Saturday 13 October - 13:00 - Elite Women's Road Race - 121 km (10 laps)

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Lithuanian steam train rolls Longo for 1-2

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Photo: © Sirotti

By Jeff Jones

The rightfully feared Lithuanian women's squad has done it again in the World Championships, winning its third title in four years in the Elite Women's Road Race. Today it was Lugano '96 silver medallist Rasa Polikeviciute, who had superb legs to out sprint compatriot and '99 World Champion Edita Pucinskaite, with the ever present Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli settling for the bronze. As the outright favourite today, Longo rode a good tactical race, but could not get rid of the two Lithuanians when it counted on the final lap.

The women had to race around 10 laps of the Monsanto circuit, and its steep two climbs had an effect from the very first lap with riders dropped. Despite this, the peloton chose to stay together for the first two-thirds of the race. Minor attacks were mounted, but no-one was allowed to get more than a few seconds up the road.

The power packed Lithuanian team contained only four riders, but with three of them (Ziliute, Pucinskaite and Polikeviciute) all gold and silver World's medallists, it was no surprise that they were all still there when it mattered at the finish. The peloton had been reduced to around 25 riders when Jeannie Longo made a strong attack on Lap 8, but this did not shake everyone.

Instead it was Rasa Polikeviciute (fourth in the TT) who put the hurt on everyone on the penultimate lap. She was joined by Longo, Pucinskaite, Nicole Brändli (Swi), Susanne Ljungskog (Swe), Judith Arndt (Ger) and Mirjam Melchers (Ned). Save for the Italians Cappellotto and Luperini, nearly all the favourites were in this decisive break.

On the final lap, Longo tried again on the last climb, but she couldn't get rid of Rasa and Edita. However, the three knew it was their chance, as Rasa told Cyclingnews afterwards. "I have to thank Jeannie for collaborating in the final since the chasers were behind and there were some good sprinters."

The chasers closed it to five seconds with one kilometre to go, before Edita Pucinskaite did a big turn to ensure the break would stay away. It was good enough for her to hold off Longo for the silver medal, while her teammate Rasa took the honours and the gold medal.

"Before the race, we knew Jeannie was in great shape and so we knew she was the one to watch," said the winner, to which Longo responded: "I'm really happy for Rasa. She's been among the top riders for years. I thought I could win, but I just missed it in the sprint. I wish there were some other riders to make the race hard today. It seemed like the climbers were afraid to attack."

So Lithuania finished with gold and silver, meaning that three of them now have won world road titles. It must be Jolanta's turn next year...


Photos supplied by Fotoreporter Sirotti and AFP

Heading into the start - the Italian team look relaxed
With one lap to go - the lead group was down to seven.....
The final sprint for the line - Polikeviciute, Pucinskaite and Longo-Ciprelli
Edita Pucinskaite and Rasa Polikeviciute - making the Women's RR a Lithuanian special
Edita Pucinskaite, Rasa Polikeviciute with Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli - accept their medals
Rasa Polikeviciute - trys on her World Championship jersey

Read Anna Millward's view of the race


1 Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu)        3.12.05 (37.80 km/h)
2 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu)
3 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Fra)
4 Judith Arndt (Ger)                 0.06
5 Mirjam Melchers (Ned)
6 Nicole Brandli (Swi)
7 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe)
8 Diana Ziliute (Ltu)                1.33
9 Alessandra Cappellotto (Ita)
10 Susan Palmer (Can)
11 Jolanta Polikeviciute (Ltu)
12 Fabiana Luperini (Ita)
13 Monica Valen (Nor)                1.49
14 Marianna Lorenzoni (Ita)
15 Caroline Alexander (GBr)
16 Ragnhild Kostol (Nor)             1.51
17 Trixi Worrack (Ger)               2.48
18 Priska Doppmann (Swi)
19 Bogumila Matusiak (Pol)
20 Corine Hierckens (Bel)
21 Magali Le Floch (Fra)
22 Rosalind Reekie-May (NZl)
23 Sophie Creux (Fra)
24 Cindy Pieters (Bel)
25 Svetlana Boubnenkova (Rus)
26 Maria Isabel Moreno (Spa)
27 Teodora Ruano Sanchon (Spa)
28 Natalya Kishchuk (Ukr)
29 Fany Lecourtois (Fra)
30 Amber Neben (USA)                 4.34
31 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger)           5.17
32 Anna Millward (Aus)               6.27
33 Anne Samplonius (Can)
34 Chantal Beltman (Ned)
35 Lisbeth Simper (Den)              8.10
36 Heidi Van De Vijver (Bel)
37 Eneritz Iturriaga (Spa)
38 Pia Sundstedt (Fin)
39 Hayley Rutherford (Aus)
40 Kimberly Bruckner (USA)
41 Vera Hohlfeld (Ger)
42 Tina Liebig (Ger)
43 Kimberly Smith (USA)
44 Cybil Di Guistini (Can)
45 Leah Goldstein (Can)             11.37
46 Flor Delgadillo Ruiz (Col)       13.36
47 Sara Carrigan (Aus)
48 Iryna Chuzhynova (Ukr)
49 Arenda Grimberg (Ned)
50 Jorunn Kvalo (Nor)
51 Roberta Bonanomi (Ita)
52 Solrun Flataas (Nor)             16.08
53 Rachel Heal (GBr)
54 Silvia Parietti (Ita)
55 Ghita Beltman (Ned)
56 Rosa Maria Bravo Soba (Spa)      17.23
57 Miho Oki (Jpn)
58 Valentyna Karpenko (Ukr)
59 Béatrice Thomas (Fra)            17.25
60 Annette Beutler (Swi)            19.25
61 Malgorzata Wysocka (Pol)
62 Nataliya Kachalka (Ukr)          20.25
63 Anriette Schoeman (RSA)          22.25
DNF Volha Hayeva (Blr)
DNF Sara Symington (GBr)
DNF Katrina Berger (USA)
DNF Mari Holden (USA)
DNF Lara Ruthven (USA)
DNF Gunn-Rita Dahle (Nor)
DNF Natalya Moroz (Ukr)
DNF Katia Longhin (Ita)
DNF Sandra Wampfler (Swi)
DNF Kym Shirley (Aus)
DNF Paulina Brzezna (Pol)
DNF Anna Skawinska (Pol)
DNF Monika Tyburska (Pol)
DNF Anastasia Pastourmatzi (Gre)
DNF Susan O'Mara (Irl)
DNF Lotte Schmidt (Den)
DNF Svetlana Samokhvalova (Rus)
DNF Martha Luz Lopez (Col)
DNF Sari Saarelainen (Fin)

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