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Round 6

Tour de Berne, Switzerland


Race Writeup

Susanne Ljungskog escaped from an elite group of breakaway companions to win the Tour of Berne / Berner Rundfahrt by eight seconds ahead of the sprinting group. Winner of the sprint for second was Judith Arndt, which gave her enough points to take over the World Cup series lead. Perhaps surprisingly, the German former World Champion and multiple previous World Cup round winner has never worn the Leader’s jersey before in her illustrious career. 

A change to the course used in previous years presented riders with a much tougher parcours. A long, five kilometre climb, almost immediately out of host town, Lyss, shattered the field in the first of four laps. The conditions were hot and sunny, with little wind. The race was marked by attacks from the rival Swiss teams in this, their ‘home’ World Cup. Team Bigla and Cervélo Lifeforce were active all day, sending riders on the attack. Notably, sisters Andrea (Bigla) and Karin Thürig (Cervelo) were in the front part of the race. Elder sibling, Karin was particularly active, gaining time solo in front of the chase group both early in the race and on the penultimate lap, through the start / finish area heading into the final 33 kilometres of the event. 

The front group carved out a lead over the following bunch after the first climb which was unassailable, meaning that the winner would come from within this selection of less than half the starters. Within this group, there were multiple representatives from several teams, including Cervelo Lifeforce; Kristin Armstrong, Karin Thürig, Priska Doppmann, Équipe Nurnberger; (2007 winner) Edita Puckinskaite, Claudia Hausler, Team Bigla; Nicole Brändli, Noemi Cantele, Zoulfia Zabirova, and Team Flexpoint; Mirjam Melchers van Poppel and Amber Neben. A notable lone, but potentially dangerous rider, was Judith Arndt (Team High Road), who admitted it was partly her fault that she was alone. She had been in poor position early in the race and effectively ‘spent’ the assistance of her team-mates early in the day in order to move into the break. 

On the final lap, Susanne Ljungskog (Manikin Selle Italia) made an attempt to break away on the climb. She gained a 15 second lead, but was brought back by World Champion, Marta Bastianelli (Italian National). The Italian effectively towed the group back to Ljungskog, who regained her breath and sat in the group on the descent. Then, with about 15 kilometres to go, the Swede whose last World Cup win was the inaugural World Cup in Vårgarda (Sweden) in 2006, attacked again. This time she was able to make the advantage stick, especially on the technical run-in through Lyss. The bunch were not able to bring her back, attempts came close, but were not able to close the final few seconds to the leader. 

In the closing kilometres, it became clear that this race would once again be taken by a solo rider just ahead of the psrinting bunch. Ljungskog held on to her slender lead and was able to celebrate in the final 50 metres with several happy punches into the air before a double-handed victory salute. The bunch sprint was fast and furious and at full pace straight out of the tight right-handed corner at 500m to go. The riders in the centre of the road clearly had the advantage and it was Judith Arndt who emerged three or four riders from the barriers as the fastest. Outside of her, Mirjam Melchers van Poppel was working hard to keep third, whilst on the barriers was a fading Erinne Willock (Webcor). Chantal Beltman followed her team-mate, Arndt, to the line for fourth and Jolanta Polikeviciute (Chirio Forno d’Asolo) was fifth. 

The win was sweet for Ljungskog, who pronounced herself “very happy” and who had enjoyed her day racing in front of large crowds in Lyss and on the climb.

Second place in Berne took Judith Arndt into the World Cup series lead on 167 points, leapfrogging absentee leader going into this round, Marianne Vos, who is now second on 152 points. Suzanne De Goede (Equipe Nurnberger) is third, 133 points.  

La Coupe du Monde Cycliste Féminine de Montréal takes place on 31st May.

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Post Race Comments

Susanne Ljungskog  explained the closing kilometres of her race. “My plan was to attack on the hill. I had a gap there, but they caught me, I felt good, but the others were also good. I waited, let the others do some attacks, then I thought ‘okay, I’ll wait.’ Then it slowed with about 15 kilometres to go and I thought ‘now I have to go’ and I did, I didn’t look back and it was a long way, but when you have good legs that doesn’t matter,” she smiled. ”It was a good course, nice climbs, hard climbs. There were a lot of people on the climbs and it felt good to be a woman bike rider today. I’m proud and I appreciated them.”

Judith Arndt was pleased to take over the World Cup series lead;  I’ve never had the jersey before and my career has been pretty long already. Its nice to wear it, but its not the main goal for the season of the team because this year it’s the Olympics and everybody tries to be in the best shape for the Olympics,  Arndt has previously professed a sweet spot for the World Cup in Montréal, which is the next round of the series at the end of the month. She would not commit herself to protecting the Leader’s jersey at all costs however. “We always try to win the race, but it can with another rider from the team.” She stressed the importance of the team in High Road’s culture “We don’t go for the overall, we always try to win the race."

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Results - Top 10 - click here to see full result

Position Name Team Time Gap
2 ARNDT Judith  TEAM HIGH ROAD WOMEN 3:31:16 00:00:08

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Standings Top 10 - click here to see full standings

Rank Previous Name Team


1 3 ARNDT Judith TMP 167
2 1 VOS Marianne DSB 152
3 2 DE GOEDE Suzanne NUR 133
4 6 BELTMAN Chantal TMP 108
6 4 POOLEY Emma TSW 99
7 13 WRUBLESKI Alex WEB 84
8 LJUNGSKOG Susanne MSI 75
9 7 CURI MATTIS Katheryn WEB 75

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Photos   Click on any image to enlarge >>

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WC1_8556 WC1_8572 WC1_8593 WC1_8598 WC2_7793
WC2_7846 WC2_7898 WC2_7907 WC2_7936 WC2_7942
WC2_7975 WC2_7987 WC2_8003 WC2_8009 WC2_8030
WC2_8038 WC2_8039 WC2_8055    


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