World Road Championships 2009
Road Race- Tatiana Guderzo breaks away for victory
Mendrisio -Mendrisio 124.2 km
Italian Tatiana Guderzo attacked on the final lap of the 13.8km circuit to win the 2009 World Road championship title.
In the sprint to the line for second and third, Noemi Cantele tried hard to make it a one two for Italy, but she could not hold off Marianne Vos (Netherlands).
The Swiss weather did not help the women in their early start to the race. A downpour early on, had left the roads slick, causing a number of early crashes. In the first few Kilometres the Australians had two riders down, Alexis Rhodes and Vicky Whitelaw which meant that both had to abandoned before the end of the race. Fortunately, it did dry up and this enabled the women to open up the race with constant attacks.
The first attack came from Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany), this was not the first for her and she tried a number of times and succeeded to stretch the legs of the peloton, she could not stay away however but the damage had been done. An early casualty of the pace was, the defending champion Nicole Cooke (GBR). She could not find the form of 2008 and suffered from an early mechanical that meant she had to chase back. Despite help from a couple of team mates, her lack of form, caused by virus mid-season, meant she abandoned with three laps to go.
As the first few laps ticked away, the American, Evelyn Stevens, took control of the climbs, setting a blistering pace on lap three, that split the 127 starters down to a bunch of 92 in the main group. Evident at the front of the race was Emma Pooley and team mates Sharon Laws and Lizzy Armitstead(GBR), who ensured they had constant vigil on the group and marked a number of attacks. This probably contributed to Pooley's inability to go with the final attack from Guderzo. The Italians, Fabiana Luperini and Luisa Tamanini worked hard to keep the pace high for their team. As did Martine Bras and Regina Bruins, riding for team mate and one of the pre-race favourites, Marianne Vos (NED), who kept herself safe towards the front of the bunch for most of the race.
The only Swiss rider left in the front group of the race with 5 laps to go was Nicole Brandli. Despite a number of attempts, she was not able to shake off the bunch. Brandli attacked on the decent from the Acqua Fresca climb but sat up when a group of 14 riders formed. The Dutch team, were evident on the front of the chase as Vos had missed the break. They closed the gap within a kilometre. The lone Swedish rider left in the front group was Emma Johansson.
With four laps to go, a number of teams, had the majority of their riders in the front of the bunch. The Italian team had four riders; Guderzo, Cantele, Fabiana Luperini and Monica Baccaille. The Americans also had four, Kristin Armstrong, Mara Abbott, Kimberly Anderson and Evelyn Stevens. The Dutch had a strong contingent of Vos, Andrea Bosman, Regina Bruins, Irene van den Broek and Loes Gunnewijk. The French who had for many years relied on the abilities of Jennie Longo-Ciprelli, who at nearly 51, showed that she still has the ability to compete at the top level, was joined by Christel Ferrier-Bruneau, Edwig Pitel, Sophie Creux and Julie Krasniak. The German team, who on paper were one of the strongest teams, had Judith Arndt, Trixi Worrack, Claudia Hausler and Charlotte Becker.
On the assent to Acqua Fresca, Pooley attacked but could not get away from the group and with 65.3 km to go the lead riders went over the top of the climb together. Laws led the way ahead of Ruth Corset (AUS), Pooley, Diana Zilute (LTU), Worrack, Arndt, Hausler, Brandli, Cantele and Guderzo. Longo, who had been at the back of the group on the climb, attacked on the decent and stretched the bunch over a 400m stretch of road. Longo could not hold the pace however and by the time the lead riders reached the climb to Novazzano, Luperini had moved to the front and attacked. Pooley, Corset and Hausler reacted to close in on Luperini. The damage had been done however and the lead group was diminished to 30 riders in the front group and only 60 overall in the race.
At the start of lap 6, Johansson suffered a puncture and had to chase back. By the time the lead group reached the climb to Acqua Fresca it had dwindled to 25. The pre-race favourites had made the group and on the decent, Arndt made her move to the front to set the pace. Baccaille chased and closed the gap. On the climb to Novazzano for the 6th time, Armstrong punctured and Anderson had to drop back to bring her back to the group. Cantele attacked on the decent and managed to quickly gain a 20 second advantage on the decent. This attack split the group again and the leading bunch was down to 19 chasers.
With two laps to go, Cantele had a 22 second lead as she crossed the start/finish. Arndt decided it was time to make a move to try to close the gap to Cantele on the climb to Acqua Fresca. Stevens (USA) followed closely by Armstrong chased and closed the gap. The chase group caught Arndt and Cantele just before the top of the climb. Abbot immediately counter attacked but was covered by Vos and Guderzo. On the decent, Arndt's speed had done considerable damage however and the lead group was down to 18 riders. Linda Vilumsen (DEN) used her time trialling skills to attack and managed to gain a small lead. She crossed the line 4 seconds ahead of the chase group as they started the final lap.
On the final assent of the Acqua Fresca climb, Guderzo attacked. Vos, Armstrong and Cantele were the only ones able to chase and this split the group. Cantele sat back to let Vos and Armstrong do all the chasing to Guderzo. By the time Guderzo reached the top of the Novazzano climb for the final time, she had a 17 second lead over the three chasers and 1 minute 10 over the remaining group of 11 riders.
By the time Guderzo reached the finish line, her lead was 19 seconds. Cantele tried to sprint for second but Vos was too strong. Armstrong was unable to get round Cantele.
Taitiana Guderzo (Italy) said in a very emotional state, "It is unbelievable, I felt so strong today, this is amazing for me and for Italy, Thanks to the team, they helped me up until the end," said Guderzo. "Noemi and I realised a dream." she added.
Marianne Vos (Netherlands) tried hard to close the gap to Guderzo but could not manage it, "When there were four in the break and there were two Italians I knew it would be hard to do anything, although it is another silver I am pleased with it," said Vos.
Noemi Cantele (Italy) reflected on her championships, "It has been a golden championships and two medals is wonderful, but the winner today was Italy and Guderzo," said Cantele
Kristin Armstrong (USA), winner of Thursday's time trial, finished fourth in her last race as a professional cyclist."I always want to medal, but it's the best result the Americans have had for many years," said Armstrong. "I hope this gives [other American riders] motivation for many years to come."
Ruth Corsett (Australia) was at her first World championships. She suffered a crash and a puncture and still managed to finish 12th, "I'm very pleased with how the team went and how much work the team did to get me up there. We did have a lot of bad luck right from the start with the crash on the first lap. I've had a good year and some good results. I was hoping to get a good result today but a bit of bad luck."
"At least I know where I am compared with the other girls and I'm looking forward to a good year next year. In the last lap there was an attack and because I'd had to chase back on twice I just had nothing left in the legs at all and the gap just opened up. On the first climb of second lap I crashed and my derailleur bent so my gears weren't working properly. Twice on the descent my chain got stuck. The first time Vicki [Whitelaw] chased to get me back up and then it happened again later on and Tiff [Cromwell] helped me get back up again. The second time I really thought that was it, because Tiff had to chase quite a bit to get me back up to the group again. Meanwhile, there was a break. I got to the second group and then managed to get to front group again but had spent so much energy so that when the break went on the last lap I had nothing left."
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