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A look at Friday’s openers on the Hamilton world’s course
By John Wilcockson
After watching the five time trials at the 2003 road world’s, and witnessingthe damage done by the climbs up Hamilton’s Niagara Escarpment, everyoneis wondering what many more repetitions of those climbs will effect onthe road-race fields.The first opportunity to see what will happen on the 12.3km road-racecircuit comes on Friday, particularly in the under-23 men’s 14-lap, 172.2kmevent. Fourteen times up the 1.5km, 6-prcent Beckett Drive and 14 timesup the 2km, 5-percent Claremont Access adds up to virtually 10,000 feetof climbing.The feeling among seasoned race observers is that not many riders willbe left in contention after about 10 laps, and only a handful of the strongestmen will be left in contention at the end. That means the race will beless dependent on having a strong team than having strong legs.In the present crop of U23 riders, none stands out above the rest asdid Yaroslav Popovych in 2001.The obvious favorite Friday afternoon is Tuesday’s time-trial winnerMarcus Fothen, who took the German mountain championship this year andhas already signed a pro contract with Gerolsteiner for next year. Alsoin contention will be the Italians, who have won four of the seven worldU23 road titles. Their Giovanni Visconti won the European title in Auguston the hilly 2004 Olympics course in Athens, while his teammate EmanueleSella is also favored.Perhaps the Russians have the strongest of the five-man teams, withtheir leader likely to be world-ranked No. 2 Alexander Bazhenov. OtherEuropeans to look out for include Andreas Dietziker of Switzerland, MoisesDuenas of Spain, Sergey Lagutin of Uzbekistan, Niels Scheuneman of theNetherlands, Kristien Fajt of Slovenia and Tarmo Raudsepp of Estonia.But the European on the best form is Sweden’s Thomas Lövkvist,only 19, who finished sixth overall in last month’s Tour de l’Avenir.The Australians and Americans have the best-looking non-Euro teams,with Texan Patrick McCarty and Coloradan Michael Creed both hoping to dowell, while Aussie Rory Sutherland, who had an impressive finishing effortat Tuesday’s time trial, has the right credentials.As for the opening junior women’s race, world TT champ Bianca Knöpfleand German teammate Lisa Brändau, her national hill-climb champion,have as good a chance as anyone in their six-lap race.JUNIOR WOMEN
Date and time: Friday, October 10, start 9 a.m., finish approx.11:30 a.m.
Course: Six laps of the 12.3km RR course for a total of 73.8kmand 12 climbs to the top of the Niagara Escarpment.
History: Event first held in 1987. In recent years, this racehas revealed two outstanding champions: Canada’s Geneviève Jeanson(1999) and Britain’s Nicole Cooke (2000 and 2001), who are now the twohottest young riders in the women’s pro peloton. There has been just oneAmerican winner, Dede Demet in 1989.
Favorites: On such a hilly course, few of the 58 starters canbe expected to be together at the finish. There are no overwhelming favoriteslike Cooke and Jeanson. Instead. Look for a close battle between the Germanjunior climbing champ Lisa Brändau (and perhaps her teammate who wonthe TT, Bianca Knöpfle), Stephanie Williams of Australia, Loes Markerinkof the Netherlands (TT silver medalist), Laura Telle of Latvia, Daiva Tuslaiteof Lithuania, Sara Peeters of Belgium and Magdalene Zamolska of Poland.UNDER-23 MEN
Details: Friday, October 10, start 12 noon, finish approx. 4:45p.m.
Course: Fourteen laps of the 12.3km RR course for a total of172.2km, including 28 climbs up the Escarpment.
History: Event first held as under-23 in 1996 (previously forall ages of amateurs from 1921 to 1995). Former champions include EddyMerckx (1964), Jan Ullrich (1993), Ivan Basso (1998) and Yaroslav Popovych(2001).
Favorites: (see details above)