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World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.

Find out more about Bill Begg and his column.

Sept. 18, 2008

What Happened in the Marathon at Worlds?

QHi, Bill: Could you please fill us in on what happened in the marathon at the World Championships last week. (I was in Duluth at the NorthShore and missed the whole thing.) - Robert, Inline Planet

Hi, Robert: Hope it's not too late ...

The men and women all ran into the same problem: trying to read the road conditions. Would they be wet or dry?

In this regard, the junior skaters had it easy. It was raining, so they were ready with their rain wheels.

Here's how things turned out:

Girls

For the junior girls, the race came down to the sprint with Suel Lee of Korea narrowly beating Mareike Thum of Germany. Italy's Francesco Bettrona, who finished third, collected a warning from the race officials. An angry Lucy Peruzzetto, 20th, was seen pursuing an Italian skater after the race, which may have had something to do with the warning.

Briana Kramer was the first U.S. skater to cross the line. She was four seconds behind the winner.

Boys

Everyone was expecting the indomitable Bart Swings of Belgium to contend for the gold. But while everyone was watching him, the wily Belgium coach had Bart's faithful teammate Wannes Van Praet position himself for the victory.

But Chinese Taipei's Yu Jen-Tse rattled home to take the gold from Wannes, who finished second, with Italy's Riccardo Bugari, third.

Henry Galbraith, 14th, was USA's top finisher, about four seconds behind the winner.

Women

The ladies had a half wet course to start, with more rain threatening. Many gambled on the rain, but it arrived two minutes after the finish, and the skaters with dry-weather wheels prevailed. There were only a few minor breakaway attempts.

USA hope Brittany Bowe was badly interfered with at the last corner, and some following her also lost out.

Liana Holguin won on her third try in the Worlds marathon. The young German Sabine Berg was second; the Italian Giovanna Turchiarelli, third.

The first USA skater was Emily Scott in 14th place, less than two second behind the winner.

Men

The men's race started in the rain but was dry at the finish. As with the women, some skaters were hurt by their choice of wheels. The New Zealand men did a Noah's Ark imitation, going two by two in breakaways. Reyon Kay and Scott Arlidge were the first to break from the bunch; Kalon Dobbin and Peter Micheal the next two.

Finally after many attempts and with about 15 km to go, Shane Dobbin and DJ Nation hooked onto the winning breakaway. The others in the group included two Argentinians and France's Julian Levard.

Eventually, all that remained were Dobbin, Levard and Sergio Ali of Argentina.

France's Yann Guyader tried to chase down the breakaway, but was eventually disqualified for allegedly flinging off his helmet about 200 meters from home.

Dobbin and Levard dropped Ali in the final run home, and Dobbin, proving too strong for Levard, assumed control about 200 meters from home to win by about 15 meters. Ali was about 15 seconds behind Levard.

In the field sprint, the big Dutchman Gary Heckman was mowed down by Joey Mantia, Luca Saggioratto and Diego Rosero just before the line.

Then it was announced that Mantia had been disqualified. He being a clean skater, we were all wondering what had happened. It was alleged that he was involved in a similar helmet violation. The next U.S. skater across was Josh Wood at the back of the bunch in 42nd place.

We all have our good and bad days. But surely this was the worst Worlds result for the U.S. men in years.

Cheers, Bill

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