The 112k Men’s 35-39 road race took off late Sunday under much cooler and calmer conditions than the Saturday sufferfests we reported upon in a previous post. The race had a similar route to the 96k course with a small addition added at the top of the lollipop. Just after the 35k mark near Wartburg, an early two-rider breakaway had established a gap of over three minutes. Alarm bells went off in the peloton and a relatively organized chase ensued over the next 60k, led by time trial medalists James Mattis, Jone Ellingsen (Norway), and Igor Kopse (Slovenia). A diminished group caught the leaders just at the base of the final climb of the race. On this ramp a South African rider made a series of attacks which were covered primarily by Mattis. Cresting the hill and beginning the final descent into Pietermaritzburg, Kopse managed to establish a small gap. Making the most of the 56 tooth TT ring installed on his bike, he held, and began to expand, his gap from solo chaser Ellingsen and then a small Mattis led group.
The race sped to the line in this formation, and Kopse had ample opportunity to plan and execute his well-deserved victory salute. That is where things went embarrassingly wrong for the powerful Slovenian, who found himself on the ground, dazed, with a broken machine (http://youtu.be/PGBQ4G8VQpA). Luckily, Kopse had already kicked enough butt that he had time to pick his own up off the pavement and Flintstone his way across the line and claim his Rainbow Jersey. Ellingsen rolled across for Silver, and Mattis won a small bunch kick for Bronze.
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