After constant solo and group attacks over the 268km course a 25 strong group broke clear in the closing stages, with many of the fancied names such as Jalabert abandoning in the face of the ferocious pace.
With 3km to go Francesco Casagrande attacked over the top of the last major climb but failed to get out of sight of the pursuing bunch. As he passed under the 1km banner Tchmil – who’d been attacking all day – launched one of his trademark charges for the line. Still leading with only 200m to go he in turn was swallowed by the group, and despite strong team presences from Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Spain it was Vainsteins who burst over the line to take gold. Zbigniew Spruch of Poland took second for a Baltic one -two, while Oscar Friere (Spain) took bronze. Michele Bartoli (Italy) just missed the medals in 4th, while adopted ‘British’ rider Max Sciandri tailed in as part of the lead group in 17th.
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