World Road Championships 2011
Time Trial - Judith Arndt, World Time Trial Champion
Judith Arndt (Germany- HTC Highroad) edged her way from a succession of silver medals into the rainbow jersey she had dreamed of since her first medal in the event in 2007. Linda Villumsen (New Zealand -AA Drink) went one better than 2010 to take silver ahead of last years winner, Emma Pooley (GBR -Garmin Cervelo).
Fifty one riders started the technical 13.9km circuit in breezy and overcast conditions. This years Time Trial event was set to be one of the closest fought in its history. The improvement in women's cycling over the past few years, now sees some 20 riders who could have been in contention for a medal.
The Canadians set the early pace. Initially it was Rhae-Christie Shaw who sat in the hot seat [with reference to the area near the finish line where the top four riders have to sit], having completed the 27.8km course in a time of 37:46.61 after 15 riders had completed the course. It wasn't until Clara Hughes finished that this changed. Hughes complete the course 37:44.17.
The rain started to fall a little heavier as the last 25 riders started. It was not long before the top three places were being swapped out. Remaining in the lead however was Hughes. Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) rode strongly in the difficult conditions to initially sit in the silver medal position before finally slipping to 6th. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (GER) had a good ride and sat in fourth place for a while before finally dropping to 11th.
Hughes was finally knocked into third place when compatriot Tara Whitten completed the course in a time of 37:33.54. The lead was to change quickly over the next ten minutes as the favourite riders started to finish. Moving into first place was former Dane, Linda Villumsen (New Zealand). Villumsen was in fourth at the half way point but pushed it hard in the second half, completing the course in 37:29.11.
The rain finally stopped and the roads dried a little. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) had started incredibly fast completing the first 100m quicker than any other rider. Vos paid quickly for her early pace and eventually finished in 10th position. The Swedish time trial champion Emilia Fahlin ad a good ride finishing 9th overall. With some very accomplished riders still out on the course including the remaining podium from 2010 in Arndt and Pooley. All eyes were on the split times out on the course. Arndt completed the first lap in third place, Pooley in second.
The second lap was the deciding factor in determining the final podium. All three riders gave it everything and having scoped out the corners on the first lap, they all took less caution on the second.
Judith Arndt (Germany -HTC Highroad) completed the ride of her life to finally secure the coveted World Time Trial Championship, "I can't believe it, this is a very emotional win," said Arndt. "I have been chasing this medal for many years. I gained my first medal in the Time Trial in 1997, since then I have been trying to win the gold medal. I can't tell you how much it means to me. It is a long time goal and finally it worked out." added Arndt.
Unlike the majority of the riders, Arndt had chosen not to wear a radio, "I don't like to have noise in my ear. I prefer to concentrate on my own race. I tried to have a perfect race. I just concentrated on myself, this works for me. I only knew how I was going when I crossed the line to start lap two. I looked up and saw the time and knew that I was going ok. I had planned to put the hammer down on the second lap and knew I was going well. When I finished I looked up and saw "1", I was really dizzy and I could not believe that it had finally happened, I am overwhelmed," said an emotional Arndt.
Arndt was asked it she believed she could win, especially given her recent form in Time trials, "I though I had a good chance. No everyone was riding the ones I had one recently. Van Dijk and Vos the Dutch girls I really though would medal here especially in the conditions and neither of them were on the podium. I really wasn't sure what the wins meant in the last few weeks. Today everyone was here and I won again," reflected Arndt.
Looking forward to next years Worlds and the introduction of a Team Time Trial, Arndt was asked if she would be chasing that medal, "The Team Time Trial is the next big goal for me. I think it is very attractive. You of course need to be a good time trial rider but an average time trial rider can be a good in the team time trial. I only plan to wait one year to try to get that medal though," smiled Arndt.
Linda Villumsen (New Zealand -AA Drink) had torn allegiances this week having been born in Denmark and represented them for many years before moving over to New Zealand last year. "This is 50/50 Danish and New Zealand," said Villumsen. "I did not know I was so close, I saw the first time split and realised it was good. I knew that there were a lot of really good riders to come and I hoped I could keep up my speed on the second lap and I did," added Villumsen. "I tested out the corning on the first lap and I knew which ones I could go full on in the second. I am very happy with silver."
