The Moment The Race Was Won: The Worlds

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Joaquim Rodriguez Florence 2013

Four ride into Florence. Joaquim Rodriguez attacks on the final bump of the day and Vincenzo Nibali chases with Alejandro Valverde and Rui Costa following. Soon they will round the final bend and Costa will take off and to close in on Rodriguez. The acceleration is enough to isolate Valverde and close the gap to Rodriguez leaving a two man sprint. This was the moment the race was won.

Firenze Florence world championships rain

The race started under heavy rain as umbrella sellers took an early lead. Then a break went which looked like the usual early move but it was to prove surprisingly enduring. The race crossed to Firenze led by the British team, in particular Mark Cavendish riding past his Italian home. It looked like they were riding to a plan but with Chris Froome out of form, as results in Canada showed, it was hard to know what it was. The Humans Invent podcast (search your podcast catcher, no direct link to episode) says it was a plan for Rio 2016, a way to test the team. Maybe but in time the entire squad would quit the race.

Forza Italia
Others had more immediate plans. Whilst the sky stayed grey the bunch turned blue as the Italians moved to the front of the bunch and accelerated. It was remarkable to see a squad trying to pressure the race at just the halfway point.

Squadra Azzurra Firenze 2013

Suddenly the bunch was blown into six groups and several riders were temporarily caught out, including Peter Sagan who’d changed his bike. Suddenly the peloton was like a sinking ship with riders abandoning for dry land. The Italians kept the pace high over the next three laps with around 75 riders left with 100km remaining.

Up ahead the break was reduced to Bartosz Husarksi and Jan Barta, a Pole and a Czech but team mates on NetApp-Endura. They kept riding. Behind Marcus Burghardt made the first real attack from the bunch, it fizzled out but was enough to drop two Italian workers.

With 50km to go there were still 50 riders left. Huzarski was now alone in pole position and chased by quartet of Wilco Kelderman, George Preidler, Voeckler-copycat Cyril Gautier and Giovanni Visconti. Visconti went on, caught Huzarski and started to tow the Pole around Florence and up over the climb to Fiesole, still senza sole.

Vincenzo Nibali crash florence worlds 2013

Nibali then crashed on the descent, a corner that had taken out others. A left-hander with white paint, he slid out but got up. He was chasing but it looked forlorn until he started getting motorpaced back to the lead and suddenly required a “sticky spanner” from the mechanic. Call it home advantage.

Round they went but without many attacks, a move by Romain Bardet was shut down. Too many riders were waiting, knowing any early moves would just waste energy; except Jan Polanc who tried, got caught and proved everyone else right. With a lap to go the bunch contained many fast riders like John Degenkolb, Peter Sagan, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Greg Van Avermaet amongst others. So it was up to the climbers to use the Fiesole climb to their advantage. Michele Scarponi was the first and he set of a chain reaction that split the group into small packets from which Joaquim Rodriguez and Vincenzo Nibali led over the top with Rigoberto Uran, Rui Costa and Joaquim Rodriguez in chase. Everyone else was out of sight.

On the descent Nibali was dropped by Rodriguez. Fear or a mechanical issue from the crash? Uran wiped out too, an ally less for Nibali in the chase to come. Either way it was a surprise but he made up for it on the climb of Via Salviati. Rodriguez led like a pirate with a knife between his teeth but Nibali was closing most the gap to Rodriguez with Valverde and Rui Costa on his wheel. Nibali kept working but what else could he do? Valverde would not work because a Spaniard was up the road and hand signals to Rui Costa proved useless too.

So the Italian kept chasing, towing the others up to Rodriguez with only a short pull from Costa. Once the junction happened Rodriguez jumped again with 2km to go.

Nibali had to give chase again, a repeat scenario until this time Rui Costa took off on the final straight and bore down on Rodriguez. The Spaniard tried to have words, as if to delay the inevitable execution by sprint but Costa took off in a big gear and leg-pressed his way to the line.

Did Valverde lose the race?
In marking Nibali he let Rui Costa go. But how hard did the Spaniard want to chase given Costa’s been his team mate at Movistar for several years? Knowing a fellow Spaniard was up the road and he’d likely land bronze medal, Valverde made a safe call. Perhaps he’d do things differently again but he’s not winning the sprints he’d take before. And besides try playing poker after a seven hour ride in the rain.

Puritodor
Meanwhile Joaquim Rodriguez finishes second. Again. He deserves praise for the attacking riding yet must feel like he’s lost yet another race, he’s finished second or third in more often in big races than he’s won. There’s a Poulidor-esque habit of losing the race right at the end, see the 2012 Giro or the 2012 Vuelta and this time he was in tears on the podium.

Nibali Show
Vincenzo Nibali is a great rider who’s palmarès doesn’t match the excitement he brings to a race, his bold moves often fail but everyone watching gets to see a show. The whole Italian team put a plan into action and it almost worked, without the crash and effort spent chasing the result could have been quite different.

The Verdict
It was was the longest race in a lifetime, at 7.25.44 we have to go back to the 1980 World Championships when Bernard Hinault won in a time of 7.32.16. Only this time the winner was not obvious until Rui Costa punched the air in celebration after the line.

