Boonen rises again to claim world title

Already the winner of the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and a couple of Tour stages, Tom Boonen ha

Already the winner of the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and a couple of Tour stages, Tom Boonen ha
PIC BY PETER COSSINS MADRID - The Belgian press may not have been overly impressed with the look of Tom Boonen coming into these championships, but once again this season the young Quick Step rider has shown that he is extremely capable of rising to the occasion when he took the world road title in Madrid this afternoon. The 24 year old came past local favourite Alejandro Valverde in the last 200 metres to take a victory that had seemed completely unlikely less than a minute earlier. Even more unlikely was the bronze medal won by France's Anthony Geslin, who came in just behind Valverde. The race began to heat up three laps from the finish when a very dangerous break of 10 riders went clear after a long break by Crdit Agricole team-mates Dmitri Muravyev and Saul Raisin had been neutralised. Spain had three riders in the group, including team leaders Valverde and Miguel Angel Perdiguero. But this pair plus team-mate Oscar Pereiro, who started the move, and Denmark's Jakob Piil, who was the first to join Pereiro, were the only four of the 10 who seemed fully committed. Italy's Paolo Bettini was also up there, but was not pulling hard when he went to the front. In his defence, Bettini's chances of victory against three Spaniards weren't great. The last trio of these 10 to be caught were the extremely aggressive and persistent Piil, Germany's Fabian Wegmann and Belgium's Philippe Gilbert. Once the Australian-led peloton had swept them up, a bunch sprint seemed a cast iron certainty. But the peloton was so lined out as it switched back and forth and up and down drags at very high speed that no team was fully in control on the front. Another flurry of attacks, once again including Bettini, came to nothing until Alexandre Vinokourov burst clear on his own. Said by his T-Mobile team to be lacking form, the Kazakh was closed down a couple of times, but went again with 4km left. Bettini and Michael Boogerd chased after him, followed by Spain's Marcos Serrano, Boogerd's Dutch team-mate Koos Moerenhout and Slovenia's Gorazd Stangelj. Knowing he would have little chance in a sprint against Boogerd and Bettini, Vinokourov kept accelerating away going through the penultimate kilometre and down to the final turn back up to the finish. But a bigger and more organised group was closing in fast on the leading six, and Bettini and co were swamped with 500 metres left. Valverde, finding a second wind after his earlier efforts, led the sprint out from 300 metres, but had no answer when Boonen opened up 200 metres from the line. After Flanders, Roubaix and two Tour de France stages (where crashes cost him his green jersey challenge), Boonen had delivered once again, and Belgium had its first world champion since Johan Museeuw in 1996. 1 Tom Boonen (Belgium) Quick Step-Innergetic 273km in 6.26.10 (42.42kph) 2 Alejandro Valverde (Spain) Illes Balears 3 Anthony Geslin (France) Bouygues Telecom 4 Marcus Ljungqvist (Sweden) Liquigas-Bianchi 5 Murilo Fischer (Brazil) Naturino 6 Jakob Piil (Denmark) CSC 7 Alexandr Kolobnev (Russia) Rabobank 8 Andreas Klier (Germany) T-Mobile 9 Julian Dean (New Zealand) Crdit Agricole 10 Martin Elmiger (Switzerland) Phonak 11 Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia) Discovery Channel 12 Steffen Wesemann (Switzerland) T-Mobile 13 Paolo Bettini (Italy) Quick Step 14 Grgory Rast (Switzerland) Phonak 15 Thomas Dekker () Rabobank 16 Constantino Zaballa (Spain) Saunier Duval 17 Koos Moerenhout (Holland) Davitamon-Lotto 18 Michael Boogerd (Holland) Rabobank 19 Laurent Brochard (France) Bouygues Telecom 20 Gorazd Stangelj (Slovenia) Lampre-Caffita 30 Robbie McEwen (Australia) Davitamon-Lotto 0.25 35 Alessandro Petacchi (Italy) Fassa Bortolo 41 Roger Hammond (Great Britain) Discovery Channel 55 David George (South Africa) Barloworld 59 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon-Lotto 72 Allan Davis (Australia) Liberty Seguros 1.12 75 Mark Scanlon (Ireland) Ag2r 2.37 78 Ryder Hesjedal (Canada) Discovery Channel 4.18 80 James Lewis Perry (South Africa) Konica 4.57 83 Michael Rogers (Australia) Quick Step 5.06 86 John Lieswyn (USA) Health Net 5.19 87 Simon Gerrans (Australia) Ag2r 5.25 88 Baden Cooke (Australia) Franaise des Jeux 94 Henk Vogels (Australia) Davitamon-Lotto 6.01 101 Mathew Hayman (Australia) Rabobank 103 Ryan Cox (South Africa) Barloworld 104 Ian McLeod (South Africa) Franaise des Jeux 112 Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) Crdit Agricole
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