Posted by Editoress on 10/12/02
Road Cycling World Championships 2002 Zolder, Belgium
Elite Women's Road Race - 128km
Reports are brought to you with the assistance of:
Velotron and Peak Centre for Human Performance
Photos from Saturday's races.
This has not been a good championship for Canada's elite women. Today in the road race the Canadian top finisher was Sue Palmer-Komar well back in 66th place, 1:54 behind the winner, Sweden's Suzanne Ljungskog.
Canada's hopes suffered a blow before the start of the women's event when favoured Genevieve Jeanson had to drop out due to an Achilles tendon injury she aggravated earlier in the week during the time trial event. Then, 3 laps into the 10 lap race, Lyne Bessette locked wheels with Jolanta Polikeviucite and dropped out less then a lap later after a slow wheel change put her too far back to regain contact with the main group.
"I am disappointed, I am mad. I came here to race and this is a poor way to exit."
As an aside, there have been numerous complaints about the slowness of Shimano's neutral service.
Another significant dropout was Petra Rossner, who crashed hard in the third lap, scrapping up her face pretty badly.
The remaining two Canadians in the race, Palmer-Komar and Katy St-Laurent, both rode towards the back of the peloton and were caught behind a number of crashes. "it was hard out there, like being behind a motorbike all day." said Palmer-Komar. "I wanted to be at the front, I wanted to be part of the race, but I didn't have the legs today. This course wasn't suited to our strengths, and the Worlds are always a bit of a lottery. You need some luck to do well at Worlds, which we didn't have today."
St-Laurent, the national champion, who is attending her first Worlds, was caught behind a crash on the 7th lap, and never regained contact with the peloton, eventually finishing 89th.
"It was very hard, and I think the biggest problem is that I don't have enough experience. I was always falling back in the corners; everyone was going by me there. When they crashed in front of me I chased, but the gap was too big. This is my first season, so I think that this was a good experience for me, and I learned that I have to train much more!"
It was a final large crash shortly before the last lap that set the stage for the finish. Madeleine Lindberg (Sweden) went down, holding up nearly three-quarters of the pack, including Palmer-Komar. At the same time, Nicole Brandli (Sui), Joane Somarriba (Esp) and Sara Corrigan (Aus) attacked off the front, gaining a quick 15 seconds.
As they entered the final lap, it began to rain, first lightly and then more heavily, making the road even more treacherous, and forcing the chasers to slow their pursuit. A crash at the front just as Ljungskog was attacking opened the door for her to get clear. She made the most of her opportunity, speeding up to the front trio very quickly. Once she was there, the four riders worked well together, gaining a 20 second advantage on the split up and disorganized field behind. In the finish, Ljungskog was clearly the strongest, going to the front and just winding up the speed all the way to the line, with Brandli and Somarriba just hanging on to their positions behind.
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