A very hard race with a worthy winner but the last two laps saw a tactical ceasefire: nobody wanted to attack because they knew they could not get away, a self-perpetuating tactical shut-down. In the end the climb did its job and we got a selection, but we never saw Sagan and Cancellara. Yet if anything a mistake of the TV cameras who seemed to have limited means to film the race, we could not see how things were playing out behind.

Tactically the Italians did all they could but the Spanish had numerical superiority in the end, only to lose to a cleverer rider. Rui Costa is a fine winner, he’s won the Tour de Suisse, struck twice in the Tour de France and did everything right today. You might say he’s not the world’s best rider but he’s one of the best and certainly no accidental winner. He beat everyone on the day, including the weather.

What’s Next?
The old Giro di Lombardia, remained Il Lombardia is next Sunday and offers a revenge match on Italian soil with steeper and longer climbs to force a more obvious selection from further out. Before that there’s Milano-Torino on Wednesday with its revitalised uphill finish to the Superga basilica. We should see Rui Costa in his rainbow jersey here before he moves to Lampre-Merida for 2014.

Richie September 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

British team under pressure? JTL in trouble…just blame it on those Tuscan thunder showers and it will all blow over…lol.

The Inner Ring September 29, 2013 at 7:27 pm

That story or not the British team had nobody capable of winning today, as mentioned above Froome is not 100% anyway so I suspect the difference was how chatty some were after the race.

Tommy B September 29, 2013 at 11:16 pm

+1 Post – race comments said much without revealing anything.

BC September 30, 2013 at 9:26 am

Its not that they had nobody capable of winning – they didn’t finish one rider. Very poor showing for a nation supposedly on the crest of a cycling wave.

DrHeaton September 30, 2013 at 10:17 am

The world class Brits all came into the season with different goals.

Wiggins ended up focusing on the TT, Froome won the Tour and was never going to be going all out to win the Worlds after such a long break and the course didn’t suit any others.

Valverde was targetting the Worlds after having a poor Tour and Nibali was targeting his chance at winning the rainbow jersey on home soil.

By definition, anyone who didn’t win the Tour was going to have to go after something else so as one of the few GC guys to fulfill his aims for the season Froome was always going to be less motivated than others.

Yes it’s poor that the Brits didn’t have a rider finishing the race but given that most were working for Froome who wasn’t in great shape what did you expect?

Carn Soaks September 30, 2013 at 11:22 am

Agreed. What team finishes with a full compliment? Rarely does a team in contention finish with more than 2 or 3 riders. The rest are rooted from their support roles through-out the day. If you put your leader into the front group with a lap remaining, you’ve likely burnt your gas cylinder down to naught and can’t make it over the final climb.
Just look at Cadels’ win in 09. Gerrans’ finished around 10th and 1 other riders made it home, but only because he was there in support for the second last climb, and the team bus was back the other way, easier to ride around the course 1 more time.
The fact none finished is a disappointment, but not worth having a trial over.

channel_zero September 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

This is THE SAME Froome who dominates from February to the end of July on a course at a distance that suits him well and now suddenly lacks form? Porte too?

JTL’s blood values trip some unknown bio-passport parameters and not only is there no sanction announced, the UCI ask him nicely to please explain. JTL’s case is sufficient to show how the bio-passport is not actually an anti-doping system. It’s a sport marketing image protection system.

Stephen_M September 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm

It’ not just JTL who’s in trouble….

The timelines on the story don’t read particularly well for the GB set-up and Team SKY (if there is actually any space between the 2 entities).

channel_zero September 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Cookson was on the board of directors of Team Sky and running BC at the same time. There is no space between Sky and BC. BC’s success is if Sky is successful. It’s just like USA Cycling (owner Thom Wiesel) owning/running USPS/Discovery program.

I have no idea if there have been changes since Cookson’s election, but seems like something to look into at some point in the near future.

Marco in SoCal September 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Spectacular! Beautiful finale. Costa played it to perfection. One wonders why Valverde wasn’t the one working for Rodriguez, who was clearly the stronger of the two. Nibali is just fun to watch, a true champion.

Anonymous September 29, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Yes, a fantastic sprint to the line, with Costa’s timing right on the money! I agree that Purito is the stronger of the two Spaniards in this type of race, but Spain must have given them both equal chances to take the win (?)

Movistar put two men on the podium, but I’m stoked for Costa and Portugal. What a surprise for many, but he’s so deserving and often in the front of big races. His time finally came!

Regarding crashes and the weather: Rigoberto Uran’s crash was gnarly and so close to the finish —
I would have liked to have seen him upright and seen what he could have laid down. Kudos to Nibali for giving 150% and bridging a big gap after his crash…the guy is spent, and to finish 4th is most disappointing for him and Italia. He was the only Italian in the Top 10.

The Italians put out too much energy too early in the race, and when the end was near, their legs
were behind them. Not the best coaching plan, IMO. I think Nibali has intense pride and after the Vuelta had much to prove in his homeland, but he’s only human.

