World Road Championships
Salzburg, Austria, 132.9km
The 2006 Women’s World Road Race Championships started in the beautiful city of Saltzburg with 136 riders representing 35 nations. This race was probably one of the most open races in years. The Women’s peleton has grown tremendously and it’s prominence in the world of cycling and has gained in strength every year. With the top riders from the 2005 championships showing good form again this year, the race proved to be very exciting.
the bunch rolled out on the warm sunny day, this in itself was in complete
contrast to last year where the women started in the early hours on a cold
Madrid morning. Early nerves showed though when Evgeniva Visockaya
(Ukraine) crashed into the barriers, she and the other riders who were
involved in this chased back to the group.
After the first 8km, the first attack came from the Russian Natalia Boyarskaya, her attempt was thwarted though as the teams rallied to close her down. The second climb at 11km was the hardest on the course and the first time over caused the bunch to string out. Not too excessively though that it caused any breaks. The bunch rolled through the next 8km when after 19km a minor mechanical problem forced Italy’s Noemi Cantele to change bikes.
the bunch approached the end of the first lap, an attack from the Russians
saw a small group including the oldest rider in the peleton at 47, Jeannie
Longo-Ciprelli (France) form. At they crossed the start/finish line with 23km
completed, a small group of riders had cleared the bunch. By the
time they reached the climb, only two remained - Anne Samplonius (Canada)
and Natalia Boyarskaya (Russian Federation), they were away thanks to a
counter attack to a Swedish move by Anna Samplonius (CAN). Boyarskaya
(RUS) was the only rider to react to close the gap and the two gained
their lead. As they went under the start/finish banner to start their
third lap they had a 20’ gap on the chasing peleton. The two managed to
increase their gap and by 50km completed they had a 50’ gap.
chasing peleton had two riders prepared to put in the work to bring the
leaders back. Tanja Slater (Great Britain) and Linda Villumsen (Denmark)
managed to bring the gap down to 32’. Patricia Schwager (Switzerland)
took up the chase on the decent of the second climb and managed to reduce
the gap to 25’.
the half way point in the race, the teams seemed to be getting serious
about the chase, although the leaders had managed to increase the gap
again. Monica Holler (Sweden) managed to break away from the chasing bunch
and created a 20’ gap. With 60km to go, the peleton were keeping tempo
with the three leaders dangling out there. They caught Holler and as a
result reduced the gap to 35’. With
53km to go the leaders had 30’ on the peleton. As the peleton increased
its pace, it caught the leaders just 2km out side Saltzburg.
the bunch together Vera Carrara (Italy) decided to attack and she managed
to get a small lead. Tetyana Stiajkina (Ukraine) was the only rider to
bridge the gap to Carrara and attacked again gaining valuable second on
the peleton who caught Carrara. Stiajkina’s team closed ranks at the
front to try to block a chase. This did not last long however as Zoulfia
Zabirova (Kazakhstan) brought the
group back together and counter attacked gaining 15 seconds very quickly.
big teams saw the danger and reacted to this attack, rapidly reducing the
time to 11 seconds. This increase in speed did however have an effect on
the ability of some riders to keep pace, with a number of riders dropping
off the back of the group. On the ascent of the climb, two of the
favourites attacked, Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) and Nicole Brändli
(Switzerland). A number of riders reacted, but struggled to keep pace with
the two riders. A small group of 15 riders formed and settled into a
group included some of the top riders from this season, including local
riders, Christiane Soeder and Andrea Graus (Austria). The other key riders
were Judith Arndt, Theresa Senff and Trixi Worrack (Germany), Nicole Cooke
(Great Britain), Oenone Wood (Australia), Chantal Beltman and Marianne Vos
(Netherlands), Noemi Cantele (Italy), Nicole Brändli, Priska Doppmann and
Annette Beutler (Switzerland), Amber Neben (USA), Svetlana Bubnenkova
the leaders started the last lap, Arndt (GER) and Vos (NED) led, followed
by the group of 13. The average speed for the last lap was 41 km/,
nearly 3 km/h faster than previous laps, an indicator that they meant
13km to go, Priska Doppman (Switzerland) attacked, forcing the group to
chase. On the descent, the gap to the main peleton had increased to 1
minute 40 seconds, they seemed to have stopped working, probably because most of the favourite
nations had riders in the leading group.
the leaders approached 10km to go, three leaders took over, Cooke (Great
Britain), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Brändli, who gained a small gap
on the chasing group. Brändli attempted to break away from Vos and Cooke
but this did not work. The chasing group, led by Judith Arndt bridged the
gap to the leaders as they approached the 4km to go. Counter attack, after
counter attack occurred in the last few km as the riders tested each
other. In the final meters though, Marianne Vos attacked to take a clear
win, ahead of Trixi Worrack and Nicole Cooke.
Vos took the victory by several lengths. The 19 year old has had a terrific 12 months – she is also World Cyclo Cross Champions and European Champion. (In addition to Junior titles she held). She honed her speed for the sprint in last week’s Giro della Toscana, sprinting well towards the front of the bunch all week. Trixi Worrack took her first World Championship medal at senior level and was clearly very happy with it, whilst Nicole Cooke once again worked on her own in the closing kilometers of a major race; Great Britain unable to put riders around her of the quality to assist in the sprint. Cooke seemed happy with the bronze medal.
On being double World Champion (Cyclo Cross and now Road Race)
"In four weeks the cyclo cross season starts, for the winter season, I will also wear the 'rainbow jersey', so its strange for me, but nice! I will get three weeks rest before the cyclo cross season and then start racing again and then I will take some rest before the road season.
means a lot for me, but I don't think I really believe it yet. That will
come in the next few days. Tonight, I'm going to party with the National
team; they worked hard today and they did a good job."
On bringing back the late break of Cooke, Vos and Brändli.
"My team was working pretty hard; Theresa [Senff] and Judith [Arndt], they were closing the gap to the three of them and then it came to the sprint.
This medal means a lot to me because I was World Champion at junior level, but you cannot compare that seniors. I think its great. I'm a bit sad because we've had the title for the last two years, but I think we can be happy."
Had there been pressure on Trixi in the closing kilometres?
can't say it was pressure on me because I was named as the sprinter, we
had our meeting the night before to decide tactics, but it was not pressure.
It was up to Judith and Theresa Senff to hold the small bunch together and
then up to me to do the sprint."
"I think Marianne and I were working very hard but I don't think we had the strength as three riders against the strong German team, the group behind us. I'm very happy with my ride today because I felt very strong out there and I'm happy to be on the podium again."
Results - Top 10
1 Marianne Vos (Ned)
2 Trixi Worrack (Ger)
3 Nicole Cooke (Gbr)
4 Noemi Cantele (Ita)
5 Priska Doppmann (Sui)
6 Oenone Wood (Aus)
7 Annette Beutler (Sui)
8 Nicole Brändli (Sui)
9 Svetlana Bubnenkova (Rus)
10 Andrea Graus (Aut)
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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