Road World Cup 2009
Open de Suede, 132km
weather in Sweden was favourable to the riders for their second World Cup
in 3 days. After a cool and windy team time trial which was under constant
threat of rain, the road race took place in warm and bright conditions
with little wind. World Cup series leader. Emma Johansson (Red Sun
Cycling), started the race 43 points ahead of next-placed, Marianne Vos
(DSB Bank). With 75 points available to the winner, there was everything
to ride for between these two.
first half of the 12 lap, 132 kilometre race was relatively quiet.
Charlotte Becker (Equipe Nurnberger) escaped on her own up the climb after
3 laps, but was soon brought back into the bunch. There was no other
attack of any consequence until almost the halfway point. Noemi Cantele
(Bigla Cycling Team) and Regina Bruins (Cervelo Test Team) strung the
bunch out in a long line when they accelerated on the rolling hills at the
‘back’ of the course, about three kilometres from the start / finish
line. This caused a break in the bunch which began an exercise in stamina
for those with hopes of victory in the bunch.
the second half of the race, the bunch was stretched into a line which
would break; gaps appeared and were bridged at points all around the
circuit. With four laps to go, it seemed that the ‘elastic’ had
snapped. There were two definite groups, both almost equal sized and with
ninety seconds between them. Cervelo Test Team had taken to the front,
with Christiane Soeder doing a lot of work to keep the pace high. However,
within a lap and with only 3 laps (33 kilometres) remaining, the two
groups were one bunch again.
Soeder and her Cervelo Test Team team-mates attacked again. Kristin
Armstrong and Regina Bruins also took their turns to wind up the pace
throughout the next lap and a half. With twenty kilometres remaining, the
damage was done and once more, the race had broken into two parts. This
time, the initial selection had been made. A group of 31 riders were left
to battle for the win. In addition to the Cervelo Test Team, World Cup
leader, Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) and series contender, Marianne
Vos (DSB Bank) were there. The major teams were also represented; Equipe
Nurnberger, Team Columbia-HTC, Team Flexpoint, Bigla Cycling Team and
Selle Italia Ghezzi all had at least two riders in the leading group.
pace was much higher again in the closing lap and a half. Cervelo Test
Team rode close-to, or at the front of the break. The pace and the
repetition of the climb were taking their toll and as the race entered the
final ten kilometres, more tired riders began to slip backwards. At the
front, there were attacks even though the high pace made such an effort
difficult. A smaller group of fifteen to twenty riders was left to contend
the few, closing kilometres and the sprint.
As they turned into the main finishing straight, Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) was behind Kirsten Wild (Cervelo Test Team). Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) was also there with Monica Holler (Bigla Cycling Team). Along the finishing straight, Vos accelerated on the wheel of her compatriot and came from behind the shelter of Wild and squeezed forwards to win. She gave a victory salute only after the finishing line, such was the narrow margin of her win. Wild was a close second, Johansson third and Holler fourth.
place was enough to keep Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) in the World Cup
leader’s jersey by three points for the next round in Plouay (France) at
the end of August. It had been a calculated sprint from the Swede who said
after the team time trial that she did not want to give the jersey up and
that it would be a hard battle in this race.
Vos (DSB Bank) “It was great to win. It was a hard
race. In the first few laps you think, ‘it’s a good circuit, its not
so hard’ but in the last five or six laps you start to feel the climb
and of course, the high speed. But I felt good and I thought that maybe
when it comes to a sprint I had a chance. I saw that Cervelo were working
for the sprint and I had to stay focussed because of the attacks on the
climb. But then I made it into the sprint. It was pretty weird in the last
kilometre. I was ‘sandwiched’ and then I nearly bumped onto the kerb
and so I had some sprints before the sprint. Then I saw Kirsten [Wild]
and I came into the straight on the wheel of Kirsten. That was the best
position I could have had. We were side by side and sprinting as hard as
we could and in the last twenty metres I managed to come over her.”
Johansson (Red Sun Cycling) World Cup leader “I
knew I had to be third, if Marianne won, to keep the jersey. Three points,
its not much, but I still get to ride in the jersey one more time.”
Her analysis of the race provided an insight into the team tactics
which came to play: “I
didn’t have a super day today. The circuit was hard and there was not so
much wind, which I had been hoping for. It was just too hard to ride away.
I think Cervelo were riding for a sprint [finish] and when they
start riding for a sprint you just know its going to happen. I thought
maybe a smaller group could go, but then I realised it was going to be a
sprint and I think Marianne [Vos] knew too and she started saving
herself for a sprint. She was so strong today and Kirsten Wild too.”
more to follow
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