UCI Road World Championships 2013
Individual Time Trial
Florence 22.06 km
Ellen van Dijk (NED) powered round the 22.06km course to dominate the individual time trial. Linda Villumsen (NZL) was second ahead of Carmen Small (USA).
Conditions were warm and a little breezy for the start of the 22.06km course from Frienze Casine to the finish across the river. The course started with a long loop around the park at Le Cascine, before the riders headed for the historic streets at the heart of Florence. The course took the riders past the Duomo before finishing in the shadow of the Stadio Artemio Franchi on the edge of town. With two intermediate time checks are after 12.6km and 17.4km, Danish rider Annika Langvad who is normally a Mountain biker, posted the early fastest time 28 minutes 27.69 seconds.The Dane was over a minute ahead of everybody else in the early stages of the competition.
Loes Gunnewijk (NED) was 17.57 seconds down at the first Intermediate check point but dropped to 32 seconds at the second but managed to finish quick and sat in second place for a while before, Italian Elisa Longo Borghini who, had recently returned to racing after her fractured hip finished faster and sat in 2nd place at the finish. Evie Stevens and Carmen Small (USA), Linda Villunsen (New Zealand) and Ellen van Dijk all posted fast times similar to Langvad in the opening few kilometres.
Swede Gana Solovey posted a quick time. She finished second fastest 28:30.66 for a while. Trixi Worrack posted a 29 minute 19.84 second time to place herself in first place with nine riders to finish. Villumsen was 4 seconds faster than Small at first intermediate check point. It was a good day for Specialized Lululemon, American Carmen Small finished fastest in a time of 28.16.92 but out on the course van Dijk was looking really strong. Villumsen set the fastest intermediate time before Van Dijk reached the point much quicker.
With only two riders left to finish, the standings, were 1,2 3 Specialized Lululemon, Small, Stevens and Worrack. Villumsen finmoved briefly into first place before Ellen van Dijk finished in a time of 27 minutes 48.18 seconds +24.10 faster than Villumsen with Small 28.74 seconds back for Bronze.
Ellen Van Dijk (NED) was all smiles as she secured her second gold medal. Van Dijk had a few tears on the podium but was all smiles in the press conference, "I'm super happy. It's difficult to describe how I feel now. I'm so excited because I dreamt so long of this one and the pressure was high to finish it off. It's great to have won," Van Dijk said.
van Dijk went out of the ramp much faster than any other rider and by the time she hit the first intermediate time spot, she was just over 20 seconds ahead of Villumsen and 25 secondsbyt the second, "My intention was to start fast but I wanted to keep going a bit longer than I did. I maybe got over excited and a went too fast, but I maintained the time difference and so it was all ok." Van Dijk knew this was the course for her. She had prepared well and had ridden the course twice in August, braving the Florence streets at 5.30am, "We rode the course and videoed it, I have watched it 10 million times," added van Dijk. "It is also the time when they clean the streets and I almost crashed into a street sweeper," reflected van Dijk.
Linda Villumsen (NZL) started the season late and was a little disappointed not to have secured a gold medal after 5 previous medals (2 silver and 3 bronze), "A place on the podium is still nice. I go close every year but something is missing. I'll try to work it out and go all the way to the top perhaps next year."
Carmen Small (USA) rounded out the podium after a superb ride, "It's a very bittersweet feeling for me. Evie is a good friend, a teammate and a fellow countryman. We've spent a lot of time together this season and it's hard to have been beaten and have it be so close," she said. Small was asked if she thought the ride would be so close, "I knew that it was going to be a close race but never doubted that Ellen would win. She's incredibly strong. I've been fortunate to be her teammate all season. She's special and has worked so hard. She deserves it."
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