, and the Bronze medal in sight, a freak mechanical saw Bradley slip down the finishing order to end the race in 21st position after being in 4th at the final split. GB’s other rider, Chris Froome made a great debut at senior level in the Time Trial finishing in 18th place.
The day began with a leisurely start as first the staff rolled up for breakfast around 7am followed by Chris and then Brad later as the sun rose through a misty sky. Both Brad and Chris were not on the road racing until the afternoon so had their own warm-up routines to follow during the day with GB staff assigned to each of them.
Being inside the camp, you realise that even with the large numbers of staff who have travelled to Switzerland, there still isn't enough to go round all the riders after the Elite women riders rolled in late on Wednesday night, the Under 23 men's riders were picked up from their base in Italy on Thursday and the Elite men were also arriving on the Thursday. With GB's rise in the Nation rankings, that is a lot of bike riders to be descending on the hotel resort.
One rider missing in the road race on Sunday but visiting the hotel was Mark Cavendish who knew that at best it was going to be tough on this brutal course for him and although healthy, contrary to reports in the press, he didn't feel he was going to be able to do the job for the team that he felt was needed. In his place comes a rider who has spent his season working for riders in his ISD pro team such as Italian Viscontini, Ian Stannard.
So whilst I headed for the circuit in Mendrisio at 8.30am, it was all go for staff and riders, both those at the racing and those at the hotel and is an example of how detailed the logistics needs to be to ensure all the riders are looked after. Back at the circuit, travelling in with me was the Men's coach Rod Ellingworth along with the mechanics Ernie and Rajen, carer Luc and the coach driver Frederico.
Once in Mendrisio, the man who chose to look after the Elite Men's World Championship Project, Rod Ellingworth, looked over the area where the bus was and decisions were made to turn it around and ensure the riders were kept away from the crowd that is allowed to stream into the oh so small parking area for the team. An area far too small for a World Championship event. Then, a meeting for the staff already at the start was held where all the details were looked at from synchronising watches with the clock at the start to who each rider, Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, would be looked after from the moment they arrived at the course.
The team realised after the awesome results by Bradley this year that it was the team's best chance of a World Time Trial championship medal for many a year and everything was being looked at to give him the best chance of doing the best ride possible.
The morning went by quickly as everyone put everything into place ready for the riders and we were soon watching the first riders race down the starting ramp after the racing commenced at 11.30 with Slovakian rider James Weeks. By this time, Chris Froome had arrived for his first Time Trial at a World Championship for Britain (he's ridden for Kenya before in the Under 23 TT) and at 12 noon started the first of his two warm-ups.
He then rode down to the start on his spare bike, a road one, ready for his start at 1.35pm. Whilst Chris was out on the course racing the first of three laps, Brad Wiggins arrived at the team's bus where he was able to relax inside away from everyone except the essential staff that were looking after him. All other staff were kept at a distance such is the GB way!
After Chris Froome, who had ridden the Road Race for GB last year, came in for what was finally 18th place, Brad headed for the starting area for his effort in an event he has kept his season on track for since the Tour de France. Wiggins was off in the last group and he made a steady start, coming through 7th on the first split, sixth for the next three splits and then on the final split had moved up to fourth. Then he had that mechanical and his race for the medals was over.
Afterwards, as Switzerland went wild for their man Cancellara, I spoke to both the British riders:
“The ride went alright, nothing special but it was important to go through the experience of the preparation before hand and the actual time trial where I was building up on the first lap and getting faster and on the final lap giving it everything. That in itself was good practice for the future.”
“I know I wasn’t aiming for the top 10 but I am happy with the time. I know the last few days preparing for the time trial went very well. I did the Time Trial in the Under 23 for Kenya but never like this where I have had everything prepared specifically for the time trial. The team have helped me focus on the little details and the structure.”
“I have only been riding pro for two years so there is a lot of work I need to do on positioning, gearing and equipment and I will probably learn more about that next year with Team Sky. Time trialling is really important for stage racing and also climbing. Those are two aspects I want to work on.”
“It wasn’t a technically hard circuit but it was one of those races where you were going to have to have really good legs to do something. Now, I’m going to continue racing for Lombardy and try and be up there for that and in November I think we have the first official get together for Team Sky. Everything is hugely positive and it’s go, go, go.”
Two seconds for Brad Wiggins to wait before he starts his effort in the time trial
A good while after he finished and retreated to the team bus to mull over the events of the afternoon, Bradley emerged in his Team GB leisure kit to face three sets of TV cameras and half a dozen or so journalists. When it was suggested he'd had a nightmare rider with a mechanical robbing him of a medal, Brad had to think before asking why a nightmare.“I was going very well out there, perfect for my race."
"Fabian aside I think I was on a good one and he caught me at a crucial time and afterwards, I was kind of stuck and couldn’t really do anything but sit back and wait. Then Larsson came past me and I was bit…”. Bradley was at this point in the interview struggling to find the words to describe what happened next.
