September 24, 2012 (Valkenburg, NED) – Slovenia’s Matel Mohoric, took home the gold, attacking after the final ascent of the Cauberg on the last lap on Sunday, with a strong pull that no one could match. Australia’s Caleb Ewan won the bunch sprint for the silver while Josip Rumac (Croatia) scored the bronze.
Cool wet conditions greeted the riders for the 128.8km 8-lap race as all early attempts to escape were shut down quickly by the peloton with the French and Belgian teams trading front duties while the Italian and Australian squads also did their best to be class A members at controlling the race’s pace.
The favoured French team leaders, Thomas Boudat Elie Gesbert and Quentin Jauregui, kept to the front while the Dutch duo of Lennard Hofstede and Merijn Korevaar ensured they wouldn’t escape hoping for more of the same mojo, rubbing off the crowd, from the previous day’s world-class spanking delivered by Marianne Vos (Ned) in the Elite women’s race.
On the penultimate lap the Ukraine’s Ryan Felgate and Latvia’s Peteris Jeneivic kept it exciting with an attack that gave them a 30-second lead. Another Ukrainian rider tried to bridge in vain as it all came together for the final lap. Any further attempts to escape were unsuccessful until Mohoric’s perfectly timed move following the group’s final ascent of the Cauberg.
As the others scrambled to respond the Slovenian put the hammer down and made good on his final attack to claim the title and the rainbow jersey.
Canadian Benjamin Perry road strong coming in with the main group in 37th while teammate Nigel Ellsay was in 83rd place at 25 seconds behind the victor. Reigning Canadian Junior road race champ, Christopher Prendergast, got caught up in a crash and survived but did not finish.
“I smelled more brake pads today than I ever did in all my races put together,” said Prendergast after being embedded in the carnage. “It was insanity back there as everyone was taking risks to get up front.”
Full results and more photos HERE.
Gilbert Scores Dramatic Victory on Cauberg for Rainbow jersey
It was a day of redemption for Belgian star Philippe Gilbert who powered to victory on the final climb up the Cauberg with an attack that was perfectly timed leaving all rivals in his wake as he won the 2012 Road World Championships on Sunday in Valkenburg, Holland.
Claiming the silver was Edvald Boasson Hagan (Norway) while Alejandro Valverde (Spain) took the final spot with John Degenkolb (Germany) a strong 4th and Lars Boom (Netherlands) 5th. Defending champ Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) abandoned on lap 3 admitting that the course did not suit him and he’d be working for his team.
Cavendish knew that his job today was to sit up front in the peloton, drive the pace for well over 40km in front with gritted teeth, “That was my job today and I’m happy to have done it for my teammates that has put itself out for me all year,” said the defending champ.
It was not a great day for the Canadian team as the top finisher was David Veilleux in 83rd. Ryder Hesjedal and Frank Parisien were caught behind a big crash in the peloton late in the race ending up 108th and 110 respectively while Svein Tuft abandoned early mid-race.
Cool and dry conditions with overcast skies and a chance of rain met riders for the 267km contest that began with a 105km loop around Limberg prior to hitting the Cauberg course for 10 grueling laps before declaring the winner. Eleven riders escaped gaining over 5 min by the time they hit the circuits but the gap began to come down as the pace picked up and the attacks began.
A small chase group formed lead by Juan Antonio Felcha (Esp) and Steve Cummings (Great Britain) but then Alberto Contador Velasco (Spain) began applying pressure on the Bemelerberg and Cauberg climbs forcing all teams to react. On the 5th lap raindrops threatened but somehow were kept at bay as Contador lead another assault that caught the lead chase group now 25-strong.
Over the next two laps the leaders were finally caught by the chasers with the peloton bearing down on them. Then an untimely massive crash in the pack on lap 7 changed the race for many splitting the main group, but it did not affect any of the top riders. The shattered peloton regrouped with the Belgian and Dutch teams working hard to reel in the lead break that had shed more riders and was down to 17.
With two to go it was groupo compacto as all attacks were shut down until the final time up the Cauberg with Italy, Belgium and Spain looking strong as they set up for the kill. Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali took the reins and attacked but Gilbert and a teammate were right on his wheel.
Echoing almost to the meter where the previous day’s elite women’s champion Marianne Vos (Netherlands) launched her winning move, Gilbert countered on steepest part of the Cauberg passing Nibali on the outside and no one was able to answer. He quickly gained 30 meters before he hit the false flat on top and knew he was home free.
Gilbert, who had a tough start this year following his incredible season last year, claimed the Elite Men’s rainbow jersey, one of the most coveted prizes in the sport silencing all critics.
Gilbert, who knows the course well explained, “The Bemelerberg has the false flats where it’s hard to see ahead of you, and it has some areas where you can’t see those ahead, so it’s easy to lose a rider in an attack. But the Cauberg has better visibility and a longer straight and I knew I had to attack right then or lose the race.”
Full results and more photos HERE.