As inrng said, too bad we didn’t get to see what was happening in the final kms with Cancellara, Gilbert and Sagan, though Sagan came out ahead of the former champ and Spartacus.

Beautiful course, beautiful country, bad weather, but a fantastic race!

Tom September 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I’m another wondering what Gilbert/Sagan/Cancellara were doing in the chase group to end up 30+ seconds behind. The guys up front weren’t going that fast after cresting the Fiesole the final time: Purito was pretty much setting the pace alone most of the rest of the race, and that final kilometer looked glacial.

Poor Uran. Slipped on the white line that everyone else crossed safely.

Anonymous September 29, 2013 at 10:04 pm

“Kudos to Nibali for giving 150% and bridging a big gap after his crash”

Kudos for 75% Skoda work of this 150…………….

Tom September 29, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Almost have to wonder if the concept of national teams at Worlds isn’t an anachronism that causes too many divided loyalties? Whether the fact that Valverde/Costa were both on Movistar played a role or not, it certainly seems like it can cause riders to not work together well either due to rivalry or simple unfamiliarity.

Trade teams might make Worlds just another big classic, but maybe that would make for a better race?

LM September 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Friendship also plays a role sometimes. Sometimes, money. That’s just one aspect that makes it such a unique sport.

Jacques September 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I humbly disagree. If contested by trade teams, we wouldn’t have this debate about loyalties. It only adds to the drama.

Simon September 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Rui Costa is done with Movistar so I don’t know how the teammate thing would have played a part

Salsiccia September 29, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Good finale. I’m absolutely gutted for Purito, it would have been a great win, but congrats to Costa who was very smart as well as having the strength to be there.

Ian September 29, 2013 at 9:13 pm

How do you think the cycling world will remember Rodriquez? He can’t be far off retiring. He’s got an (almost) amazing palmares – so close to winning so many big races, both Grand Tours and Classics, but very few actual wins.

The Inner Ring September 29, 2013 at 11:11 pm

I think you define it right already, so close but so many second places, see the podium in the Tour this year, second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège etc.

The Commish September 30, 2013 at 6:33 pm

The impact of the Rainbow Jersey on one’s palmares and it’s ability to change how history will view you as a winner or loser was no more evident than on Sunday as Purito was unable to contain his tears on the podium.
I already view JRod as one of the best of his generation, great in the classics, stage races and grand tours. However, after Sunday’s second place I have become even more concerned with the growing perception of Rodriquez as a the perennial bridesmaid.
I have several points to make on this subject including our penchant to disregard many victories in favor of near misses, our inability to give credit to any rider except the singular winner and the failure of the UCI to make winning their World Tour mean anything. I might throw something up on my blog, but I would love to see Inner Ring’s take on this.
I would love to see Purito win a grand tour however, I feel his best chance to improve his palmares is by winning Monuments, namely Lomabrdia and Liege, no time better than the present hope to see him in Northern Italy next Sunday.

Ian September 30, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Exactly. He’s clearly one of the best cyclists in the world – how many people are competitive in both classics AND tours? – but history probably won’t record him that way, simply because he’s not got the wins. It’s wrong, but c’est la vie.

You’re right about the #1 World Tour Rider thing too. It comes across like a pointless award, with no significance, when clearly it isn’t.

Nick R September 30, 2013 at 9:44 pm

+1

The Commish October 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm

A UCI World Tour leader’s jersey would be pretty cool. Then we could see who was in the lead throughout the year and the commentators would spend some time talking about it.

Vanilla_Thrilla September 30, 2013 at 2:08 am

Rodriquez retire? But he’s only 34.

Based on Horner’s new benchmark he can expect to win at least 7 Vueltas from here surely…

Steppings September 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Well done to Costa, he played his last card right. Some sore legs tomorrow.

eggorama September 29, 2013 at 8:07 pm

As long Valverde didn’t win I’m happy. But was stoked on a Nibali in rainbow colors.

jkeltgv September 29, 2013 at 8:17 pm

+ 1. have been thinking al week “anyone but valverde”…..was a bit worried in the end. he should have been nailed on out of that 4

humancyclist September 29, 2013 at 8:09 pm

I think it was more about the moment the race was lost. The moment Purito turned around to give Costa the stare.

LM September 29, 2013 at 9:23 pm

the conversation, you mean.

Tom September 30, 2013 at 2:12 am

More like Purito looking back wondering where the heck was Valverde.

“The situation was perfect for Spain, because I told Alejandro to go on the wheel of whoever chased after me,” Rodriguez said after the race. “When I saw Rui Costa come across alone, I didn’t understand what had happened, but I knew I was riding for second.”

spicelab September 30, 2013 at 3:31 am

As a big Purito fan, reading that makes me so sad!

