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Beijing Olympics 2008 Mens Road Race Results, Reports, Photos and Video
Smilin' Sammy Sanchez extends Spain's winning Summer

I'll cut to the chase...
Sat, 09 Aug 2008 13:13:23 GMT On the seventh and final time up the big climb on the 25k circuit, the peloton caught Austrian's Christian Pfannberger who made a go at the 40k mark. Cadel Evans then animated the race helping to create the winning break which contained Chris Sorensen, Davide Rebellin, Andy Schleck among others. Samuel Sanchez, Michael Rogers and Alexander Kolobnev among others then bridged up. Andy Schleck immediately issued a series of strong bursts to whittle the winning break down to five. A further selection was made near the top when Rogers and the dangerous finisher Kolobnev were dropped. So it was just the young (23 year-old) Schleck of little Luxembourg and Sanchez and Rebellin respresenting the heavily favored Spain and Italy, respectively, on their own looking good on their way to the award podium.

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

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