September 30, 2007 — The three Canadian riders in the men’s elite race on Sunday at the road world cycling championships in Stuttgart, Germany, did not finish. Olympic champion Paolo Bettini of Italy successfully defended his title with Alexandr Kolobnev of Russia second and Stefan Schumacher of Germany third.
Dominique Rollin of Boucherville, Que., Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C., and Cameron Evans of Delta, B.C., withdrew in the 12th, 11th and 10th laps respectively. There were 14 laps in total.
“˜’The 270 kilometre course was tough and to be honest this was a completely different level of competition,’’ said Canadian team manager Kris Westwood. “˜’It’s as if the guys went from junior hockey to the NHL. It was the first elite race for all three at the world championships. We knew they wouldn’t be in contention for a medal and the question was how long they could last against such a powerful field. Today nobody had a memorable day.’’
On the sixth lap, a 40-rider pack took-off and built a two-minute lead. The Dutch team worked hard to reel the pack back in but without success. With four laps to go, it was the Italian squad that reduced the gap and put its leader Bettini in a strong position for the finish. The frenetic pace imposed by the Italians proved to be successful but drained the Canadians.
Rollin learned many lessons. “˜’I felt comfortable on the course except for one very steep climb,’’ he said. “˜’I hadn’t raced such a long distance since June so I tried to be more conservative. The reason I stopped was probably due to nutritional issues. After 200 kilometres, I started to have headaches because of a low sugar intake and dehydration. I hadn’t raced the distance in four months so I wasn’t use to eating a recuperating so much.’’