Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Siutsou takes gold medal

AP , VERONA, ITALY

Kanstantin Siutsou of Belarus became the new World Champion of the men under 23 road racers in Verona, Italy, Friday.

PHOTO: AP

Kanstantsin Siutsou won the under-23 race and became the first man from Belarus to capture a gold medal at the road cycling world championships on Friday.

Siutsou broke away from the lead pack with Italy's Domenico Pozzovivo on the ninth lap of the 12-lap race while on the steep "Torricelle" climb.

On the final lap of the 177km race, Siutsou left the struggling Italian behind on the uphill section.

Siutsou said that before he broke away, Pozzovivo jokingly offered him money to let the Italian win.

"But I didn't accept, I wanted this medal," he said, grasping the new prize around his neck.

Siutsou shook his jersey with the word "Belarus" on it up and down in celebration as he crossed the line all alone in 4 hours, 33 minutes, 33 seconds.

Repeating his silver medal from Monday's time trial, Thomas Dekker of the Netherlands beat Mads Christensen of Denmark in a sprint finish. Dekker finished 1:01 behind Siutsou, while Christensen took the bronze at a gap of 1:02.

Pozzovivo was also unable to stay with Dekker and Christensen on the long, final straight, and came fourth, 1:09 behind.

The only other Belarussian to win a gold at the worlds was Zinaida Stahurskaia in the women's elite road race in 2000.

Siutsou, who broke his collar bone in April, said he will ride professionally for Italy's Fassa Bortolo team next season.

The under-23 or amateur race at the worlds is considered a key indicator for future success as a professional. Jan Ullrich and Eddy Merckx are former winners.

The victory was easily Siutsou's best result to date. He finished 34th in Monday's time trial and ninth in the GP des Nations on Sept. 19.

Slovenia's Janez Brajkovic, who won the time trial, was 13th, 2:24 behind.

The road course in Verona contains cobblestone sections, a twisting climb, a steep descent and a long, straight, flat finish. The course's difficulty resulted in only 84 riders finishing of the 175 who started.

Earlier, Marianne Vos broke away from the leading pack on the final climb to win the gold medal in the junior road race.

The victory was the Netherlands' third straight in the women's junior race at the worlds -- Suzanne De Goede won in 2002 and Loes Markerink last year -- and fifth overall since the event was introduced in 1987, more than any other country.

Vos covered 73.75km in 2:11.44.

Italy's Marta Bastianelli won a 14-woman sprint to take the silver medal, 30 seconds behind.

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