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Irish riders solid as Cavendish sprints to rainbow jersey

Posted 25 September 2011

Matt Brammeier at 36th was the best placed of the three Irish riders who completed the 2011 World Road Race Championships in Copenhagen where Mark Cavendish became only the second ever British rider to win the rainbow jersey.

Cavendish produced a scintillating sprint to beat his HTC-Highroad teammate Matt Goss (Australia) while his former lead-out man Andre Greipel (Germany) rounded out the podium.

The Manxman was astonishing in recovering lost ground over the closing metres of the uphill drag to deliver the goods on the back of an Trojan effort from his Great Britain teammates.

Nicolas Roche was present at the head of the peloton with two kilometres to go as the fight for positions neared its pitch but was overhauled on the uphill finish where he placed 51st.

Dan Martin followed just 19 seconds later in 90th position after an earlier attempt to escape the peloton with just over three laps to go finally caught up with him.

The three Irish riders were not alone in being caught out a surprise counter-attack with as the race began the last eight of seventeen laps around the 14 kilometre long circuit.

The move of the day went clear on the first lap after a 28 kilometre ride to the circuit comprising Pablo Lastras (Spain), Christian Poos (Luxembourg), Anthony Roux (France), Maxim Iglinskiy (Kazakhstan), Oleg Chuzhda (Ukraine), Robert Kiserlovski (Croatia) and Tanel Kangert (Estonia).

Their lead of over eight minutes had fallen to 5’22” by the time Johan Van Summeren used the slopes of the finishing climb to form a chase group which included fellow Belgian Olivier Kaisen, Simon Clarke (Australia), Yoann Offredo (France) and Luca Paolini (Italy).

The two groups came together towards the end of lap twelve which was also marked by a crash that split the peloton and put an end to the ambitions of defending champion Thor Hushovd while also diminishing the strength of a number of teams.

All three Irish riders avoided the crash which left Hushovd and other contenders like Tony Martin (Germany) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain) almost nine minutes down by the end of the race.

Dan Martin sensed his opportunity to be part of the race winning move when a group of seven riders started to pull clear of the peloton as the gap to the leaders fell to 1’35” towards the end of lap 14.

Martin made a big contribution to their efforts to slip the leash but the tight rein exercised by the Great Britain team with support from the Germans and the Australians ensured that it was soon snuffed out.

Roux took a 14 seconds lead over his breakaway companions into the penultimate lap as the gap to the peloton fell below one minute.

The Frenchman’s long day out front came to end just 20 kilometres from the finish as his teammate Thomas Voeckler bridged to him in the company of Nicki Sorensen (Denmark) and Klass Lodewych (Belgium).

Their lead was a mere 18 seconds by the time they took the bell for the final lap as Cavendish’s Great Britain team threw everything at bringing the racing back together.

Bradley Wiggins made an enormous contribution on the front and his efforts to drive the peloton were largely responsible for the break coming to an end with just under six kilometres to the finish.

Roche looked the more comfortable of the three Irish riders at this point and moved to assert himself towards the head of the race before eventually succumbing to the dominance of the sprint teams.

Cavendish was delivered perfectly to the finishing straight and the rest was elementary despite getting momentarily caught up behind the Australian, German and Norwegian lead-out train.

“There could not have been another result after the way the guys rode today. They took the race on from start to finish and we won and I cannot believe it,” said an elated Cavendish.

Cavendish told journalists that the team believed that it could win the race when the course was announced over three years ago.

“We put a plan together to come with the best group of guys to this race and come away and bring the rainbow jersey back to Britain.

“It has been three years in the making. The guys worked so hard to collect points around the season to get eight riders here. You just saw how they rode; it was incredible,” he said.


UCI World Road Race Championships, Elite Men’s Road Race, 266kms

1.  Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) 5:40:27     
2.  Matthew Harley Goss (Australia)          
3.  André Greipel (Germany)          
4.  Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)          
5.  Jurgen Roelandts (Belgium)          
6.  Romain Feillu (France)          
7.  Borut Bozic (Slovenia)          
8.  Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)          
9.  Oscar Freire Gomez (Spain)          
10. Tyler Farrar (United States Of America)

36. Matt Brammeier (Ireland)
51. Nicolas Roche (Ireland)
90. Dan Martin (Ireland) at 19 seconds

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