U23: Sicard makes history for France
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

U23: Sicard makes history for France

by Agence France-Presse at 1:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
Frenchman Romain Sicard lived up to pre-race predictions by winning gold in the men's under-23 event held over 179.4km here at the world road race championships Saturday.

Colombia's Carlos Alberto Betancur beat Russian Egor Silin to the silver medal with a late burst at the line, with Silin claiming the bronze after they came over the line 28secs in arrears.

Sicard, a 21-year-old Basque who recently turned professional, handed France their first ever worlds victory in the category, which made its debut in the competition in 1996.

However his win has come as no major surprise, Sicard recently winning the prestigious under-23 stage race the Tour de l'Avenir - a 'mini Tour de France'.

After a strong race by the French team Sicard announced his intentions on the penultimate of the race's 13 laps of a difficult 13.8km circuit when he pulled away with Dutchman Michel Kreder.

Kreder eventually lagged behind early on the final lap as he and Sicard hit the steep slope of the Acquafresca climb, and from there the Frenchman went on solo for 10km over the Novazzano climb and on towards the finish line.

After their initial attack another Frenchman, Nicolas Edet, decided he wanted some of the action and went off in chase of the lead duo.Struggling to close the gap on the second climb at Novazzano, Edet was soon joined by Silin.

At the summit Britain's Peter Kennaugh came over in pursuit of the leaders only 20sec in arrears with a small bunch but the Isle of Man rider, second in the mountains classification at l'Avenir recently, was kept close in check.

Sicard and Kreder held a 30sec lead on an increasingly large chasing group at the bell signalling the final lap, but it didn't take long for the Dutchman to struggle on the Acquafresca.

In their wake Edet was marking potential threats to his team leader, however the Frenchman was caught out when Silin and Betancur pulled away, stunning Kennaugh in the process.

The Briton launched a brave attempt to join the two chasers for a chance at a podium place, but came over the finish in fourth.jd/dj09
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