Posted by Editoress on 09/24/08
Road World Championships - Women's ITT Varese, ITA
The time trial events continued on Wednesday at the Road Worlds in Varese, Italy with the women's 25 kilometre event. American Amber Neben was the surprise winner, ahead of favoured Christiane Soeder (Austria) and Judith Arndt (Germany), while Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong (USA) could finish no higher than fifth. The two Canadians in the race both cracked the top-20, with Anne Samplonius finishing 11th and Julie Beveridge 17th.
Unlike Tuesday's Under-23 men's race, the women did not have to contend with wet and slippery roads; in fact the conditions were almost perfect.
Anne Samplonius, the fourth woman off, set the fast early time of 34:59.26, which would stand up for nearly half the field before Tatiana Antoshina (Russia) came in a full 45 seconds faster.
Samplonius was hoping for top-10, but not dissatisfied by missing it by one spot.
"I knew if I was having a really, really good day I could be top-10, and I was right there in the mix of it. This year I'm competitive, unlike the last couple of years, so missing top-10 by two and a half seconds is not a big deal."
"I rode the middle part of the course well, and didn't overextend myself on the climb so that i had something left for the end. But I also didn't prepare specifically for the time trial here, and it is becoming an event that you have to completely focus on. It's a specialty now, and maybe that is something that I can start to focus on."
Antoshina, in turn, held the lead spot for nine riders until Neben set what would prove to be the winning time of 33:51.35 . Arndt, three riders after Neben, was 22 seconds slower, while Soeder, the second from last rider came within seven and a half seconds.
Armstrong was the highest placed of the Olympic medalists, followed by bronze medal winner Karin Thurig (Switzerland) in sixth and silver medalist Emma Pooley (Great Britain) in eighth. Armstrong was as high as second after the second time check, but faded in the final ten kilometres.
For Neben, who has finished both fourth (2007) and fifth (2005) at the Worlds, it was the result she had been looking for her whole career.
"I don't have the words ... I can't speak ... it's a dream come true. When I was in the Hot Seat, there were still 13 riders to go, and I knew the calibre of the riders still to come, so I didn't get too excited. I was just praying, waiting, hoping ..."
"After the Olympics I went home , took a little break but still kept doing some training. I was totally focussed on this race, and I had a lot of motivation to do it. Then I came to Europe for an eight day block of racing, including Ardeche [which she won]."
"Everything has to come together, both your head and your body, and it is a fantastic feeling when it does."
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