Alessandro Ballan wins rainbow jersey
Damiano Cunego, Alessandro Ballan and Denmark's Matti Breschel enjoy the spotlight
Wilier Cento Uno Lampre - expect to see some stripes appear on it soon...
Italy’s Alessandro Ballan rocketed into the history books and the rainbow jersey in Varese, Italy on Sunday, winning from a small breakaway group on the last lap of the 2008 World Championships with a decisive and explosive launch of speed in the final kilometers.
Defending champion Paolo Bettini, seeking to win a third consecutive World Championships, conceded the title he's held for the past two years, as the 260.25km race unraveled. Italy had three riders in the final 12-man breakaway group that formed on the closing lap however, led by a charging Davide Rebellin on the final climb.
Ballan, the previous Tour of Flanders winner chose his moment precisely to launch a stinging attack, and with two team mates, Rebellin and Damiano Cunego quashing any counter attacks, his victory never looked in doubt as the Lampre rider turned into the Mapei Cycling Stadium.
Ballan was riding the new Wilier Cento Uno, fitted with Campagnolo Record 11-speed. It's the first big win for the new Wilier frame, which boasts some significant changes to the previous Cento.
Of the six-strong British contingent starting the race, only Russell Downing managed to finish, taking a credible 49th following a fantastic ride in the Tour of Britain recently.
1 Alessandro Ballan (Italy) 6.37.30 (39.283 km/h)
2 Damiano Cunego (Italy) 0.03
3 Matti Breschel (Denmark)
4 Davide Rebellin (Italy)
5 Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)
6 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain)
7 Fabian Wegmann (Germany)
8 Christian Pfannberger (Austria)
9 Nick Nuyens (Belgium)
10 Robert Gesink (Netherlands)