Larry T. September 30, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Dead on. Exactly what we thought while watching on TV. At that point it was Rui Costa’s race to lose. What I still don’t understand completely is “On the descent Nibali was dropped by Rodriguez.”…WTF? If Nibali had stayed with Purito, it would have been very hard for Rui Costa to catch them, assuming Purito would have worked knowing he was (again) racing for 2nd. The Italian commentators complained throughout the broadcast about the coverage they were seeing via the UCI official feed, constantly reminding us it was NOT a RAI production despite their own camera at one key place and the interviews done by DiStefano, Severini, etc. I find it hard to fault the Italian team tactics but without a medal, CT Bettini’s likely to get skewered anyway, even though they animated the race throughout, caused the final selection ditching the big faves Sagan and Cancellara, etc. Some will take small comfort knowing the new world champion will be on an Italian squad next season.

Nero September 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Nice read and great photos, where do they come from?

The Inner Ring September 29, 2013 at 11:12 pm

I have an account with a photo agency. If anyone wants they can buy images, see http://corvos.smugmug.com/

Peter September 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm

I’m curious what would have happened if Rodriguez hadn’t attacked with 2km to go (or actually Valverde left a gap), but if he had stayed with the group and lead out the print for Valverde.

The Inner Ring September 29, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Interesting. In the past Valverde was nicknamed “el imbatible” or “The Unbeatable” because he’d always win sprints from a small group. But that’s not the case these days, it’s been a long time since he’s won something (February in the Ruta Del Sol)

Peter September 30, 2013 at 9:18 pm

I guess then that he feared Rui Costa (even on his worst day Valverde would beat Nibali I think), which makes it all the more interesting that he let him go…

Simon September 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm

A lot of people are giving Valverde a hard time today but I agree that Purito’s last attack at 2k to go maybe wasn’t the best idea. That little rise was so small, he was never gonna get more than 5 seconds out of it. Valverde is known for his fast finish and he had a teammate to lead him out so maybe the spaniards should have waited for a 4-man sprint at this point. But at the end of such a hard race, who knows what’s going on in these guys’ head…

Chris September 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

My heart sank when I saw Urán crash, though I’m glad he’s ok and got up and finished the race. It would have been much worse had he hitthe pavement instead of the dirt.

I can’t help but think what if with him. Up to that point, Urán and the Colombian team had ridden a tactically sound race. He was definitely fresher than Nibali and had a decent chance at a podium spot. Big bummer.

Hats off to Costa, Rodríguez and Nibali.

JimW September 30, 2013 at 4:25 am

+1
Big things from Colombia in the future.

ChrisO September 30, 2013 at 7:30 am

It would have been interesting to see if he had learned the lesson of the Olympics, but somehow I think Costa would still have won.

Bundle September 29, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Makes no sense whatsoever to suggest Valverde let Rui Costa go because he also belongs to Movistar. Valverde himself pulled aside to create the gap that led to Rodriguez’s last break, a launch that was indeed Valverde’s suggestion, as Purito has confirmed. Valverde simply made, once again, the wrong choice. He’s just that dumb. Loyal and dumb.

Anonymous September 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Bundle: Ever consider that maybe this decision was made because Rodriguez had his legs and Valverde didn’t think he could maintain the pace? I’m not a Valverde fan, but his racing demonstrates that he’s not “dumb,” except for his shady past with doping.

Purito is quite often up front in big races. He’s a huge asset to any team just for his consistent skills, his ability to attack and often stay away, though he does have a string of second places. He animates races because he has prowess and confidence, but he also has the legs.

I’m just happy that Costa had his day!

Martijn September 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm

It was still stupid, because if Valverde had let Rodriguez set the pace, so that neither Rui Costa nor Nibali could have attacked, Valverde would have surely won in the sprint.

Bundle September 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm

When I say the wrong choice, I mean not chasing Rui Costa when he attacked. He was so into exhausting Nibali that he expected the Italian to try and bridge the gap, not seeing that Nibali was already cooked.

maximflyer September 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I really enjoyed todays race.
I was wandering why nobody wanted to jump in the penultimate lap, p.e. I waited for a long range Cancellara move which never happened. But from the sofa is hard to imagine how much the remaining riders in peloton suffered just to be there.
Anyway it was a thrilling last lap. I didn’t miss the pictures of Cancellara, Sagan and co. failing to bridge across, what I found annoying were the heli shots when trees were blocking the view, especially when there were motos available. I was really missing on-screen info.
I really feel sorry for Purito, he is one of the world’s best but almost seems a perennial second. On the other hand I think Rui Costa is a worthy World Champion. He had a perfect race today, and I also liked his wins this year in the TdF. I hope Purito will ‘take revenge’ at Il Lombardia.

Othersteve September 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Is it just me, but please others chime in!

Since it was a WC road race. I have a bit of a nationalistic tic to get off my chest so bear with me!

I can only speak as an American. But please if you are chosen to race a “world championship road race” for your country finish the race! Don’t abandon the race! I see most of the European countries well represented in the last 50K of the race but no other American other then Stetina, and Howe…

Were are the highly paid pro-Americans that were sent via $$ from USA Cycling?
These quitters, seem to me to very selfish. If conditions were to they’re liking they may finish in the top 10-15 which most definitely benefits their professional careers. Yet it seems its too long, and wet. They should have declined weeks ago. Yet I guess they would of preferred to race yesterday with the women?
(Please i mean no disrespect to the women)

Shame on the US selecting committee for not choosing more enthusiastic and appreciate representatives for the US

Am I off base here?

