Cards from Copenhagen III

Eshewing the race start in downtown Copenhagen, I went directly to the finish at Rudersdal to claim my spot on the 50m to go marker. The Danes were expecting crowds of 400,000 tall Scandinavians. I needed to be in the front row, against the barriers. I could watch the start on the nearby screen. The Championship’s website claims that the nearest train station is 10 minutes from the finish line. That would be 10 minutes as driven by Sebastian Vettell. On foot, it’s a good 20 minutes and we’ve already established I’m a quick walker. Today I took my own supplies as the choice on offer is somewhat spartan: Carlsberg or Carlsberg. Although I did buy some coffee the other day from some enterprising youngsters, pretty much the cheapest and best coffee I’ve found in pricy Copenhagen.

I arrived in Rudersdal to discover that the locals had laid out their towels the night before and my spot on the 50m marker had been colonised by some very large Danes who, at 09:30 in the morning, were already swigging Calsberg. I am however, if nothing adroit, and by the second circumnavigation of the circuit by the peloton I had claimed my rightful place. The race had been pretty lively from the start and a breakaway of 7 riders had gone clear which included Anthony “it isn’t a break if I’m not in it” Roux and three riders from Team Astana, albeit all different nationalities. The race unfolded much as expected, with the British , whom the American announcer kept calling “the English” –   I bet David Millar and Geraint Thomas loved that – controlling the peloton with assistance from firstly the Germans, and secondly the Americans.

PhilGil sent his lieutenants up the road to form a second break away group which, with 5 laps to go, joined up with the first. But the British remained tranquillo. Not so the back of the peloton, where Team New Zealand, Tony Martin and defending champ Thor Hushovd, among others, were caught up in a crash and never regained the main peloton. Meanwhile, riders were pinging off the front of the bunch, particularly the Danes, to the delight of the local crowd, only to be recaptured by the GB steam roller. Two of the escapees were, as anticipated, French favourite Tommy  Voeckler and Johnny “Scarred Legs” Hoogerland, making their trademark attacks.  But nothing and no one stood in the way of the GB train. A train PhilGil had missed.

The final escapees were brought back on the last lap, where the Brits fought for control with a number of other teams trying to set up their sprint trains, until finally mayhem ensued. Cavendish, shorn of support, picked his way through the pack on the right-hand barrier to burst free of the bunch with 150m (where else) to go, beating team mate Matt Goss by half a wheel. Ex- team mate Andre Greipel was a bike length back in 3rd ,separated from Fabulous Fabian by just a fag paper. The British had won their second gold medal in this event: the first going to the late Tommy Simpson in 1965. Bradley Wiggins was right when he said Cavendish would be unlikely to have a better chance to win gold. The course was made for his style of riding. Even so the Brits had apparently been planning this for the past 3 years. See, proves my point, planning and preparation deliver results every time.

Top 15 Results
1.   Mark Cavendish (Great Britain) Time 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 (USA)
11.  Denis Galimzyanov (Russia)
12. Peter Sagan (Slovakia)
13. Anthony Ravard (France)
14. Daniele Bennati (Italy)
15. Rui Costa (Portugal)

Here’s the medal table which clearly shows Sheree 6 – 5 Ute.

Medal table by country

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Great Britain 2 2 2 6
Australia 2 1 2 5
France 2 1 0 3
Germany 2 0 3 5
Denmark 1 1 1 3
Italy 1 0 0 1
New Zealand 0 2 0 2
Belgium 0 2 0 2
Netherlands 0 1 1 2
Switzerland 0 0 1 1

3 thoughts on “Cards from Copenhagen III

  1. A worthy winner at the end of what may just have been effectively the best team time trial ride have ever seen, capped by one of the all-time great individual time trial rides (Wiggins). The GB team were fantastic, pacing their efforts to control the race beautifully.

    There were two key moments in the final 5km for me. Firstly, with GB reduced to just Stannard, Thomas and Cav, Stannard eased off and allowed Australia to take control of the front, tucking in right behind them. A perfect tactical call. Secondly, with Cav furiously trying to move back up after the last corner Thomas dropped back to pick him up and put in a massive burst to drive him up to Goss’ wheel.

    The rest was down to Cav, who had to bolt for the gap when it opened up but was probably 30m earlier than he would have liked. Great late charge by Goss, but also great strength by Cav to keep going to the line.

    And, as always, fantastic to hear his unprompted praise for his team. As he said to the press, it’s a shame they couldn’t have a rainbow jersey for all 8 of them.

    And what about HTC’s swansong? Cav, Goss and ex-teammate on the podium, plus wins in both elite time trials for Martin and Arndt. It’s ludicrous that the team has had to fold for financial reasons. But what a way to go.

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  2. When I’m watching cycling live I tend to get caught up in the moment. I find it’s so much more difficult to be analytical and pick out key moments that’s why, if possible, I like to watch the race highlights again on the tv. Just as well I’m not a journalist.

    All the boys did a fantastic job and, while Cav wouldn’t have won without them, he had to win, it was expected, and it’s the only possible reward for the unstinting work of the rest of the team. Britain topping the medal table will give me bragging rights down at the cycling club for a few weeks.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your comments on the demise of HTC: a real shame.

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    1. I know what you mean. I’m exactly the same. Plus cycling is one of those sports which is much harder to watch and follow live. I have the luxury of sitting at home with the TV commentary and graphics, a Twitter feed and often a live online tracker. It’s much easier to be analytical when I have so much data to hand – but the downside is that I tend to be thinking and analysing more than just being in the moment. Hey-ho.

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