Day 3 - World Road Champs

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Peter Kennaugh 4th in Under 23 Road Worlds

September 26. 2009

WIth the Union Jack and Isle of Man flags in the background and the full backing of Team GB and all it's staff,Peter Kennaugh showed he could handle the pressure and performed in a brutal world championship race.

It was a mixed day for GB on a long day at the World Road Race Championships in Switzerland. Yet again, the Great Britain Cycling Team’s men’s endurance Academy showed just how successful it is in producing riders capable of challenging for rainbow jerseys on the road and track when Peter Kennaugh was fourth in the Under 23 road race.

In the Elite Women’s race, three of the team’s riders, defending champion Nicole Cooke, Track World Champion Lizzie Armitstead and two time World Road Cup winner in 2009, Emma Pooley have all shown they are among the best road riders in the world but there was no pot of gold for them after a tough race with Emma Pooley finishing the best of them in 14th place.

British Cycling’s Larry Hickmott was on the course with cameras at the ready to capture the action:

Men’s Under 23 Road Race
Frenchman Romain Sicard was the winner of this tough race which saw the finishers covering thirteen laps of the brutal Swiss circuit. Whilst 13 may have been unlucky for some, it wasn’t for Sicard who showed awesome ability to ride away from the worlds best and win alone.

Sicard had been part of a two up break with Michael Kreder of Holland (Netherlands) but with the chasers coming back on the break, Sicard broke away from his Dutch rival who drifted back to the bunch, or what was left of it. Behind Sicard, two riders fought out the other medals with Columbian Betancur Gomez Carlos Alberto winning the two up sprint ahead of Russia's Egor Silin.

Alone in 4th was Peter Kennaugh who crossed the line exhausted in front of a gallery of Union Jacks and Isle of Man flags. His result showed not just how great a bike rider he is but also how the Academy in Italy is able to come up trumps in selected events such as he did in the Baby Giro earlier in the year. In the latter half of the race, three of the team were still in the leading group with Jonny McEvoy and first year senior Luke Rowe showing their colours at the highest level.

“If I had been in that break or split, then I think I could have won a medal. I had to use so much energy on the climb to get across. I am disappointed in missing out on a medal but pleased I have targeted this race and came here with good form and that is quite hard to do especially as an amateur cyclist. I think it is a special thing to say I want to do well in a major race and then do well in it.”

“The Russian had some speed up that last climb! I couldn’t match the acceleration and I just had to sort of go at my own pace and slowly get away. I struggled to go with them.”

Talking about whether there was any organised chase behind the Frenchman, “all the strong riders were in that split and no-one was going to get together to chase. We were all out look after our own interests to hit the last climb as fresh as possible and I think that is why it never got organised.”

“It was an awesome course because I could take it in my stride while others were struggling. I think if you weren’t on a good day, it would have been a horrible horrible race to do. The climbs suited me and I kept thinking about drinking and eating. I didn’t go one lap without eating something and I think that was important.”

“I think it was also important for me and British Cycling to perform again at the World Championships because it shows that everything is working. It shows what a good job Max (Sciandri) has done this year. Rod has done an awesome job with the Academy and Max has stepped in and I have learnt a lot from Max’s experience so I’d like to thank Max for that.”

For photos of the race, scroll down the page:

1 Romain Sicard (France) 4:41:54  
2 Betancur Gomez Carlos Alberto (Colombia) 0:00:27  
3 Egor Silin (Russian Federation)    
4 Peter Kennaugh (Great Britain) 0:00:49  
5 Jérôme Baugnies (Belgium) 0:00:54  
6 Marko Kump (Slovenia)    
7 Yevgeniy Nepomnyachshiy (Kazakhstan)    
8 Sarmiento Tunarrosa Jose Cayetano (Colombia)    
9 Matthias Brandle (Austria) 0:01:00  
10 Damiano Caruso (Italy) 0:01:33  
64 Luke Rowe (Great Britain)    

Jonathan McEvoy  (Great Britain)    
Mark Christian (Great Britain)    
Erick Rowsell (Great Britain)    

Elite Women’s Road Race Championship

Whilst Emma Pooley signs on in the background, Nicole Cooke, Sharon Laws, Nikki Harris, Lizzie Armitstead, Katie Colclough and Lucy Martin smile for the worlds media

After Nicole Cooke’s victory last year, there was to be no repeat of a medal in this event for GB. For quite a few years, Nicole Cooke has consistently been winning medals culminating in a victory last year but this year despite some great talent in the race, there was to be no medals for the GB women.

