Women's World Cup Embrach
Switzerland, September 26, 1999
Report from Kristy Scrymgeour:
Well, I don't know if the Women's World Cup Series could have had a more exciting finale. It was held today in Embrach, Switzerland in extremely wet conditions on a 20km hilly circuit. The pressure was on both Anna Wilson to try and take the overall victory from Hanka Kupfernagel, and for Hanka to protect her lead of 18 points. Anna needed either to win the race or to come 2nd with Hanka not finishing higher than 4th place.
The race started in dry conditions and Clara Hughes (Canada) attacked from the gun to stay away for almost a lap before being caught by a bunch of 15. Eventually the race regrouped and the counter-attacks began. Alessandra Cappellotto got a good gap after the sprint prime and Lyne Bessette bridged the gap to join her in what could have been a very promising move.
The rain started to fall and it was time for the Australians to bring back the break. Cappellotto came across some bad luck and crashed on the a slippery corner, leaving Lyne out there alone with a 1 minute lead. The Australians (Liz Tadich; Alison Wright; Juanita Feldhahn, Tracey Gaudry; Sara Carrigan and Kym Shirley) worked hard and closed the gap to Lyne with 3 laps to go. The pressure was constantly on up the climb and down the slippery descent and a break of 6 girls eventuated. It consisted of Anna Wilson; Hanka Kupfernagel; Vera Hohlfeld (Germany); Elsbeth Vink (Holland); Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden); and Arenda Grimberg (Holland) and stayed intact for the remainder of the race.
Coming into the final straight Anna was feeling extremely nervous. "All I was thinking was that I'd better win", she said. "There were two Dutchies in the break, so I had to follow if one of them attacked. If somebody else attacked I could rely on the dutch girls to bring it back".
A huge crowd stood in the wet weather to watch the final sprint and the Aussie sector went wild as Anna crossed the line half a bike length in front of Hanka. Anna won the race and therefore won the World Cup Series. The excitement was enormous, "I was screaming and didn't know whether to cry or not" said Anna. James Victor (Australian Women's National Coach) couldn't keep the smile off his face, "It all came together perfectly", he said.
To top it all off for the Australian Team, after doing a lot of work in the big chase early in the race, Tracey Gaudry managed to come across the line in 12th place putting her in 3rd place in the World Cup overall.
A great day for the Australians. The celebration has already begun at the home of Walter and Doris Egli who have put up with a lot of loud Aussies for the whole week leading up to the race.
Now on to Verona, Italy to prepare for the world championships in two weeks time.
Double victory for Anna Wilson
By Tomas Nilsson, cyclingnews.com correspondent
In the Swiss World Cup final, Australian rider Anna Wilson took two victories in one - not only was she first over the finish line after 126 kilometers, she also gained enough World Cup points to win the Cup when she out sprinted her main rival in the race and in the Cup, Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany.
"Well, I just don't have the fastest legs. One cannot be best in everything," said Hanka Kupfernagel who punctured on the last lap and had to put in quite an effort to get back to the top sextet that had formed with 25 kms to go.
Wilson did not take advantage of Kupfernagel's wheel change but stayed cool even when Kupfernagel's compatriot, but not team mate, Vera Hohlfeld attacked 1200 meters before the line.
"There were two Dutch riders (Grimberg and Fink) in the group so I didn't expect her to make it," said Anna Wilson who launched the sprint at 500 meters and won clearly.
Before the race Kupfernagel was leading Wilson in the WC by 18 points, so Anna still had a good chance of winning the overall, providing she finished far enough in front of the German. However, a victory gives 75 points while the second place is worth 50, so her victory was more than enough. Tracey Gaudry's 13th place gave her enough points to finish 3rd overall in the standings.
It was a fantastic result for the Australians, and of course for Australian cycling, and the whole team will be aiming now for a good result at the World's.
Commentary by Anna Wilson:
Today we raced the final World Cup race for 1999. Going into the race, Kupfernagel was leading the World Cup. I was 18 points behind in second place. If I won the race I would gain enough points to win the World Cup overall. If I placed second then I needed Kupfernagel to place 4th or worse in order to win the overall and if I was less then second then Kupfernagel would have to finish a long way down for me to take the overall title.
The course was 6 laps of a 20 km circuit with a steep 2 km climb each lap and a very technical descent that ended with only 2 kms to go to the finish line. The day was wet and cold - a bit miserable. But once the race started I was warm enough and didn't really think about the weather.
From the gun, Clara Hughes (Canada) attacked and established a gap. A Russian rider set out after her but never got across. The Russian was swallowed on the first climb but Clara stayed away. The bunch stayed mostly together over the first climb but split on the descent. A bunch of about 15 riders got a gap - including me. We caught Clara Hughes and then the rest of the peloton all regrouped again.
Shortly afterwards, Cappellotto attacked and Lyne Bessette got across. They established a dangerous breakaway. On the descent, Cappellotto crashed and left Lyne Bessette away solo. Lyne is such a strong rider that I was concerned. After we crested the climb for the third time with Lyne still holding us at about 40 seconds I asked all my team-mates to chase. It was a wonderful sight to see 6 Australians on the front - Sara Carrigan, Alison Wright, Liz Tadich, Juanita Feldhahn all chasing along with Tracey Gaudry, even though she was technically riding for the Ebly team. I sat on the back in awe of the commitment being displayed.