“I dropped my chain at the bottom of the climb and the brake pulled over (the rear break is down on the bottom bracket). I did the climb with it (brake) rubbing and then jumped off not knowing the car wasn’t there (it had been told to stay behind another). That was race over.”
“I sat there for a lap not really doing anything just sitting behind Fabian and I had moments when I thought I’m going to sit up because this was no way to win the bronze and I felt sorry for Tony Martin. I felt I was cheating even though I was a good 150 metres behind him. You are still getting pulled along and I wanted to win a bronze or silver on my own merit. Until then I had ridden my own race where I could raise my game on the last lap and come back on Tony and be there or thereabouts. Certainly between second and fourth.”
“The Swedish guy spent two and half laps sitting on Fabian.”
“When I saw the start sheet, I thought a minute between riders was a bit close especially when you have Fabian behind you. I wasn’t surprised when he went past me. This morning I thought if I could finish within two minutes of Fabian, that would be about right and I thought I could hold him off if he was on a super day. When he came past, I kind of ignored him and was still concentrating on my own race.”
“I would have felt funny standing here as a bronze medal winner having sat on him for over a lap and saying what a wonderful performance it was. It would have been a bit false and I would not have thought I had done on it on my own merit. I could have done with starting eight minutes in front of him and got the whole thing out on my own merit. The same for Larsson, I don’t think he is a worthy Silver medallist. I think Tony Martin is for me the Silver medallist.”
On where he goes from here, -- next year at the Worlds perhaps? “Possibly. I think it has been a good season. I came here doing what I wanted to do. I feel I had good form and rode it well until the mechanical. ”
Does he wish he was doing the road race now? “No, not at all. In fact I’m glad I’m going home. I am done now mentally. The Time Trial was just enough of a focus, short enough, for me to put all my energies into it for the last couple of weeks. Since the Tour, it has been a good little goal but the thought of riding 19 laps is another thing really.”
“I am still going to Australia (Sun Tour) but that is really just to enjoy it.”
Finally, on the way his season has ended, he explained “I have done enough of these to know things happen and I have had a lot of luck this season. I have gone through two Grand Tours without crashing once and so it has been pretty good so a bit of bad luck is just the way it goes sometimes and a lot of it is my own fault because I have taken a few risks with equipment and things”.
1. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 57:55.74
2. Gustav Larsson (Sweden) @1:27
3. Tony Martin (Germany) @2:30
4. Tom Zirbel (USA) @2:47
5. Marco Pinotti (Italy) @3:02
6. Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia) @3:08
7. Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands) @3:11
8. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) @3:20
9. Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania) @3:33
10. Bert Grabsch (Germany) @3:37
11. David Mc Cann (Ireland) @3:40
12. Jean-Christophe Peraud (France) @3:43
13. Lars Ytting Bak (Denmark) @4:07
14. Dominique Cornu (Belgium) @4:09
15. Svein Tuft (Canada) @4:24
16. Lars Boom (Netherlands) @4:24
17. Artem Ovechkin (Russian Federation) @4:27
18. Christopher Froome (Great Britain) @4:34
19. Frantisek Rabon (Czech Republic) @4:39
20. Sebastian Lang (Germany) @4:40
21. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) @4:50
Split 1 - 9.16km
1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 0:10:52.17
7 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) 0:00:30.78
23 Christopher Froome (Great Britain) 0:00:46.18
Split 2 - 16.6km
1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 0:19:05.31
6 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) 0:01:02.40
29 Christopher Froome (Great Britain) 0:01:42.29
Split 3 - 25.76km
1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 0:30:07.22
6 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) 0:01:41.66
24 Christopher Froome (Great Britain) 0:02:32.64
Split 4 - 33.2km
1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 0:38:20.98
6 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) 0:02:05.16
19 Christopher Froome (Great Britain) 0:03:14.49
Split 5 - 42.36km
1 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) 0:49:26.93
4 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) 0:02:27.25
18 Christopher Froome (Great Britain) 0:04:02.75
Chris Froome navigates his way through the crowded car park on his way to the Team GB bus.
Matt Parkers works the numbers on the Powertap box for Brad Wiggins bike.
He may not have been local but everyone knew his name and Wiggins certainly had support around the circuit.
On a wave of noise from the home crowd, Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) races down the finish straight to start his third and final lap
Koos Moerenhout (Netherlands) reaches for a bottle in the very warm conditions
Tour of Britain winner Evald Boasson Hagen
Gustav Larsson (Sweden) who Wiggins later said was not a deserved winner of the Silver medal.
Brad Wiggins puts the finishing touches to his warm up
Chris Froome races away from the start house
The team took care setting out their pit area in what was a cramped car park but use of a field next to it gave the riders room to move about away from the crowd
Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakhstan)