World Road Championships 2008
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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