The race was won by Italy’s Tatiana who won the race alone with the Silver won by prolific world medallist Marianne Vos with another Italian, Noemi Cantele, in third. The day started wet with heavy rain during the morning before the race but as it went on, the drizzle stopped and blue sky appeared between the clouds overhead.

Defending champion Nicole Cooke looked out of sorts struggling on roads that would normally give her the platform to take a race to her rivals but not this year and she retired from the race. GB though had two other possible contenders in Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley. It was the sort of course that suits climber Emma but like Nicole, Emma was unable to reproduce the magic she has in the past and in the finale of the race, was unable to go with the crucial moves whilst Lizzie Armitstead lost contact in the final few laps and also slipped out of contention.

2009 saw an Italian victory for Guderzo

1 Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) 3:33:25  
2 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 0:00:19  
3 Noemi Cantele (Italy)    
4 Kristin Armstrong (United States Of America)    
5 Diana Ziliute (Lithuania) 0:01:07  
6 Judith Arndt (Germany)    
7 Erinne Willock (Canada)    
8 Nicole Brändli (Switzerland)    
9 Grace Verbeke (Belgium)    
10 Catherine Cheatley (New Zealand)    

14 Emma Pooley (Great Britain)    
27 Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain)    
28 Sharon Laws (Great Britain)    

DNF Nicole Cooke (Great Britain)    
DNF Katie Colclough (Great Britain)    
DNF Lucy Martin (Great Britain)    
DNF Nikki Harris (Great Britain)

Photos (click here for high res slideshow)

Elite Women's Road Race

The race gets underway with the GB riders at the front of the field.

Sharon Laws, Nicole Cooke, Lucy Martin and Nikki Harris at the start. Nikki was later involved in a crash which saw her needing some treatment at hospital.

Sharon Laws at the front of the race. Whilst I didn't have a TV to watch the race, I did hear Sharon's name a lot on the foreign language commentary and the Olympian showed her strengths in the race.

Support for GB outside a Swiss home...

A rider from the Swiss team driving a break along on the second climb

Emma Pooley dragging the bunch up to the break

Lizzie Armitstead showed that even when she's a mile away from the track as this course was, she is such a talent and went a long way with the leaders.

Nicole Cooke after losing contact with the leaders is joined by Katie Colclough

Vos wins the sprint for Silver

The sprint for Emma Pooley's group

Under 23 Men's RR

Thirteen laps of the course is what the riders faced when they rolled away from the start.

A rider from Austria was an early attacker in the race.

The early stages of the race saw the riders saving energyand using the full width of the road

Mark Christian (centre) at the front of the race.

A double-decker -- perhaps the team should have brought one of these over for a team bus ....

A team support from the GB Team's hotel, the chef takes pictures of the race

Another of the early the breaks is about to be reeled in at the top of the second climb

A USA rider gets help from neutral service

Canada leads the break in the second half of the race

Jonny McEvoy was in the race for a long time in the lead group

First year junior Luke Rowe did very well to also keep his place in the lead group for the majority of the race.

For no other reason that I had the lens and the viewpoint so why not! A birdseye view of the race (or should that be fisheye) on the second lap.

A tough race for first year junior Erick Rowsell

A rider who may well in this race next year, Tim Kennaugh bites his finger nails as big brother powers his way to fourth place.

A proud Columbian wins the sprint for second

A chase group comes by the finish area with two to go and Kennaugh is third wheel

Jérôme Baugnies of Belgium wins the sprint for 5th place

The biggest of the group sprints to follow the winner and all the other groups that crossed the line at the end of a tough 13 laps of the Mendrisio circuit.