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2002 Road World Championships - CM

Hasselt-Zolder, Belgium, October 8-13, 2002

Main Page    Results     Start list    Live report

Day 5 - October 12: Elite Women Road Race, 128km

Almost home girl makes good

By Tim Maloney in Zolder

Susanne Ljungskog
Photo: © Bettini
Click for larger image

There aren't many women's cycling teams in Sweden, so the talented Susanne Ljungskog had to find a spot on an international team in Belgium, the Vlaanderen 2002 squad. 26 year old Ljungskog has made Belgium her home away from home for years and is used to the cold, rainy conditions that emerged on the last lap of today's Championship. The blond, blue-eyed Swedish woman from Oskarstrom in southern Sweden showed a simply brilliant stroke of opportunistic riding to bridge across to the breakaway in the last 2 km and win the sprint for the World Championship, the second ever by a Swedish woman since Marianne Berglund bagged her rainbow jersey Altenrhein, Switzerland in 1983.

Susanne Ljungskog
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

"It's so amazing, I can't believe it!" declared Ljungskog, who is coming off a win in the Giro di Toscana Femminile last month. "Today's race was so fast with a lot of attacking - I knew if I could get across (to the break) I had a good chance to win."

Already 2nd in the '02 Tour de France Feminin, Ljungskog is known as a complete rider with a fast finish. With an average speed of 42.845 km/h, this was one of the fastest women's World's ever, but with rain coming on the final two laps, crashes compromised the chase after a break of three riders had flown the coop with 1.5 laps to go.

Winning break
Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

This trio, with Joanne Sommariba (Spa), Nicole Brändli (Swi) and Sara Carrigan (Aus) had a 20" advantage on the chasing peloton until Ljungskog got across. Brändli, already second in the Women's TT, had made an agreement with Somarriba to try and attack, and when the Spanish rider made her move, Brändli covered it along with Australian Sara Carrigan.

"I'm really happy and surprised to the silver medal today," Brändli explained to Cyclingnews. "I was already surprised to have the silver from the TT, so I had no pressure. I am surprised the break even stayed away."

Brändli's silver medal, her fourth career silver has motivated her further to want to finally win a world title next year.

Sara Carrigan, the dimpled 22 year old student from Nerang, Queensland told Cyclingnews after her race that "Of course I'm disappointed, but I'm over the moon that I was with the winning break. It all just came down to the last 300 meters. Looking back now, I know Susanne was the strongest sprinter. If I had kept her wheel to the line, I would have at worst run second, which is what Brändli did. She had her wheel and followed it to the line and got second."

Carrigan went on to explain that "I started to wind it up in the sprint, and then just went for it. Susanne came around me, then Brändli, and I'm tired, I just went as hard as I could, but Somarriba came around me and I ended up with 4th. It's the best World's I've ever had - fifth in the time trial, fourth in the road race. It's disappointing I couldn't end up with a medal, but it's a start of good things to come.

Amber Neben
Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

American Amber Neben didn't finish after a crash 2.5 laps to go where her pink Cannondale T-Mobile team bike got caught in the barriers: "I'm a little sore, a little heartbroken," Neben told Cyclingnews after the race. "I hate to finish a race any time something like that happens and you get taken out of it. People crashed in front of us... Mari stopped, I stopped, and three people slammed into me, and they just took me straight into the concrete and the barriers. By the time everybody was off of me (the race) was gone, and I had to get my bike fixed and make sure I could pedal. There's not a lot I could do about it, it was pretty much over. It happens. It's part of road racing."

The vaunted German machine stalled today at Zolder, with their first rider, Regina Schleicher finishing out of the money in 17th. Pre race favourite Petra Rossner retired after a crash on lap 2 and when Ina Teutenberg crashed with a little over 3 laps to go, the peloton upped the pace for the fastest lap of the race and the German couldn't get back on and abandoned.

See: Profile on Susanne Ljungskog by Gabriella Ekström (August 18, 2002)


Images by Jeff Tse

Images by

Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.com

Images by AFP

Images by Chris Henry/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Miwako Sasaki/Japanese Cycle Sports

