Another road world championship race. It feels like the end of the year is creeping up on us. Here, it comes with a very positive note because the new world champion is an Australian. Without going into a patriotic mode, simply because I can not, the significant fact here is: Mr Cadel Evans is the 2009 Road World Champion.
Now, that was a surprise. Best known for his second places on the TdF and a series of freak incidents during races, post race interviews and love for his wife and dog, Cadel did what very few expected him to do, last Sunday.
Sure, it was in his training grounds. Sure, he was due for a big win. And sure, he is a bloody good pro cyclist and climber. But, attacking on the bottom of the climb like he did is so un-Cadel... I am glad he did though as it is the kind of win I like to watch.
It was a great race which I will watch again, and again. For now, I will keep replaying these two videos. The first one highlights Fabian Cancellara's determination to get the double in the championship (he won gold in the ITT). To see him driving on the flats and downhills was one thing (that's his specialty) but seeing him breaking up the bunch on the climbs was something else.
At the time, I wasn't sure where Cadel or Simon Gerrans were. So, backing the Swiss became instinctive. He was fighting hard for that second medal. It was heart breaking to see him missing out... I thought he deserved the win!
But predictably, it wasn't to be. As in most races, even at my Nundah Racer level, those forms of strategy rarely pay off. What Cancellara did was drag a bunch of guys closer to the finish. And Cadel was one of them, rested enough to be able to follow wheels, smart enough to bridge across the Kolobnev/Rodriguez duet and extremely strong on the last climb. Brilliant!!!
Cadel Evans salute
A lot of those high profile sportsmen, not so much the women, are fairly religious. It is common to see riders kissing crucifixes when crossing the line, or raising their arms to salute some entity in the skies, or heaven.
Cadel seems to be fairly religious himself and, judging by the photographs of his victory salute in Mendrisio, he has some pontifical aspirations. I am not sure if there are any hills around the Vatican so it might be something for the future...
Congratulations and good luck, Cadel!
BTW, all you need to know about salutes here.