The Australian team time trial soon caught Lyne Bessette and we approached the climb for the fourth time. This time Jeannie Longo set a fast pace into the climb and Polkanova hit the climb hard. I climbed right at my limit the whole way up and got to the top in a group of about 14 riders. I was the only Australian there, while Kupfernagel had three of her team-mates. Kupfernagel's team began driving the group - I wasn't sure why. It proved to be pointless as we were soon caught from behind. I then had to rely on my team-mates once again to keep the group together going into the climb. The fifth time up the climb, Luperini attacked and took Elizabeth Bruneel with her. By the top, a small group of us caught the two attackers. On the descent a group of 6 got a gap of 15 seconds. I was in the group along with Kupfernagel, Vera Hohlfeld, Suzanne Longsjog, Elsbeth Vink and another young Dutch rider. The Dutch were particularly committed to the break and worked hard. Kupfernagel and I rolled through but not too hard - we were watching each other too closely!
Gradually, our break got more and more time. By the bottom of the final climb, we had one minute 24 seconds. Vera set a good pace up the climb and we crested together. With 1200 meters to go Vera attacked. I waited for the Dutch to chase since they had two in the break. They didn't let me down and they soon caught Vera. With 500 to go, the young Dutch rider attacked and got a gap and I got very worried. Vera came to the rescue and chased her down. That provided a perfect lead out for me and I opened up the sprint. I went as hard as I could for the line and was in disbelief as I crossed the line first. Unbelievable - I am the World Cup Champion for 1999!
Tracey managed to finish 12th even after the chasing she did for me. A great ride which gave her third overall in the World Cup. Kupfernagel finished second in the race and second overall in the World Cup.
So, a fantastic finish to the World Cup series for me and for the Australian team.
Now only 8 days till the World Championship time trial and then another 4 days till the Worlds Road Race.
Embrach, 123 kms 1. Anna Wilson (Aus) Team Australia 3:18.35 2. Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) The Greenery Hawk Team 3. Arenda Grimberg (Ned) Team Netherland 4. Elisabeth Vink (Ned) Team Netherland 5. Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Team Sweden 6. Vera Hohlfeld (Ger) Gas Sport Team 7. Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Team Netherland 1.02 8. Chantal Beltmann (Ned) Team Netherland 9. Heidi Van De Vijver (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 Ladies 10. Susy Pryde (Nzl) Gs Omt-lorina 11. Anke Erlank (Rsa) Gs Omt-lorina 12. Yvonne Schnorf (Sui) Team Switzerland 13. Tracy Gaudry (Aus) Team Ebly 14. Elisabeth Chevanne-brunel (Fra) C.a. Mantes La Ville 15. Monica Valen (Nor) Team Norway 1.18 16. Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) Team Sweden 17. Marie Höljer (Swe) Team Sweden 18. Sanna Lehtimaki (Fin) The Greenery Hawk Team 19. Priska Doppmann (Sui) Team Switzerland 20. Sigrid Corneo (Ita) S.c. Master Automazione 21. Marion Brauen (Sui) Team Switzerland 22. Solarun Flataas (Nor) Team Norway 23. Birgit Söllner (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger - Emmi 24. Valentina Guerassimova (Rus) The Greenery Hawk Team 25. Cindy Pieters (Bel) Vlaanderen 2002 Ladies 26. Lenka Ilavska (Svk) Lokomotiva Presov 27. Bettina Schöke (Ger) Red Bull Frankfurt 28. Chantal Daucourt (Sui) Team Switzerland 29. Marcia Eicher-vouets (Sui) S.c. Master Automazione 30. Alison Sydor (Can) Team Canada 31. Valentina Polkhanova (Rus) The Greenery Hawk Team 32. Juanita Feldhahn (Aus) Team Australia 33. Annie Gariepy (Can) Team Canada 34. Leigh Hobson (Can) Team Canada 35. Wenche Stensvold (Nor) Team Norway 36. Meike De Bruijn (Ned) Greenery Hawk Team 37. Alison Wright (Aus) Team Australia 1.24 38. Susan Carter (Gbr) Team Great Britain 39. Sara Carrigan (Aus) Team Australia 1.48 40. Edith Klep (Ned) Team Netherland 2.17 41. Ghita Beltmann (Ned) Team Netherland 2.53 42. Jorunn Kvalo (Nor) Team Norway 2.58 43. Ragnhild Kostol (Nor) Team Norway 44. Valeria Cappellotto (Ita) Gas Sport Team 6.22 45. Kim Shirley (Aus) Team Australia 7.18 46. Sarah Symington (Gbr) Team Great Britain 10.55 47. Marika Murer (Sui) Team Switzerland 48. Elisabeth Tadich (Aus) Team Australia 49. Rosalind Reekie-may (Nzl) Gs Omt-lorina 11.29 50. Akemi Morimoto (Jpn) Team Japan 13.18 51. Miho Oki (Jpn) Team Japan 15.47 52. Ayumu Otsuka (Jpn) Team Japan 53. Michelle Ward (Gbr) Team Great Britain 19.34 54. Annette Beutler (Sui) Red Bull Frankfurt 20.37 55. Malgorrata Wysocka (Pol) Team Polen 26.22 56. Line Lykke-meyer Nielsen (Den) Team Denmark 27.38 57. Julie Pekarkova (Cze) Lokomotiva Presov 58. Kaori Iida (Jpn) Team Japan 36.28 59. Alena Barillova (Svk) Lokomotiva Presov 38.00 60. Marie Kolarikova (Cze) Lokomotiva Presov 61. Maiken Jorgensen (Den) Team Denmark 39.24