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Columbia HTC Women

Team Columbia-HTC tackle two World Cups in three days

Columbia-HTC's women's team is poised to tackle two World Cup events in three days this weekend, the Vargarda team time trial in Sweden on July 31st and the road race in the same city on August 2nd.  "They're both hilly events, but the really big factor in Swedish races is always the wind," says Columbia-HTC's Linda Villumsen.  "If it's really windy, it's easy for the bunch to shatter in the road race and it makes it much harder in the team time trial." 

The recent winner of the Tour of Thuringen in Germany , Villumsen says she's in good shape, but that Friday's 41.5-kilometre team time trial will be stressful all the same.  "We've got a great squad for it, even though we're missing Judith [Arndt, injured] and she's usually a key element in our line-up for this kind of event.  But you do feel nervous, because you're not just looking after yourself and you have to remember the whole team.  And just because you're a great individual time triallist, that doesn't mean you'll do well in the team event. It's a very different discipline." 

As for the 132-kilometre-long road race on Sunday, Villumsen says "The wind could split it apart from the gun. Then it'll become very tactical.  There's one climb on the [11km] circuit for the race, but it's not too tough.  The descent, though, is quite dangerous.  I went round it today and there are a couple of tricky corners, one just before a roundabout." 

Villumsen says there's no question of holding something back in the team time trial because of Sunday's road-race.  "It would be different if it was the other way round and the road race came first.  But this way you've got time to recover. Some riders even do interval training on Saturday." 

"In any case, everybody will be going full gas for sure on Friday," Columbia-HTC manager Petra Rossner points out that "you're only ever as strong as your weakest rider in a team time trial.  We took second here last year so we know we can do well, but we'll check out the route tomorrow.  As for Sunday, anything could happen.  It's a very tricky route. It could be a bunch sprint or it could be a breakaway."  

Rossner said "the build-up for the two races has not been ideal for all the Columbia-HTC riders.  American Kim Anderson 's passport and laptop have been stolen so she won't be able to reach the team hotel until Thursday evening. We've had a lot of bad luck this year with injuries and crashes and unfortunately it seems like it's continuing.  But we proved in Thuringen that we could still fight back, and we'll be doing that again this weekend." 

Columbia-HTC for Vargarda Team Time Trial (July 1st) and Road Race (August 1st): Kim Anderson (USA); Chantal Beltman (Hol); Emilia Fahlin (Den); Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger); Ellen Van Dijk (Hol); Linda Villumsen (Den).

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