It was a great race and thanks for the wonderful recap as always

I’m out…

Tom September 29, 2013 at 9:22 pm

I think as is the case in most single-day races, that riders have a job to do, and once they do it it’s up to them as to whether to finish the race. If they are workers, or leaders who have lost any real chance to win or podium, then there is only downside, i.e. potential crash and injury, for each extra kilometer that they ride.

Sean YD September 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Othersteve:

American Tejay van Garderen crashed on the first lap of the circuit, but made an effort to get back in the race with the help of teammate Taylor Phinney, according to a press release from USA Cycling. Eventually, both withdrew when they could not make contact with the main field:

“We got on to the circuit and both Horner and Tejay crashed within 100 meters of each other,” said Phinney. “I sat on the side of the road and waited for Tejay to compose himself. We chased for a bit but when you have to sit on the side of the road for that long, we really never were able to make it up. I would have liked to have been able to continue but Tejay and I stick together and I was there to help him.”

Anonymous September 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Othersteve: Here’s some perspective as a fellow American, and you are “off base.”

– Great Britain: the entire team DNF — all 8 riders DNF, and notice the big names on that team
– Italy (home nation): 5 of 9 DNF
– Switzerland: 6 of 9 DNF
– Australia: Simon Clarke was the ONLY finisher (even rugged Cadel Evans abandoned)
– Spain: 5 of 9 DNF, including Contador
– Netherlands: 6 of 9 DNF
– Slovakia: 5 of 6 DNF (Peter Sagan was the ONLY finisher in 6th place)

Feel better now?

As Tom said, the down side in a long, wet race like this one is risking injury to valuable riders.
The domestiques do their jobs and then drop off. When the body is spent in such a long race, injury is often inevitable if one continues in conditions like these.

Teams want to begin 2014 with healthy riders.

The Inner Ring September 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm

It was a hard race and once a rider was distanced it was almost impossible to get back on.

Tom September 30, 2013 at 2:13 am

… without the help of a ‘sticky’ spanner.

Sidamo September 30, 2013 at 2:28 am

The numbers don’t tell the story.

The GB team were hopeless and basically abandoned. Cav did his job; ride the front until the hilly laps started, Thomas and Stannard tried to stay with the Italians but had no hope. Wiggo was a disgrace.

The Aussies crashed out, with someone doing down in front of Cadel, taking out him, Tanner and Matthews. Left the race via ambulance, but nothing broken in the end. The same happened to many other riders.

If you missed the first 4 hours of racing (as many did since TV coverage often started with 5 laps to go), the Italians smashed everyone on the first three laps, basically reducing the peloton to 75 riders. That was the cause of all the crashes and lots of the withdrawals but most people wouldn’t have seen any of that.

Rocket September 30, 2013 at 1:36 am

Othersteve, I am with you. This is different than other single day races in that you are representing your country, not your pro team. I didn’t expect an American to win the race, but I believe riders should make every effort possible to finish the race.

If you are more concerned about staying healthy for next season, or are tired from too many days of racing stay home. It should be an honor to ride for your country, act like it!

Othersteve September 30, 2013 at 2:17 am

Thanks Rocket and comments by all.

Injuries, and next year aside the American disappointed compared to the Italians, Spanish, Dane’s and Belgium’s effort.

Send a complement that will ride to at least get up and finish.

crimson_planet October 1, 2013 at 4:32 am

I’d rather have a rider who did everything they could while in contention, not one who saves something for finishing the race as a minor point of pride.

Nick Evans October 1, 2013 at 5:17 pm

It’s also different from other single day races in that you keep going past the finish line over and over again, so have plenty of opportunities to drop out if you’ve no chance of winning. It’s not like a point-to-point classic where you need to reach the finish line just to get to the team bus!

Darren September 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I am reminded of 2012 when Freire was angry with Valverde for dumping him on the decisive final km’s when the agreement was that he should have worked for Freire!

Can’t help thinking that he let Purito go on the attack so that Purito would tire, allowing Valverde a better chance of getting on the podium/winning! Again, Valverde seems to have sacrificed a team mate for his his own ambitions! He certainly showed no sympathy for Rodriguez!

Respect to Rui Costa!

Bundle September 29, 2013 at 10:24 pm

I think Valverde really wanted Purito to win, and was thinking in team terms. He just failed to mark Rui Costa.

Evanstonian September 30, 2013 at 5:23 am

In the post race interview, Purito stated that he saw Nibali, after 2 crashes, hesitate in the descent, so he decided to attack in the last one. Valverde said that, when Purito attacked, Nibali started to respond but then sat up and, because it was on a curve in the descent, he could not pass him. And then, after 270km, he simply did not have the legs.

Darren September 30, 2013 at 10:29 pm

According to an article in cyclingnews.com the agreement between the two Spaniards was that if anyone chased after Purito Valverde was supposed to chase them down: “The situation was perfect for Spain, because I told Alejandro to go on the wheel of whoever chased after me,” Rodriguez said, his voice still raw. “When I saw Rui Costa come across alone, I didn’t understand what had happened, but I knew I was riding for second.”

