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66th World Championship Road Race 1999

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s Watching Oscar?

Verona, Italy welcomed 172 riders to the World Road Race Championships in 1999.  The race course consisted of 260 km over 16 laps over Verona’s 16.25 km (10 mile) Torricelle Circuit

Through the first 15 laps crashes and the hard pace of the race dwindled the size of the peloton.  The aggressive race came down to the final lap and the penultimate ride up the 3.5 km Torricelle climb. 

Defending champion Oscar Camenzind (Sui), Jan Ullrich (Ger), and Frankie Vandenbroucke (Bel) attacked and dropped Mirko Celestino (Sui) and Michael Boogerd (Ned) but most of the contenders were still in the lead group with 3 km to go. 

From the bottom of the climb a series of unsuccessful attacks by Vandenbroucke had reduced the lead group to 9 riders.  As the leaders went under the 1km to go kite, Chann McRae (USA) launched a solid move off the front. The remaining 9 riders flew through the final right turn onto the finishing straight on the Corso del Porta Nuova with 600 meters to go.

McRae’s gap was quickly closed as the leaders looked at each other for the finishing move.  As the leaders swung to the left side of the road, the 23 year old Spaniard didn't hesitate, jumping down the right side with 400 meters to go. 

A little known Spanish pro from the Vitalicio Seguros team Oscar Freire Gomez surprised everyone in the 9 riders breakaway and took the Rainbow Jersey by 4 seconds.  After the race Freire said "The other guys really weren't watching me and I just saw the right moment to go."  The contenders must be wondering Who’s watching Oscar…?

WCRR October 10, 1999
260 Km [ Verona, Italy ]

1. Oscar FREIRE (Spa) 6h19’29”

2. Markus Zberg (Sui) +4”

3. Jean Cyril Robin (Fra)

Starters: 172
Finishers: 49
Average Speed: 41.110 km/h

 

 

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