Reflecting on the pressure of riding a World Championship in Denmark in New Zealand colours and the future, Villumsen said, "It has taken Judith a while to win gold hopefully I can do it a bit quicker but going one better than last year is a step closer," Villumsen said.
"It was terrible over the last few days. I was so nervous about racing here. My brother has been around me and some great friend and the team has been great. It was amazing out on the road hearing my name from the crowds. I could not imaging this. When you hear your name so many times it inspired you in your heart to go faster. New Zealand has taken real care of me, it is great to give back to them with this medal too."
Emma Pooley (GBR - Garmin-Cervelo) did not have aspirations that she could replicate the gold from 2010 on such a flat course and was therefore very happy with her bronze medal. "I was hoping for a top 10, so getting on the podium here is a real surprise. Judith deserves this win," said Pooley.
"I have only beaten Judith a few times. Last year I would have been lucky to be in the top 10 on this course so I an genuinely very pleased with third. I looks like a worse result but in reality it is a great result. I have improved my time trialling and can take a lot from that." added Pooley.
Shara Gillow (Australia) was hoping to go better than her 9th in 2010. Initially it looked like she was going to do this but slipped down the order eventually finishing 12th. "I tried to get into the rhythm on the first lap. I got into a better rhythm on the second lap but conditions were hard. It was pretty windy in some sectors and really fast in others. It was an interesting course, the first few riders had the best conditions and then the last few managed to get some dry conditions at the end which would have gone in their favour," said Gillow.
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany) started steady and moved herself into fourth overall before eventually finishing 11th, "Conditions were hard. A lot of the turns were affected by the wind gusts. The weather was ok, everyone had to deal with that. The first lap wasn't as windy as the second lap. The rain stopped so it got windy again. The last riders probably have the toughest conditions because it got windy again and the roads were wet," said Teutenberg.
Looking towards the road race on Saturday, Teutenberg reflected on her preparation, "I think this took the nerves away a little. Before the start it got a bit hectic, I hope that this has just calmed me down for Saturday," added Teutenberg.
Rhae-Christie Shaw (Canada) was riding her first World Championship and could not have been happier with her performance. A 7th place finish was more than she could ever have hoped for, "This is my first season road cycling, I come from Triathlon and this is my first World Championships. I came here to have my best possible ride and I am just ecstatic to be sitting up her on the hot seat area for so long. I am just so excited," said Shaw.
Clara Hughes (Canada) was riding her first World Championships since 1999. She sat in the hot seat for almost an hour, before moving down to 5th, "It was a lot longer than waiting for speed skates to finish. Even the longest event the 5000m you don't have to sit so long. This is so hard. It is a time trial and I gave it everything I could," said Hughes.
"I am so happy to be here, this is my first championships since 1999. I had a good ride, I didn't crash, that was my main goal. Especially when it started raining. I was caution on the first lap like everyone else I think. I am just so happy to be back. It is so different now. There are so many more people interested in bike racing now and a bike is a lot harder to learn to use than a pair of speed skates. It is all a learning curve again but I am so happy to be back representing Canada, I see it as a gift and I am enjoying every minute of being able to do that again, " added Hughes.
Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) dreamt of a medal but took satisfaction that she gave it her all, "I know I missed the medals but I came here to give it my best and I believe I did. It isn't quite top 5 but 6th is a great result for me," said van Dijk. "I really worked hard towards these championship, I knew it was flat and it was my best chance to do well," added van Dijk.
Looking towards the road race, van Dijk will not be riding but said, "I hope that Marianne [Vos] can get rids of her second places. She is such a talented rider and she deserves to win the gold again."
Tara Whitten (Canada) gave it everything and even though she did not get a medal, she was very happy with her own performance and that of her team mates, "It is a great set of results for the team. To have Clara [Hughes] back into the sport has really pushed the rest of us to step up and get better. To have Rhae [Shaw] to come in and finish top 10 just one year out from the Olympics is great for the depth of riders Canada is starting to build," said Whitten.
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>[2011_ChangedCopy/Gallery2011/WorldRoad/TT/PhotoIndex.html]
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