Rogers Wins Third Time Trial World Championship
Michael Rogers (Australia) is the first three-time World Time Trial Champion. Rogers paced himself well over the undulating Casa de Campo circuit to win the Elite Men's Time Trial in 53:34. Spaniard Jose Ivan Gutierrez grabbed the silver in front of his compatriots at 0:24, and Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) won the bronze by the same margin.
Matias Medici (Argentina) set the early standard. The first rider in the first wave posted a 55:11, a time that held for a long time but that no one took seriously because the best riders were in the third wave. Indeed, Rogers's compatriot Bradley Wiggins, who rode in the second wave, eclipsed the Argentinean's time with a 55:05. Andrei Kaskechkin (Kazakhstan) then pipped Wiggins with a 55:03.
Kaskechkin did not lead for long. Gutierrez obliterated Kaskechkin's time with a 53:58. Here was a time to beat!
Gutierrez withstood many challengers. Cancellara fell just short of him, and Ruben Plaza (Spain) and Alexander Vinokourov (Kazakhstan) could do no better than fourth and fifth, respectively. Denis Menchov (Russia), Bobby Julich (United States), and Thomas Dekker (the Netherlands), all of whom are upper-echelon time trialists, turned in subpar performances, probably because of fatigue at the ends of long seasons. For a time, Gutierrez appeared to be today's man of destiny.
Rogers, however, seized destiny by the throat. He said, "I tried to ride within myself in the first lap and try to make up the difference in the last third of the race. I saw in the U-23 race yesterday that that's where the biggest differences were made." The Australian's race went according to plan. At the first checkpoint (10.5 km), Rogers was 0:17 behind Wiggins in fifth place. By the 21.9-km time check, however, Rogers was 0:07 behind the standard bearer, Gutierrez. The Aussie had seized a seven-second lead by the 33-km checkpoint and poured on the coal to lengthen his lead by the finish. The victory was Rogers's first of the season, which took much of the disappointment out of a difficult year.
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