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2003 Road Worlds
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Photo ©: Bettini

2003 Road World Championships - CM

Hamilton, Canada, October 7-12, 2003

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Day 4 - October 10: Junior Women Road Race, 74.4 km

Markerink wins Holland's first gold

By Mark Zalewski in Hamilton

Loes Markerink triumphs
Photo: © J.Devich/CN
Click for larger image

Dutchwoman Loes Markerink, who placed second in the time trial on Tuesday, went one better today by winning the Junior Women's Road Race. Markerink won an 11 rider bunch sprint after leading out with 300m to go, to beat Irina Tolmacheva (Russia) and Sabine Fischer (Germany). Markerink's victory is the first for Holland at these Championships, and is a repeat of compatriot Suzanne de Goede's win in Zolder last year.

"[Sprinting early] was a risk," explained Markerink. "I hoped that it would work good, and I guess I won! We descended and there were two ahead of me and I rode across to them. I had them in the corner and then I sprinted - I wasn't thinking."

How it unfolded

Fog and a cool morning greeted the Junior Women's Road Race of the 2003 World Championships. Even with the fog obscuring the climbs ahead of them on the course, these ladies knew what challenged were in store. Two climbs each lap, with six laps totaling almost 75 km. "[This race] is very hard because there are hills, and in Holland there are no hills - it's different," said Loes Markerink afterwards.

Bad luck struck early for a few riders. A crash on the first lap ended the day early for five, including Canada's Emily Sandwith and the U.S.'s Karen Amundson. From there, the tightly bunched peloton began to slowly shed riders, as they ascended the two climbs up the "Escarpment." Keeping a presence at the front were the Australian and German teams, with Candice Sullivan (Aus) leading the way.

The first significant attack of the day came an hour into the race, with Canada's Audrey Lemieux accelerating away on the second climb. She was quickly joined by the German Elisabeth Brandau, and the two held their small gap down the descent into Hamilton. But as they crossed the start/finish, the strung out pack reeled them back in. It was clear that the Germans were looking to shake things up. "The team tactics today for the German team was to get an aggressive race going, from the beginning, with lots of breaks," said Fischer.

The pack early on
Photo: © M.Zalewski/CN
Click for larger image

The second climb seemed to be the place to go, as attacks came there on the next two laps. This resulted in only about twenty-five riders remaining in the lead group, headed into the final two laps. Everyone was looking over their shoulder as they made their way up the second climb. Sure enough an attack came on the left side from the Russian Valentina Gavrilova. And like the other attacks, a German attached herself to the break - this time with Elisabeth Brandau. The two quickly built a 10 second lead over the top and down into the start/finish for the bell lap.

The lead grew to around twenty seconds before they started up the first climb. But the bite was too much, and the single-file peloton made up the distance and passed the two leaders as they crested the climb. Once again more riders were spit out the back, and about fifteen remained together in the lead.

With 7 km to go, Stephanie Williams gave a shot at a solo break, but couldn't hold them off. More accelerations came and riders responded. The Swiss rider Monika Furrer pushed the pace high on the start of the final climb to keep the group together, but a strong attack from Russia's Tolmacheva was able to get away. She was joined by Australia's Kate Nichols, and the two managed to squeeze a 10 meter gap.

Once again the descent neutralized any break attempt, and the group was together with one kilometre to go. The German team had two riders near the front, including the newly crowned time trial champion Bianca Knöpfle, and Fischer. "I was expecting a group to go [on the climb], and I hoped it would be a German rider because we rode very aggressively - but then I just settled in for the sprint and said, 'If there is going to be a sprint, then I am going to just be there, and do as well as possible,'" said Fischer. "Bianca was launching the sprint for me, and I got third."

Nice jersey!
Photo: © J.Devich/CN
Click for larger image

But it was Markerink who ended up doing the launching, powering all the way from 300 meters to take the gold medal. "We [descended] and there were two ahead of me and I rode to them," she explained. "I had them in the corner and then I sprinted - I was not thinking."

