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World Road Championships 2008

 

 

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Time Trial

Varese, 25,2km

 

Race Writeup

Amber Neben, the petite American, won the 25.15km in a blistering time of 33 minutes 51.35 seconds. She averaged 44.6km/h for the course ahead of Christiane Soeder the Austrian, who despite a huge effort in the last 1 km could only finish in a time of 33 minutes 58.91 seconds. In third place was German, Judith Arndt, who finished in a time of 34 minutes 14.13 seconds.  

The course was a rolling one and the weather was perfect, not too warm for the riders, a cool 19 degrees. With two intermediate time checks, at 6 km and 15 km the riders had plenty of opportunity to keep track of where they were against the previous riders. Neben was the fastest at both intermediate checks and could not be match at the finish.  

With the 2007 champion, Germany's Hanka Kupfernagel missing the race was wide open for a new champion. The first rider to start was Katheryn Bertine. Although based in the USA she rode for Saint Kitts and Nevis. The top riders were seeded to go in the later start slots and no-one expected the winner to come from the early starters. Anna Zugno, the young Italian, who had won the junior women time trial at the 2002 Worlds looked promising in the early stages but faded towards the end.  

Ireland had two riders. Heather Wilson had placed second in the Irish national TT and third in the road race but did not have the experience for this world stage. Both finished in the second half of the field. 

The Canadian, Anne Samplonius, one of the more senior of riders at 40 years old held first place after a great ride only to see herself drop down the ranks as the favourites finished. 

One of the riders who would have hoped for a high finish was the Belgian, Ann Van Rie. She is the national TT champ and has ridden a reasonable season but she could not match the speed of the top riders and only managed a 38th place finish. 

The British time trial champion, Sharon Laws, has had a successful year, including the national TT title but she was not quick enough in Italy, only managing 33rd place. 

The Swedish national time trial champion Emma Johansson has had a great season, her biggest moment coming in second in the Olympics road race in Beijing. She finished two places higher than 2007 in 13th place to finish an incredible season.  

The Australian team had qualified three places, thanks to an Oceania title in the TT. Vicky Whitelaw, Bridie O'Donnell, the Australian national time trial champion and Alexis Rhodes. Whitelaw finish highest in 16th place.

Tatiana Antoshina the Russian rode well and caught and passed Schmidt, who started 2 minutes ahead of her. She set a new best time until Soeder, Arndt and Neben started.  

Arndt was one of the favourites for a medal and did not disappoint her German supporters. She had 11 wins during the season and finished with the World Cup leaders jersey. She rode strongly and will be one to watch for the road race. Arndt will want to repeat 2004 when she got a medal in the TT and then went on to win the road race.  

The Olympic silver medallist Emma Pooley was not expected to medal, the course was much flatter than she would like and finished in 8th place, 2 places higher than 2007.

The French champion Jeannie Longo, at the age of nearly 50, holds the French national road and time trial titles, she finished fourth in the time trial in the Olympic games but could only managed 13th in Varese.

Christiane Soeder of Austria was only fifth at the first intermediate check and had to work hard all the way. She passed Ellen Van Dijk in the last 1km and moved up to second over all.  

The Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong was only third at the first time check, with a time of 11 minutes 24.23 seconds. She gave it her all as she approached the finish but could only managed 5th 

Neben, sitting in the ‘hot seat’ for the fastest finisher, had been waiting in anticipation of Armstrong’s finish, covered her face for a brief second in relief, as Armstrong finish out of the medals.

The podium was filled with joy - each of the riders was happy with their position and their medals. Although she nearly held it together, Neben shed a small tear as the American flag was raised above the podium in Varese. With this performance, who could blame her? 

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Results - Top 10 - click here to see full result

Position Name Country Finish Time Time/Gap

km/hr

1 Amber Neben USA 33:51.350 44.571
2 Christiane Soeder Austria 33:58.910 0.07.56
3 Judith Arndt Germany 34:13.120 0.21.77
4 Tatiana Antoshina Russia 34:14.740 0.23.39
5 Kristin Armstrong USA 34:16.620 0.25.27
6 Karin Thürig Switzerland 34:21.340 0.29.99
7 Susanne Ljungskog Sweden 34:48.730 0.57.38
8 Emma Pooley Great Britain 34:48.870 0.57.52
9 Charlotte Becker Germany 34:54.670 1.03.32
10 Linda Villumsen Denmark 34:56.780 1.05.43

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Photos   Click on any image to enlarge >>

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