World Championships Week - Vos, Costa, Cookson Winners
Is cycling going to get the leadership it deserves?
There was a great week of racing - but not all the excitement took place on the roads of Florence.
As expected, Marianne Vos continued her dominance on anything with two wheels. A champion in cyclocross, track, and the road, Vos is truly one of the greatest cyclists ever. Of that there can be no argument.
Vos still had teammates with her in the closing kilometers and we all knew what was going to happen on the last lap - a strong attack on the final ascent that no one could stay with. Once she had the gap, Vos put her head down and time trialed to victory.
While the women raced under sunny skies, the men faced, at times, torrential downpours. As expected in these conditions crashes and near misses became frequent. An underdog favorite Cadel Evans crashed out as did Chris Horner. The entire British team didn’t finish and their national coach called it “a big disappointment.” Who could blame him when you had Bradley Wiggins, who was showing some form, and Chris Froome, who had stayed longer in Colorado after the USA Pro Challenge for altitude training.
At the end of the day that’s why it’s a sport, you just can’t be certain what can happen. The weather conditions can change, crashes happen, a case of “bad legs,” etc. In the end the men’s race still had a worthy winner in Portugal’s Rui Costa. Out manned in the final kilometers, Costa played it smart and let the Spanish riders of Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde do the heavy lifting - chasing back Italian Vincenzo Nibali. Costa could sit back and wait for his moment to strike.
While both Italy and Spain came into the world championships as favorites they were both denied. Sure Spain saved face with a silver and bronze, but in the world of professional cycling standing on the top step is all that matters. Mark Cavendish won the 2012 road worlds, but do you know, right now, who was second and third? That’s a little harder to remember.
After watching both the men’s and women’s races I can honestly say both were exciting. The last lap in the women’s race was filled with attacks. While we knew that Vos was going to attack, none of her competitors laid down arms and instead attacked and attacked. The men’s race was held under epic conditions that no one who raced on those Florence roads will soon forget. Like the women’s race, there were numerous attacks in the last laps and we had a nail biter of a finish - would Nibali stay away, was Costa going to catch Rodriguez and then outsprint him? Great drama!
While the weekend was saved for the marquee events of the world championships, another as equally important event had taken place Friday. Held in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, the UCI Congress was sitting down to elect their next president. This was but one of the agenda items that day, but the most important.
For many, professional cycling had been compared to