Though unable to come around the Dutch rider, Russia's Irina Tolmacheva was happy with her result. "We prepared for the World Championships the whole year, and we were ready to make good results."

After sitting on the front for the majority of the race, Australia's three-rider team all finished strong in the top ten, with Sullivan taking sixth, Williams eighth and Nichols able to hold on for ninth, after her gutsy move in the final kilometres.

The U.S. riders didn't fare so well, after losing Karen Amundson early. Larssyn Staley was the best finisher in 30th, 6'54 behind the winner. "I felt really good about my performance," Staley said afterwards. "I didn't really have too many expectations since I haven't raced much in Europe before. The course was really hard, and it was evident that the strongest woman was going to win today. I was able to race within my group and put in a few good attacks at the end, so I was pleased with that."


Images by Mark Zalewski/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Jon Devich/www.www.epicimages.us

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti


1 Loes Markerink (Netherlands)     2.05.39 (35.527 km/h)
2 Irina Tolmacheva (Russia)               
3 Sabine Fischer (Germany)                
4 Bianca Knoepfle (Germany)               
5 Laura Bozzolo (Italy)                   
6 Candice Sullivan (Australia)            
7 Karolina Konieczna (Poland)             
8 Stephanie Williams (Australia)          
9 Kate Nichols (Australia)                
10 Monika Furrer (Switzerland)            
11 Loes Sels (Belgium)                    
12 Inga Cilvinaite (Lithuania)        0.32
13 Sara Peeters (Belgium)                 
14 Ekaterina Tretyakova (Russia)          
15 Iryna Shpilyova (Ukraine)              
16 Claudia Haeusler (Germany)             
17 Daiva Tuslaite (Lithuania)             
18 Laura Telle (Latvia)                   
19 Audrey Lemieux (Canada)                
20 Eugenie Mermillod (France)             
21 Valentina Gavrilova (Russia)           
22 Elisabeth Brandau (Germany)            
23 Joan Boskamp (Netherlands)         1.08
24 Yolandi Du Toit (South Africa)     2.43
25 Emmanuelle Merlot (France)         5.34
26 Ly Paat (Estonia)                      
27 Nadja Bachmann (Switzerland)           
28 Jennifer Hohl (Switzerland)        6.54
29 Alna Burato (France)                   
30 Larssyn Staley (USA)                   
31 Milda Galdikaite (Lithuania)           
32 Magdalena Zamolska (Poland)            
33 Aude Pollet (France)                   
34 Svetlana Pauliukaite (Lithuania)       
35 Martina Faccin (Italy)                 
36 Marta Jimenez Jimenez (Spain)          
37 Moniek Rotmensen (Netherlands)     7.03
38 Francesca Andina (Italy)           9.30
39 Natalya Figurskaya (Ukraine)      11.26
40 Anna Tratnyek (Canada)            12.33
41 Debora Galvez Lopez (Spain)       12.53
42 Kata-Liina Normak (Estonia)       13.01
DNF Iris Slappendel (Netherlands)         
DNF Carolina Asplund (Sweden)             
DNF Karen Amundson (USA)                  
DNF Emily Sandwith (Canada)               
DNF Barbara Gromaszek (Poland)            
DNF Marta Kozakiewicz (Poland)            
DNF Annalisa Cucinotta (Italy)            
DNF Maryia Halan (Belarus)                
DNF Nadia Swanepoel (South Africa)        
DNF Gabriella Palotai (Hungary)           
DNF Maria Jose Lorenzo Roca (Spain)       
DNF Auxiliadora Martin Morales (Spain)    
DNF Francisca Campos (Chile)              
DNF Laura Lepasalu (Estonia)              
DNF Kristina Sheludyakova (Russia)        
DNS Emilie Roy (Canada)                   
DNS Maryia Halan (Belarus)                
DNS Francisca Campos (Chile)              
DNS Marta Kozakiewicz (Poland)            
DNS Barbara Gromaszek (Poland)            

Note: HD = Hors Delai/outside time limit