No wonder Valverde was stone-faced on the podium!

Darren September 30, 2013 at 10:46 pm
Him Up North September 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm

And now Rui Costa doesn’t have to wear the hideous pink of Lampre in 2014. Except in time trials. ;-)

The Inner Ring September 29, 2013 at 11:15 pm

He’s only signed for a year with them, I hope the deal had a win bonus for the world’s too.

He’s good but will now race with a giant target on his back for 2014. And pink shorts.

Him Up North September 30, 2013 at 12:21 am

Someone on twitter has pointed out he’s Portuguese TT champion so he gets to wear the Portuguese skin suit in TTs. How spawny. :)

Erik September 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Another reason for high number of abandons is, ironically, the same that makes this race, almost unique: it’s repeated, cicuitous route. Having the opportunity of a nice cup of tea and a dry towel flash past every 16km or so doesn’t do much for the motivation to finish the whole race now, does it?

Simon September 29, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Last race of the season for some so a nice meal and a few bottles of wine may have softened up their ambition to finish

STB September 29, 2013 at 11:22 pm

And Great Britain were there to make the teas and hand out the towels.

But GB did win the intermediate sprint team prize at 100km! The worst team tactics ever. :-(

Anonymous September 30, 2013 at 12:18 am

Not impressed with GB an embarrassing shambles blamed on the weather. Capatain Mainwaring would turn in his grave.

Martin W September 30, 2013 at 12:31 am

Did anyone else think Rodriguez saw the wrong finish line? There was a wide, white advert just before the finish and he seemed to throw the bike at it – stopped pedalling too. No wonder he was devastated if so.

Paul Gorman September 30, 2013 at 10:56 am

I saw that too. They were neck and neck at that point, but as soon as he stopped pedalling it was over.

I doubt he’d ever admit it if it was the truth, though: would be a bit embarrassing.

scott September 30, 2013 at 5:33 pm

GoGo on Universal Sports said Purito sprinted for the wrong line….you can see the bike throw. He knows he could have won if he went for the correct line, hence the tears on the podium.

The Inner Ring September 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm

There’s the throw but he still came up short. Here’s a blurry screengrab:

Clearer video on Youtube. Note Rui Costa’s sprinting too, he’s leg pressing in a big gear, all his usual smoothness has gone.

Martin W September 30, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Thanks – was looking for a screengrab. But that’s *not* the finish line: here’s another screengrab (embedding may not work I guess? Pause at 09 minutes 08 secs if not)

The Inner Ring September 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm

That’s the point, he might have thought he was sprinting for the white line there as it came 5 metres before the real finish line which is just out of the shot. You can see him lunge for this marking but it could have been fatigue too.

Martin W September 30, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Yes, that’s my point too :-) We are agreeing violently.

James October 1, 2013 at 9:38 am

When I first watched the race I thought it was fatigue and he just pulled up after realizing he didn’t have it and wasn’t making up ground on Costa. But, watching it a few times over, it seems he was making up some ground (though perhaps fading at the end) . Also, when riders just don’t have it, they don’t lunge (at least I don’t think so).

I haven’t heard from any comment by Rodriguez on this but would be interested to know what he has to say, if anything, about the finish line deal. I have not seen any footage from above, so I can’t say how close they were exactly, but Rodriguez was clearly making up ground on Costa after he came out from behind him (wisely not waiting too late or swerving more to the side, but going right for the line). Point is- maybe Rodriguez could have caught him if he knew there was a bit more real estate. Probably not, but if I were Rodriguez I wouldn’t even want to think about it.

Larry T. September 30, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I’m not buying that one – it was Rui Costa’s race to lose as soon as he caught Purito – game over as long as the Green Bullet didn’t catch them up. Purito’s tears were those of a guy who saw his last, best chance for the rainbow jersey snatched away at the last minute..he did everything he could to maximize his chances given the route, competitors and his particular talents and came up short.

Larrick September 30, 2013 at 2:05 am

I wonder what others make of the conversation with a few hundred metres to go? When I defend cycling to friends who know nothing about the sport except the drug stories, part of it is about the winning is everything maxim and that there are teams and individuals like that in all sports. In other words, if you have a win at all costs attitude it’s easier to excuse yourself from breaking rules. A couple of those friends were watching with me last night, (free beer was the inducement) and I really wanted them to see the beauty of the sport and they certainly got that in spades but when Purito had his chat, I had to admit that I thought that as he was a win at all costs type, and agreed that he was prossibly offering an inducement for Rui to lose. When he said afterwards, “winning is all that matters so this medal doesn’t mean anything to me now,” I wondered even more what was said.

Any thoughts?

ChrisO September 30, 2013 at 7:38 am

Allegedly he was trying to get Costa to come around, which makes sense – it was his only slim hope of winning.

If you were going to offer an inducement it would have happened earlier – those things don’t get sorted out with 300m to go.

