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Worlds Road Championships 2009, so far


A great ride from Peter Kennaugh at the Worlds Road Championships 2009 – fourth is always the worst place to finish – it’s hard enough to remember silvers and bronzes; never mind who was fourth.

But a good ride and one that bodes well for his pro career.

I spoke to him after the British Elite road champs at Abergavenny, where it looked like his race, until the closing metres. I was given a tongue lashing from him for allegedly miss- quoting him.

After the Worlds madison champs, where he crashed, I wrote that he’d said that but for his encounter with the hardwood, Cav and he would have won.

He said that he didn’t say that; he said they would have taken a medal, not won.

He didn’t miss me, but then he gave me the interview.

Worlds Road Championships 2009
Pete on the climb of The Tumble, at the British Champs.

He’s like Cav: with his forthrightness, but you need that – it’s hard to be a top pro and a shrinking violet.

At the Worlds in Salzburg a few years ago, whilst some of the GB U 23 squad hunched over their top tubes on the start line, in a “really, really wish I was somewhere else,” kind of a way, Mark Cavendish sounded off, laughed, joked and adjusted his crash hat ten times – just to make sure that everyone could see it was a T-Mobile lid, and he was riding with the big boys.

It was apparent even then that he had the force of personality that you need to reach the top.

Worlds Road Championships 2009
Cav was relaxed and chatty at the Worlds start a few years ago.

Romain Sicard was a good winner, but the man has strong palmares; in 2009 he’s won:

  • the Subida al Naranco – beating Samuel Sanchez
  • a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir
  • the GC in the Tour de l’Avenir
  • the Plateau de Beille stage of the Ronde de Isoard
Worlds Road Championships 2009
Romain Sicard.

Those are serious wins and in 2010 he won’t be riding for the Orbea team – that’s for sure. It’ll still be Basque, though – Euskaltel; still on Orbea, then!

Worlds Road Championships 2009
Régis Ovion.

For the pro talent scouts, the l’Avenir is one of the big fishing ponds – stick a rainbow jersey on your fish and it’s seriously hot property; especially at 21 years-of-age.

He’s a Basque – hence the Orbea and Euskaltel teams – his home town of Hasparren nestles in the foothills of the Pyrenees-Atlantique in the Aquitaine Region.

The last Frenchman to do the l’Avenir/Worlds double was back in “my” day. In 1971 super cool and handsome Régis Ovion did the same double, as well as two stages in the GP Tell and two stages in the l’Avenir.

As a pro, his palmares were solid, if not spectacular – the Circuit de la Sarthe; stages in the Criterium International and Dauphine, a French title, the Tour de Corse.

And, ironically, at the end of his career, another stage in the l’Avenir – “the Future.”

Worlds Road Championships 2009
Emma could have ridden her race on Saturday differently.

Emma Pooley? Very strong – but where were the tactics?

As Paul Sherwen would say; “it’s a poker game, Phil.

With Italia just down the road, the girls in blue were always going to want to be there at the death – they were the ones to watch.

Emma chucked her medal away with all that chasing – no prizes for effort at the Worlds.

I liked the U 23 medal ceremony – the Russian bronze medallist sniffed at his bouquet; “ah, still fresh, maybe I can sell these, tonight!

The podium girls had obviously been cloned, there were about ten of them, identical – tall, slim, beautiful.

It reminded me of the story that Giorgio Armani uses a colour chart to ensure that his models have identical tans – that’s what you call, “attention to detail!”

Elites tomorrow – wow!