World Championships 2003
23 Oct 2003
Many cycling fans were disappointed by the recent World Championships in Hamilton.
It looked like a pretty tough course, with 4000 meters of altitude change, but in the end it proved to be less of a challenge than expected.
The 2 inclines per lap turned out to be little more than 1 km in distance and only took 3 to 4 minutes to climb. Roads were always straight and wide. Riders hit the climbs in big groups, and finished pretty much together. First and last were only separated by about 30-40 seconds at the summits.
This meant that riders in the middle of the pack were able to conserve energy. The long descents favored those trying to regain positions.
Strong headwinds complicated things, making it very tough for lead riders and rendering breakaways pretty much impossible.
Jeannie Longo put on a remarkable display in the Women’s Elite race. She held off the pack for the final 20 km, managing to maintain a few seconds’ lead until Zabelinka’s final attack denied the French rider the world title she clearly deserved.
Hands low on her narrow handlebars, a very forward saddle position, technically perfect in every detail, Longo proved once again that she’s an outstanding and unique cycling treasure.