I thought Costa would just go straight past him and was yelling at him to keep going. I think he still would have won, as I don’t think Rodriguez would have got on his wheel.

pedaldancer September 30, 2013 at 9:48 am

kind off with you, while I dont think that JRod tried to buy his gold (in hindsight only, at the first moment this came to my mind too) I had to think of the Vino/Kolobnev incident at Liege/Bastogne/Liege 2010, where it later was proved that Vino paid Kolobnev for the win.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/emails-between-vinokourov-and-kolobnev-published

The fact that none of the two has never been accused/tried/convicted in any kind of trial, shows its not only doping that are wrong in this sport.

Sam September 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I dont think this was the case at all. Purito was absolutely distraught on the podium, in floods of tears. And apparently in the press conference he wouldnt even look at Valverde, he was so angry with him. all the Spanish riders were made to work for Valverde, including Purito who must have fancied his own chances before they got anywhere near the start line, and from where he was standing he kept up his side of the bargain, but Valverde didnt – and Purito ended up losing out.

I’m as certain as one can be, that Purito lost that sprint fair and square.

Alpen September 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Purito was hoping that Costa would be so nervous of Valverde and Nibali coming back that he would not slow down enough in order to make sure that he would be behind Purito when he launched his sprint. Nothing more than that, Purito tried to bluff him that the others were coming back in order to get better position in the sprint, but it failed.

To be honest, I though Costa could’ve shot straight past and not left it up to the sprint, but he really played his hand like a cold blooded killer. Ice in his veins yesterday.

James October 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/spanish-world-championship-armada-sunk-by-rui-costa

According to Rodriguez: “I was trying to make him nervous, but it was impossible. He has too much self confidence. I tried to get him in front of me, but he was very sure of himself and he knows me too well, so it was impossible to win.”

Basically, he was trying to get him to lead it out/mess with him. Sounds he when he realized Costa was on him he knew his chances weren’t good and figured he might as well try something.

I still would like to know exactly what he said, though. “Ladies first”? “After you, good sir”? What Costa said is clear enough in the video: “Let’s get on with it.”

Anonymous September 30, 2013 at 5:12 am

Martin W.– Yes, from the forward camera shot, it looked like Purito mistook the first white line on the road for the finish line, especially from his reaction, however, from the overhead camera shot, you could see the gap between Costa who was already a half bike length ahead. Purito was already beat.

Anonymous September 30, 2013 at 11:02 am

Am I right in saying this was the first time Wiggins has ridden in support of Froome since their ‘spat’ earlier this year?

If so, I hope it’s just coincidence that Brad went out the back door on an early climb…

BC September 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Reading the comments on here, most found the GB team a disgrace. I agree. Management must also take responsibility – Froome did not have the form to be designated as leader. As for Wiggins. In my view he needs to grow up and take responsibility for his position and actions instead of acting like a spoilt child. His actions are quickly undoing all the goodwill generate in 2012.

Fred B September 30, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Also not impressed, but there is not exactly much depth to choose from for that length of race. Afterall, there were not enough scorers to put out the possible 9 man team even. It would have been nice for someone to take the trouble to get round though.

Fred B September 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Consider also that British Cycling is trying to increase ‘normal’ cycling also and has benefitted from all the publicity that tremendous results have brought and that these World Championships was one of few events shown on the BBC where exposure will far exceed Eurosport or ITV4. You could, one way or another, see coverage right from the start (useful you might say to see the British team!) but by the time it hit the normal TV channel (post internet and red-button TV) there were no Brits left to see. What happened to “it’s the taking part that counts” element? The race slowed and came back together after about three laps so it rather looks like rather too many were just waiting to quit, moreso with the bad weather, rather than persist until then. There was clearly no Plan B and Froome and Ellingworth have more or less said it was disgraceful.

What about each team having a designated finisher or two to show there nations there is something to be interested in.

Roberj4 September 30, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I agree and the sun appeared with three laps to go! Shame JTL (Sky) is caught up with a blood passport issue he rode so well in 2012 Worlds RR. If I was riding (GB) try and finish.

thetobyjug September 30, 2013 at 12:49 pm

I was surprised that the team had announced Froome as the leader, as I thought it felt more like a classics route that could have suited Stannard or Thomas? That said, the first 4 across the line would suggest that it was a race more for your typical climber/GC contender than it was for a classics specialist (although this could be down to the tactics deployed, as no-one was willing/able to make a break with 30-40km to go).

Geraint Thomas’ comments afterwards along the lines of it “not being the right weather for Brad” don’t paint Wiggins in too favourable a light at all in terms of his willingness to work for someone else.

hoh October 1, 2013 at 2:50 am

Wiggo did work for Cav in 2011. Though I doubt if he’d ever actually “work” for Froome.

Anonymous September 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Most comments across the media outlets seemed to be of the opinion that ” Team GB” were a disgrace. As for Bradley supporting Froome, ha ha ha that was NEVER going to happen. I don’t know why Cav bothered riding on the front, he may as well have sat on the back with Sir Wiggo where they could have a laugh at Froome. I wonder if they got a skin full last night! priorities and all that.

