UCI Road World Championships 2012
Junior Road Race
Lucy Garner (GBR ) becomes Junior World Road Champion again. Eline Brustad (NOR) was second for silver ahead of Anna Striker (ITA) who secured the bronze.
81 junior woman competed the 5 laps of the 16,1 km long course, that included two climbs, the Bemelerberg (900 meters long, max 7%) and Cauberg (1,5 km, max 12%). The second of which was the decisive one in the race.
British rising star, Lucy Garner the 2011 Junior Road champion was looking for her second rainbow jersey .The reigning European champion ensured she was positioned well each lap. The Dutch juniors, Ashlynn van Baarle and Kirsten Coppens and Demi de Jong, younger sister of Rabobank rider Thalita de Jong who was third in the ITT tried to position themselves well. The Belgian favourite Lotte Kopecky worked hard to break up the race as the Polish, Italian and Australian teams.
The Australians, Georgia Baker, Jessica Mundy, Allison Rice and Emily Roper (who are coached by former 2004 Olympic Champion Sarah Carrigan, who rode her first junior world championships on the Valkenburg course in 1998, finishing 4th), tried to break up the race early on.
The five lap 80.5km race, was a fast and action packed with the 12% Cauberg climb just before the finish line deciding the race. After a steady first half of the opening lap the women's field split for the first time on the Bemelerberg.
The French team which included Eva Mottet, daughter of the famous French former pro Charly Mottet lost some riders including Mottet when the attack went on the first time up the Bemelerberg.
A leading group of 17 riders formed at the front of the race as they approach the Cauberg for the first time. A number of other riders were chasing hard and closed the gap at the end of the first lap, which was completed in 26 minutes 16 seconds, Poland were well represented at the front of the race, Lucja Pietrzak, Russian Anastasia Lakovenko and Germany Corinna Lechner led the bunch across the line. Garner crossed well positions in 7th wheel.
At the end of lap 2, Demi de Jong (Netherlands) led a group of 58 riders across the line with a small group of 8 riders chasing hard to get back in touch that included two of the British team, Jessie Walker and Emily Kay. On the Bemelerberg, an attack from Alexandra Nessmar (Sweden) was covered by Eleanor Barker (GBR), Katsiaryna Piatrouskaya (BLR) and Alison Rice (AUS).
As the peloton started the third ascent of the Cauberg, two Russians attacked. Kristina Savelyeve and Anastasia Iakovenko were quickly chased by the bunch. At the end of lap 3, 53 riders were left in the leading group.
Half way roun lap 4, an attack of Russian Lakovenko was nipped in the bud. The Dutch controlled the bunch with Corine van der Zijden leading the group approaching the Bemelerberg for the fourth time.
The race split again on the Cauberg when three groups of riders formed with a leading group of 27 riders on the front. Going through the finish line for the last time, they had a 9 second advantage.
The race came back together a little on the descent. The Netherlands had Kirsten Coppens and Janine van der Meer in the front group. Belgium was represented by Jessy Druyts, Lotte Kopecky and Kate van der Meulen. Lucy Garner was also from the front, but the reigning world champion only had Elinor Barker with her.
The leading group of 27 were chased by 5 riders as the approached the Bemelerberg climb nine kilometres from the finish. Italy led the pack with three women. Belgium and Russia tried hard to break up the group. The Dutch team were also trying hard to break up the race. The leaders were all together on the Cauberg with 1km to go.
Britain Elinor Barker newly crowned Junior ITT led team mate Garner out for the final 900m allowing Garner to pull round with 100m to go. Garner was clear on the line to secure back to back Junior world road titles.
Lucy Garner (GBR) was overjoyed to have completed the tough Dutch course with another world junior title."Elinor [Barker] gave me the perfect lead out and new I could finish it off," said Barker. "The race panned out just as I thought it would. a few riders were quite nervous early on which is why we saw a few crashes. As the race went on the pace got a bit higher and everyone settled down. The pace just kept going really and my team looked after me really well for the whole race. It was definitely how i wanted the race to go," added Garner.
The final sprint was a larger group than had been expected, Garner was asked how she imagined the final run into the finish would turn out, "I had built it up a bit, I thought it was going to be tougher than it was. It still was a tough climb and there were a lot of girls pushing over the climb, not just attacking and stopping they were keeping going and keeping the speed going. You just needed to position yourself well. Luckily I managed to do that."
Elinor Barker gave Garner the perfect lead out, the newly crowned junior time trial champion took control with 900m to go. Garner was asked if that was the plan, "Yes that was the plan. I could not have asked for a better person to have led me out. She was so powerful. She went with 1km to go, which is a long way to go, especially because she was on her own doing it. She managed to hold the other teams off and just carry me to the line," added Garner.
Garner like many of the British riders is very frustrated with the lack of a British sponsored Women's professional team, "Of course I would love to be part of a British pro team, we have such talent in the UK. I am looking for a team for next season. I know I need to move to Europe. I have finished college now so I want to concentrate on fully my cycling to see how it goes. I want to just keep enjoying it," said Garner. "While there are no UCI teams in Great Britain which is unfortunate. The amount of great riders we have, it is a shame, we just have to try to get what we can," said Garner.
Bradley Wiggins was interviewed this week an stated he was keen to get a British Women's team going, "That would be great. The amount of talent we have is amazing for the GB women's team. We just have to see what happens. It [British women's cycling] has progressed so much. I can remember when cycling was just not cool in Great Britain. Now it is something that everyone watches and really gets into. It is definitely progressing so a women's team has to happen soon."
Eline Brustad (Norway) was a surprised silver medalist, "I am rally happy. It was so unexpected. I am really, really happy," said Brustad. This is a great result for Norway, "It is the best result of any Norwegian junior women," added Brustad.
Anna Stricker (Italy) was a little disappointed with Bronze, "It was hard today. I tried hard in the last 100m to position myself but Lucy was too strong," said Stricker.
With the World championships back in Italy next year, Stricker was excited, "In Italy the level is high so it will be difficult for me. We have some good riders, Bronzini and Guderzo are still strong. I am a good athlete and I will do my best and try to get to get a good team next year to gain some more experience in my first year," said Stricker.
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