Images by Lucy Power/lucypower@hotmail.com


1 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe)                  2.59.15 (42.84 km/h)
2 Nicole Brändli (Swi)
3 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa)
4 Sara Carrigan (Aus)
5 Alison Wright (Aus)                         0.18
6 Olga Slyusareva (Rus)
7 Magali Le Floch (Fra)
8 Arenda Grimberg (Ned)
9 Volha Hayeva (Blr)
10 Sara Felloni (Ita)
11 Evy Van Damme (Bel)
12 Heidi Van De Vijver (Bel)
13 Regina Schleicher (Ger)
14 Zita Urbonaite (Ltu)
15 Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Ltu)
16 Deirdre Demet-Barry (USA)
17 Priska Doppmann (Swi)
18 Ioulia Martissova (Rus)
19 Melissa Holt (NZl)                         0.23
20 Iryna Chuzhynova (Ukr)
21 Leontien Zijlaard - Van Moorsel (Ned)
22 Debby Mansveld (Ned)
23 Janildes Fernandes Silva (Bra)
24 Sophie Creux (Fra)
25 Rasa Polikeviciute (Ltu)
26 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu)                    0.27
27 Veronique Belleter (Bel)
28 Annette Beutler (Swi)
29 Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus)
30 Katia Longhin (Ita)
31 Marcia Eicher-Vouets (Swi)
32 Eneritz Iturriaga (Spa)
33 Rochelle Gilmore (Aus)
34 Olivia Gollan (Aus)
35 Nicole Cooke (GBr)
36 Cindy Pieters (Bel)
37 Edita Kubelskiene (Ltu)
38 Alessandra Cappellotto (Ita)
39 Sandrine Marcuz (Fra)
40 Svetlana Boubnenkova (Rus)                 0.31
41 Nataliya Kachalka (Ukr)
42 Hayley Rutherford (Aus)                    0.33
43 Valentina Polkhanova (Rus)
44 Belem Guerrero Mendez (Mex)
45 Judith Arndt (Ger)
46 Corine Hierckens (Bel)                     0.41
47 Alessandra D'ettorre (Ita)                 1.04
48 Rosa Maria Bravo Soba (Spa)
49 Valentyna Karpenko (Ukr)
50 Tetyana Andrushchenko (Ukr)
51 Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl)
52 Laura Vangilder (USA)
53 Teodora Ruano Sanchon (Spa)
54 Anna Skawinska (Pol)
55 Isabella Wieser (Aut)
56 Kimberly Bruckner (USA)
57 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita)
58 Wenche Stensvold (Nor)
59 Arantzazu Azpiroz (Spa)
60 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Fra)
61 Denise Baumann (Swi)                       1.30
62 Rachel Heal (GBr)
63 Shani Bloch (Isr)
64 Anita Valen (Nor)                          1.43
65 Anouska Van Der Zee (Ned)                  1.49
66 Emma James (Aus)                           1.54
67 Susan Palmer (Can)
68 Frances Newstead (GBr)                     2.02
69 Lada Kozlikova (Cze)
70 Sissy Van Alebeek (Ned)
71 Monica Valen (Nor)                         2.21
72 Zinaida Stahurskaya (Blr)                  2.30
73 Susan Carter (GBr)                         3.25
74 Jenny Algelid-Bengtsson (Swe)              3.31
75 Vanja Vonckx (Bel)                         4.07
76 Mirjam Melchers (Ned)
77 Virginie Moinard (Fra)                     5.16
78 Sarah Grab (Swi)                           6.49
79 Anna Sipurzynska (Pol)                     8.03
80 Maria Luisa Calle (Col)
81 Mari Holden (USA)
82 Tina Mayolo (USA)
83 Sara Waller (GBr)
84 Vibe Janne Kolding (Den)
85 Evelyn Garcia (ESA)                       11.55
86 Kirsty Nicole Robb (NZl)                  14.07
87 Margaret Hemsley (Aus) 
88 Zlatica Gavlakova (Svk) 
89 Katy St Laurent (Can)                     15.45
90 Olga Khortova (Rus)                       19.05
DNF Diana Elmentaite (Ltu)
DNF Jolanta Polikeviciute (Ltu)
DNF Catherine Marsal (Fra)
DNF Angela Brodtka (Ger)
DNF Tina Liebig (Ger)
DNF Petra Rossner (Ger)
DNF Ina Teutenberg (Ger)
DNF Trixi Worrack (Ger)
DNF Madeleine Lindberg (Swe)
DNF Noemi Cantele (Ita)
DNF Lyne Bessette (Can)
DNF Solrun Flataas (Nor)
DNF Jorunn Kvalö (Nor)
DNF Emma Davies (GBr)
DNF Bogumila Matusiak (Pol)
DNF Lisbeth Simper (Den)
DNF Elyzaveta Bochkaryeva (Ukr)
DNF Irina Simonova (Ukr)
DNF Amber Neben (USA)
DNF Miho Oki (Jpn)
DNF Valeria Pintos (Arg)
DNF Chalime Giourbouz (Gre)
DNS Doris Posch (Aut)
DNS Pia Sundstedt (Fin)