The clock says it took Mark Cavendish five hours and forty minutes to win the World Championship Road Race in Copenhagen. The British sprinter will tell you it took far longer than that.
“We knew three years ago when this course was announced, that it could be good for us. We put a plan together to come with the best group of guys to this race and to come away from it with the rainbow jersey,” said Cavendish. “It’s been three years in the making.”
We can’t say how long Italian coach Paolo Bettini was race planning for Copenhagen. Probably not three years. Hard to say what kind of time the Australians put in but Matthew Goss was strong enough for second. Everybody else will have a year to evaluate whether some extra planning time would have been a benefit.
The British team rode a dominant and masterful race, controlling the action for almost the entire 260 kilometers. Bradley Wiggins and David Millar killed every break and Ian Stannard put in a massive ride to bring Cavendish forward.
Yet despite the three years of planning it still took a brilliant ride by Cavendish to pick his way through high speed traffic and find the smallest of gaps on the ride hand-side barrier. The last 150 meters were signature Cav — an explosive acceleration that reveals all pretenders.
“We had eight of the best guys in the world, and this is the first time we’ve come together. They were incredible. They took the race on from start to finish and we won. I can’t believe it,” said the Boy Racer.
Germany’s Andre Greipel barely edged Fabian Cancellara for third place and everyone else if off the podium and wondering what exactly went wrong. There will plenty of heated discussions and one killer party in Copenhagen tonight. As Wiggins tweeted: “I think its safe to say tonight we are all going to get shitfaced! Lock and load.”
The 2015 World Championship Road Race will be held in Richmond, Virginia. That’s over three years for Team USA and Tyler Farrar to make plans. Cavendish would tell them — now is a god time to start.