Bastianelli wins road race title in sprint

Updated: September 29, 2007, 12:27 PM ET
Associated Press

STUTTGART, Germany -- Marta Bastianelli of Italy won the women's road race title on a breakaway Saturday at the cycling world championships.

Defending champion Marianne Vos of the Netherlands won the sprint for second place and Giorgia Bronzini completed the Italian success with bronze.

The 20-year old Bastianelli finished the 83-mile race in 3 hours, 46 minutes, 34 seconds for her first victory of the season.

Bastianelli broke away from the pack with about 9 miles to go. With her Italian teammates controlling the chasers, she was able to hold off the pack by 6 seconds.

"The attack was not planned. I just did it because I knew I had no chance in a mass sprint," she said.

Peter Velits of Slovakia won a mass sprint to take the men's under-23 gold, finishing the 106-mile course in 4:21:22.

Bastianelli's best result before of the championships was silver at the under-23 Europeans earlier this season.

There was a crash 18 miles before the finish, when one of the spectator barriers fell down onto the course, spilling bicycles and riders.

The 2001 silver medalist Edita Pucinskaite and Italy's Noemi Cantele were among the main victims.

When Cantele rejoined the group, she immediately went on the attack together with American rider Amber Neben, who finished fourth in Wednesday's time trial. They built a lead of almost half a minute over the chasing bunch but were caught just before going into the last lap of 12 miles.

Cantele again sought to break away on the last climb, but she could not shake off defending champion Vos, as six riders broke away to the line. When things settled, Bastianelli took over and sped away.

Bastianelli's chain briefly came off, shrinking her lead to 12 seconds, but she quickly regained her pace on the last big hill to build her advantage to 20 seconds.

Canada's Erinne Willock made a last-ditch attempt to break away from the chasing pack with 3.1 miles to go. But she failed to close the gap on the last uphill stretch to the finish line, and faltered.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press