Anonymous September 30, 2013 at 12:28 pm

What the f*** are you talking about? Spoilt child?

Anonymous September 30, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Now now, pick your dummy up.

Mike September 30, 2013 at 7:43 pm

The impression I’d got was not of Wiggins sulking that he’s not number1, it’s that he freaks out when it comes to descend on wet Italian roads.

Maybe it’s time for him to stick to the indoors if he can’t handle rainy roads any more.

Luvlysmiler September 30, 2013 at 12:57 pm

The, rather splendid, Humans Invent podcast is hosted on Audioboo. Its worth adding to your podcatcher anyway but the show links below.
http://audioboo.fm/channel/humansinventcycling
and the direct link to the episode mentioned in this post is:
http://audioboo.fm/boos/1629488-2013-world-championship-part-2.mp3

Ozgur Nevres September 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm

A small correction, “see the 2011 Giro or the 2012 Vuelta” -> it should be 2012 Giro

The Inner Ring September 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thanks, fixed.

steve marks September 30, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I really am not impressed by team GB and the failure of anyone to finish the race or even get close to finishing it.

One thing in particular really grates.

Froome said in post race interview that he sat up, saw that he had no team mates and decided that was it for him. But, who won? a Portuguese, with how many team mates? Earlier comments pointed out that it was a GC friendly route and having identified that, with all the other teams in the race, why did Cavs and Luke Rowe need to pull the peleton for the first 100km, which also makes no sense whatsoever. If we knew that Froome had no form, and was never going to compete why drive the peleton? Too many unanswered questions for my liking.

noel October 1, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I’d like everyone to get off GB’s back (particularly everyone in GB!)
The recent (very recent) familiarity with success has bred sky (!) high and rather unrealistic expectations. Has no-one being paying attention to Sky’s struggles in the one day classics – they have other goals. And poor old Wiggo shapes the last 6 months around a 1hr time trial, comes away with a silver, and then gets a caning for turning up to the road race because we have no-one else (we could only fill 8 of our 9 spots anyway), taking the sensible decision to not tow the rest of the peleton for the first meaningless 100k (what was Cav wasting his time doing that for?) and then pulling out after he got caught up in a crash and dropped (like 3/4 of the field). Thomas had a broken pelvis recently (everyone forgotten that too?), Stannard’s had a looong season already and Froome just didn’t have the legs on the day.
I’m sorry folks, but this race was secondary to other stuff this year (unlike Cav’s win, when the opportunity was spotted and planned for way in advance).

Fred B October 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

We only qualified for eight slots as we do not have nine riders with World Tour points (not that the competitors need be those riders). A different mindset could have been applied given the unusual opportunity of exposure on the BBC and to be riders for the national team, not those of a normal professional race. OK there were not the rider resources for much of a plan B but things did come back together after about three laps for those who stuck with it. At one stage (after the Australians crashed?) the Spaniards were not in the front group and chased back on. Simon Clarke reverted to a different role when his teammates crashed out and showed well, that sort of thing is all we are asking for.

Vitus October 3, 2013 at 12:33 am

“things did come back together after about three laps”
Nothing came *together* after three laps. Only the remaining 75 riders (out of 207!) find together after the absolute carnage Italy and the weather had done to the peloton. And at this point not many Brits were left. Plain and simple. Could have been otherwise maybe if they didn’t rode the first flat 100km at the front for absolute no good reason.
But noel nailed it before. Some people on your island there should lower their expectations. And first of all people shouldn’t buy that media nonsense of British domination in cycling only cause 2 of them won a TdF and some are successful on the track .
Cycling is much more than that.

hamncheeze September 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Put me in the camp of “no deal” with Purito and Costa. My interpretation was that Purito was a little in shock when Costa arrived on his wheel WITHOUT Valverde. He then tried to play the card with Costa by saying “You lead it out, I still have Alejandro behind”. But Costa was having none of it, and as he crossed to Purito he looked back at least once to know that Valverde was not coming back.

I have to say, Costa’s conversion rate when he puts himself in with a chance to win is pretty good! His 2 Tour stages were both solid crafty wins as was his GP Montreal in 2011. He does have a “soft” doping history that unfortunately blunts my enthusiasmj towards him however.

denominator September 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I like Nibali for his fighting spirit. But the italian organizers put somewhat too much climbing into the race to enhance his chances (and those of other climbers) against classics riders. It can be seen on the results of Sagan, Gilbert and Cancellara. Thus leaving Italy out of podium seems a kinda higher justice to me. But Vincenzo will get a shot just next year in Spain, which will involve even more circuits and climbing: 3700 m. It is not surprising, the spanish Armada is full of top climbers. I think UCI should set some limits, 3000 m should be enough to make the race open.
A propos Sagan. He planned to end this season with worlds, but changed his mind a we will see him on Sunday in Lombardia. Looking forward …

The Inner Ring September 30, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Note they’ve proposed a circuit in Ponferrada but the UCI has rejected this. I don’t know what the reason is, presumably the Spanish want to make a “Contador course” to suit local interests, as is there privilege for hosting the race.

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