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Thursday, 10 October, 2002, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Trial triumph for Botero
Santiago Botero (centre) with second-placed Michael Rich left and Igor Gonzalez (right)
Botero (centre) finished ahead of Michael Rich (left)
Colombia's Santiago Botero overcame fitness concerns to clinch gold in the world road race championship time trial.

Botero arrived in Belgium with a fever but he showed no signs of sluggishness on the 40.4km course and stormed home in a time of 48 mins 08 secs.

  Leading times
1. S Botero (Col) 48:08.45
2. M Rich (Ger) +8.23
3. I González (Spa) +0:17.15
4. L Bodrogi (Hun) +25.53
5. U Peschel (Ger) +33.76
6. D Millar (Gbr) +35.32
7. A Gonzalez (Spa) +1:04.03
8. M Rogers (Aus) 1:06.34
9. F Cancellara (Swi) +1:07.81
10. R Belohvosciks (Lat) 1:15.42

David Millar, who finished second last year and was the favourite for this year's race, could only manage sixth despite a late dash which almost saw him collide with a barrier.

Germany's Michael Rich took the silver medal with Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano of Spain third.

Spain's Aitor Gonzalez, another of the pre-race favourites, finished a disappointing seventh, over a minute behind the winner after a poor first stage.

Botero, the fifth seed who finished third last year, had looked an unlikely winner as he went through first and second stages in third place behind Rich and Gonzalez.

However, the Colombian overtook Rich's time at 36km and sliced eight seconds off the German's time at the finish.

Botero beat American Lance Armstrong during the 13th stage time trial of the Tour de France this year en route to his two stage wins.

Armstrong has elected to miss this year's championships.

Although the Colombian admitted Armstrong's presence might have added further value to his gold medal, and rainbow jersey, Botero was quick to emphasise the quality among the 57-strong field.

"It might add a bit more shine but there are a lot of quality riders here who have trained seriously for the event, guys like Olympic champion Viatcheslav Ekimov, Rich and Galdeano," said the 29-year-old.

"They're all specialists in the event. And I've beat Armstrong in the past, although I'm sure we'll clash again in the time trial in the future."


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