UCI Road World Cup 2006
Sarah Ulmer takes brilliant victory 2006
World Cup Round 2 - Wellington results
Race date - 5th March 2006
Sarah Ulmer took a brilliant 'home' victory in Wellington today. After winning the Tour of New Zealand, she showed stunning form to win the World Cup today. She broke away on the 7th lap and quickly built up a lead which was at 5minutes 55 seconds at one point.
The Kiwi road champion stayed away to win by over 4 minutes, for a very popular victory in the streets where everyone knows her name. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg retained her World Cup series jersey, with 110 points, over (now) second placed Ulmer with 75 points.
The weather brightened up after a particularly windy and cool preceding week. The Wellington World Cup round is unique - the course passes through the Parliament grounds of the country with a population of just 4 million people. They may be a small population, but the Kiwis turn out in huge numbers to support National Hero, Sarah Ulmer. Every street and corner of the circuit was lined with fans. The organisers of this event certainly put on a show when they bring this race to town. The shutting down of the road system in Wellington is no easy feat. That, combined with the excellent police cooperation and the involvement of local and national companies to support the race and some of the domestic teams makes this a very special event. The quality of the racing compliments the quality of the event organisation. If only the organisers could do something about the weather......
The race action started early on. Within the first couple of laps, Toni Bradshaw had tried her luck off the front, but had been brought back by an attentive pack. There was a flurry of activity as various riders and teams worked to the plans they had for the race. Then, at lap 6 of 20 circuits of 6.2km, a crash put paid to the chances of Nicole Cooke, who retired (not seriously injured) and Susie Wood (NZ), who continued for several more laps, but was not able to rejoin the bunch.
Sarah Ulmer took off in a pre-planned attack on the sixth or seventh lap. She very quickly gained a minute over the bunch and then kept stretching the gap. At one stage, she was 5 minutes, 55 seconds ahead. Sarah Duester (Univega Pro Team), Natalie Bates (Chase Smart) and Bärbel Jungmeier (Elk Haus Nö) managed to get themselves in-between the bunch and Ulmer, but hung precariously just out of sight up to a minute or so ahead off the bunch.
The Kiwis were working hard to keep Ulmer out in front, policing the bunch. The T-Mobile team had a stake in the policing action too. Ulmer is unlikely to continue her World Cup campaign in Europe this year - it is not in the New Zealand team's plans - and so she was no threat to the overall competition. There could not have been a better person to be off the front. The T-Mobile team was evident at the front of the bunch; indeed, when Kate Bates went up the road with 6 to go, Judith Arndt went with her. The pair only stayed away for a lap. Series leader, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg was protected all day by her team, who were one rider down. Lynne Bessette fell during the Geelong Tour 10 days ago and remains in Australia to recuperate from the concussion she sustained.
So it was an expectant crowd which saw Sarah Ulmer enter her final lap. "Only a mechanical can stop her now" said the commentator, tempting fate. Ulmer stayed away safely, though and rode into Parliament grounds ready to celebrate. As she turned left into the short finishing straight, Ulmer raised an arm and punched the sky in delight. She then sat up and celebrated all the way over the line with a double-handed victory.
Just over 4 minutes later, Oenone Wood, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and Joe Kiesanowski (Univega) entered the grounds and turned left into the finishing straight. Wood was ahead and sprinting hard, Teutenberg did not have the legs to catch her. It did not matter, though, third was enough to keep the series lead.
OTL - outside time limit
AB - Abandon
DNS - Did not start
Sarah Ulmer New Zealand
On the team effort: "it's a great by the team in our home country, but we certainly won't be resting on our laurels going into the commonwealth games. We've still got a lot of work to do; I've still got a lot of work to do training rise before then. We'll be high-fiving it of course tonight and celebrating. That'll be pretty much it though. Hopefully the New Zealand public is beginning to understand how important the team is for a win like this. It certainly is not an individual race at all they would have had to work their guts out rights to the line for me to be able to stay away."
On road racing (as opposed to time trials): "if I could ride every weekend in New Zealand I'd be pretty happy. (Laughs) I'm actually not joining the New Zealand team in Tasmania this week. I'm going home to Cambridge for a couple of weeks and preparing at home. I've got some specific time trial sessions at home for a couple of weeks then I'll meet up with the team in Melbourne."
Had it been a plan to break away so early? "Not to begin with, but as the race unfolded, it just seemed like an opportune time and with the hills it looked like people were going to string out quite a bit, so I just tried to establish what I thought would be a small break. Unfortunately it was a lot smaller than I expected. You just have to take these opportunities; sometimes you can pull them off sometimes you can't."
Had she been able to stay focused out on her own or had she "drifted", as can sometimes happen in a time trial? "It does definitely sometimes happen, but no I was pretty good. I had Susie Pride our team director, she was on my ear for a lot of it, just telling me the time gaps which was great. Unfortunately the radio had a lot of cutouts from five laps to go so I was going blind in terms of time gaps. But it was cool, she was giving good direction and good time gaps to keep me focused for most of it. There was the crowd was well, there wasn't any part of the course where there wasn't people screaming, so it was pretty easy to maintain a high when you've got that sort of support."
Oenone Wood Équipe Nürnberger
On the race : "Yeah, it was a pretty tough race. This is a really hard course, with the wind, and Sarah has just ridden an amazing race to stay out there for so long. Full credit to her."
Had Ulmer also benefited from the fact that the T-Mobile team were riding at the front of the bunch, holding it back? "Well, her team certainly did a fantastic job for her today and I guess it would have taken another team to react with a bit more of a united effort (to bring her back). But there wasn't really a team which committed to chasing her hand back and she just kept driving and she's such a good time trialist that she just kept putting time into the bunch as opposed to us getting back time on her."
And what about your form, going into the Commonwealth Games? "Yeah, I've got a little bit of work to do still, but it's coming along."
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg T-Mobile
"That was quite a hard race. I'm happy because I was just holding on there at the end, trying to stay in the group. Sarah was out there and we knew we wouldn't get her back. She had a pretty big gap straightaway and she's so strong and we all pretty much knew we were racing for second place."
Nicole Cooke Pro team Univega
On her crash: "Well I'm OK, other than grazes on both ankles, knees, elbows and shoulders. I must have rolled! I was leading around one bend and there was a van parked on the course, right in front of me. I smashed into it and broke the forks on my bike. They were completely sheared, and we had no spare bike so that was race over. My socks, shorts and jersey are beyond further use too!"
On the circumstances for the crash: "I know the organisers try their best to remove vehicles from the course but I just cannot believe that had this been a men's World Cup that vehicle would have been left without lots of marshals on the corner before it, identifying the hazard. For the men's races they have more marshals and spend more time clearing the course. It is a fact of life, they have more resources available."
About the race result: "Obviously it's disappointing to miss out on contesting the places, and on the racing time. I also feel for my Univega team mate Joanne Kiesanowski who came so close to getting on the podium in her home country."
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