On the descent and run into the finish, the three built up a maximum 15-second lead on Rogers and Kolobnev who worked feverishly together as they slowly cut the gap down to 6 seconds. However, it still looked like the three up front were in control of the podium spots. Then out of nowhere, world time-trialer champion, Milan-San Remo winner and feared diesel engine, Fabian Cancellara, bridged up. Rogers and Kolobnev then hopped on Cancellara's back and with 1k to go it became quickly apparent we would have a 6 man uphill finish after 6+ hours and 245k of hot, humid, smoggy racing. As you can see from the stills below, Samuel Sanchez got it done for Spain at the line. A fabulous race worthy of the Olympics. Interesting to see Colombia's Santiago Botero lead in the next group for 7th with Canadian Michael Barry finishing a very strong 9th. Levi Leipheimer crossed 11th as the top U.S. finisher.
You could cut the drama filled road race finish (and the smog) with a knife. Credit for a great finish always goes to the course designers and the riders. So kudos allround for a fabulous race. (Side note: I had the opening ceremony on again in the background while I was writing this brief report. I'm still mesmerized by the spectacle the Chinese put on to kick these games off. That and the wee-hour is my excuse for the slightly delayed report. Now you can watch the delayed road race broadcast if you missed the live internet coverage. In fact, I think everyone will watch this race (again). — Steve