Tafi's great break closes Cup gap

Cycling

The Italians came to the British round of the World Cup with great expectations, and Andrea Tafi did not disappoint his countrymen who have taken the honours for six of the past eight years.

As the 242-kilometre race through Kent wound down to three testing circuits in the centre of Rochester, which inspired several of Charles Dickens' works, Tafi too found inspiration.

With 15km remaining, he forced the pace once more to shake off his four co-leaders, and ride away to win by 43 seconds and turn himself into a Cup challenger. He closed to within 35 points of the series leader, Rolf Sorensen of Denmark, and with three rounds to be decided is on course for his best season.

"I am looking forward to the next round in Zurich on Sunday. It will be hard but my form is good," Tafi said. "I did not have a good start to the year, but my team kept faith with me.

"When I heard that the pursuers were only 25 seconds behind us I attacked to maintain our lead, but I saved my best move for later. My biggest fear was [Gianluca] Bortolami. He has such great form," he said, but after one attempt at resisting Tafi, Bortolami conceded to the stronger man.

Tafi's best result until Rochester was last year's victory in another Cup counter, the Tour of Lombardy. This year he took second place in the Dutch round behind the 1996 Tour de France winner, Bjarne Riis, and with more points in Spain last week followed by a maximum of 100 yesterday, Tafi lifted the Cup gloom from his Mapei team.

The quest of his Belgian team-mate, Johan Museeuw, to score a World Cup hat-trick slumped when the world champion failed to score in three previous rounds. Yesterday he was among the non-finishers, and so too was the British hope Chris Boardman, again the victim of a fall as the field pursued Tafi and his men.

Boardman changed his damaged bike for a spare, but pulled out on the finishing circuit, complaining of a painful back. He had to quit last month's Tour de France after displacing two vertebrae, an injury from which he had almost recovered.

Max Sciandri kept the home flag flying with a solo chase that earned him sixth place and was only six seconds short of capturing the remnants of Tafi's co-leaders as they raced along the banks of the Medway.

"When my team told me that Tafi had gone away on his own, then I was able to attack," he said. Sciandri had been handicapped because his French team-mate, Stephane Heulot, was with the leaders.

"I gave it all I had, but it was too late," said the Olympic bronze medallist who has a reputation to maintain in the British round. He won in 1995 when it was in Leeds, and last year was second there, a placing rated as a failure.

He failed to respond when Andrea Ferrigato "jumped" in sight of the finish. Yesterday the Derby-born, Italian-based member of a French team wiped away that bitter memory.

Ferrigato had to fight for second place with fellow Italian Bortolami, the World Cup winner three years ago, after they - with Tafi, Heulot, and Italy's Andrea Vatteroni - had escaped from the pack more than 70km from the finish.

Sorensen was content with his day's work as 13th place helped boost his lead over the Italian Michele Bartoli to 29 points. Bartoli finished out of the scoring yesterday for the second time in two rounds.

ROCHESTER CLASSIC (151.25 miles): 1 A Tafi (Mapei-GB, Ita) 6hr 7min 42sec; 2 A Ferrigato (Roslotto-ZG, It) +43sec; 3 G Bortolami (Festina, It), 4 S Heulot (La Francaise des Jeux, Fr); 5 A Vatteroni (Scrigno-Gaerne, It) all same time; 6 M Sciandri (La Francaise des Jeux, GB) +49sec. Overall World Cup standings: 1 R Sorensen (Rabobank, Den) 225pts; 2 M Bartoli (MG, It) 196; 3 A Tafi 190; 4 B Zberg (Mercatone Uno, Swit) 120; 5 L Jalabert (ONCE, Fr) 114; 6 M Sciandri 113.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Learning Support Assistant

£60 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Youth Support Workers Glouceste...

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

PPA Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Pr...

Primary Teaching Jobs Available NOW-Southport

£80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Due to an increase in dema...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London