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World Road Championships - CM
Salzburg, Austria, September 20-24, 2006
Race 5 - September 23: Women's road race, 132.6km
Women's race difficult to predict
Three days after the American women dominated the time trial in Salzburg, Austria with Kristin Armstrong and Christine Thorburn taking gold and bronze, respectively, the best women in the world will line up on Saturday for the road race. With an interesting course that borders on being one for the sprinters, but could also be one for the climbers, the result will not be easy to pick.
Starting in downtown Salzburg, the course is made up of 6 laps of a 22.2km circuit, making a total of 132.6km for the women. The terrain is undulating, with each lap consisting of two main climbs. The first climb is on a wide open road and is not very steep, but it is the second climb, which is narrow and twisty at the bottom, that will be important for positioning. The course reaches 547 meters in altitude at the top of this climb in Elixhausen, and from the peak, there is 9km to the finish line.
Quite a few individual nations show promise on this course and as we have seen in the past, success is likely to come down to the country who puts it together as a team. Taking the title last year with Regina Schleicher and with Judith Arndt in 2004, the Germans have demonstrated their unity in the past, and will line up this year again with another impressive roster. With Arndt, Trixi Worrack, and Theresa Senff to use on the climbs and Schleicher and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg for the sprint, the Germans are confident that they have multiple cards to play.
Up against the Germans are riders such as 2006 World Cup winner Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), two time World Champion Suzanne Ljungskog (Sweden), Zoulfia Zabirova (Kazakhstan), Diana Ziliute (Lithuania) and Svetlana Bubnekova (Russia) who have shown great form but do not have comparatively strong teams behind them. None of them can be counted out and Cooke has shown that she can still be competitive against stronger teams, taking second last year and third in 2003. She will be one to watch.
The Americans are confident with their form, and both Amber Neben and Kristin Armstrong could be good on this course. The team made the race aggressive in the latter stages of the 2005 World Championship race and will be out to take advantage of their good legs this year. If it comes down to a sprint, they have Tina Pic for speed.
The Dutch and Australian teams both have a strong line-up and have each shown that they can work well as a team. The Australians will most likely put most of their eggs in one basket and ride for Oenone Wood. "Our best chance is with Oenone", explained National Coach Warren McDonald, "but if Liv [Gollan] has a good day, she could also be an option." Wood took a Bronze medal last year in Madrid and will be set on improving on that.
The Dutch have young Marianne Vos, as well as Suzanne de Goede and Chantal Beltman, all of whom have shown recent form at Giro del Toscana last week. They could also be a team to watch and are ready to work together. The Italians have Naomi Cantelle who is going well right now, and Georgia Bronzini, whilst the Swiss have both Nicole Brandli and Priska Doppmann.
The home team of Austria will surely put their force behind Christiane Soeder, who has had a great season in 2006, and the added motivation of racing in front of a home crowd.
The sun is still shining in Salzburg with one day to go before the race, and this one is likely to be a very exciting race to watch.
1 Regina Schleicher (Germany) 2 Judith Arndt (Germany) 3 Claudia Häusler (Germany) 4 Madeleine Sandig (Germany) 5 Theresa Senff (Germany) 6 Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Germany) 7 Trixi Worrack (Germany) 8 Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) 9 Rachel Heal (Great Britain) 10 Tanja Slater (Great Britain) 11 Helen Wyman (Great Britain) 12 Katherine Bates (Australia) 13 Natalie Bates (Australia) 14 Olivia Gollan (Australia) 15 Helen Kelly (Australia) 16 Emma Rickards (Australia) 17 Oenone Wood (Australia) 18 Mette Fischer Andreasen (Denmark) 19 Lise Christensen (Denmark) 20 Trine Hansen (Denmark) 21 Dorte Lohse Rasmussen (Denmark) 22 Linda Villumsen (Denmark) 23 Chantal Beltman (Netherlands) 24 Suzanne De Goede (Netherlands) 25 Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands) 26 Iris Slappendel (Netherlands) 27 Adrie Visser (Netherlands) 28 Marianne Vos (Netherlands) 29 Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) 30 Monia Baccaille (Italy) 31 Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) 32 Noemi Cantele (Italy) 33 Vera Carrara (Italy) 34 Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) 35 Fabiana Luperini (Italy) 36 Veronica Andrèasson (Sweden) 37 Karin Aune (Sweden) 38 Monica Holler (Sweden) 39 Emma Johansson (Sweden) 40 Marie Lindberg (Sweden) 41 Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden) 42 Linn Torp (Norway) 43 Urte Juodvalkyte (Lithuania) 44 Rasa Polikeviciute (Lithuania) 45 Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania) 46 Daiva Tuslaite (Lithuania) 47 Zita Urbonaite (Lithuania) 48 Diana Ziliute (Lithuania) 49 Annette Beutler (Switzerland) 50 Nicole Brändli (Switzerland) 51 Priska Doppmann (Switzerland) 52 Sabrina Emmasi (Switzerland) 53 Jennifer Hohl (Switzerland) 54 Patricia Schwager (Switzerland) 55 Leigh Hobson (Canada) 56 Amy Moore (Canada) 57 Susan Palmer-Komar (Canada) 58 Anne Samplonius (Canada) 59 Erinne Willock (Canada) 60 Alex Wrubleski (Canada) 61 Kimberly Anderson (United States Of America) 62 Kristin Armstrong (United States Of America) 63 Kimberly Baldwin (United States Of America) 64 Tina Mayolo Pic (United States Of America) 65 Amber Neben (United States Of America) 66 Christine Thorburn (United States Of America) 67 Ana Belen Garcia Antequera (Spain) 68 Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria Mazag (Spain) 69 Maribel Moreno Allue (Spain) 70 Iosune Murillo Elkano (Spain) 71 Naiara Telletxea Lopez (Spain) 72 Marta Vilajosana Andreu (Spain) 73 Paulina Brzezna (Poland) 74 Monika Grzebinoga (Poland) 75 Malgorzta Jasinska (Poland) 76 Karolina Konieczna (Poland) 77 Monika Krawczyk (Poland) 78 Yolandi Du Toit (South Africa) 79 Anke Erlank (South Africa) 80 Lynette Jansen Van Vuuren (South Africa) 81 Anriette Schoeman (South Africa) 82 Marissa Van Der Merwe (South Africa) 83 Chrissie Viljoen (South Africa) 84 Sophie Creux (France) 85 Marina Jaunatre (France) 86 Magali Le Floch (France) 87 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) 88 Edwige Pitel (France) 89 Maryline Salvetat (France) 90 Sofie Goor (Belgium) 91 Ludivine Henrion (Belgium) 92 Evy Van Damme (Belgium) 93 An Van Rie (Belgium) 94 Sharon Vandromme (Belgium) 95 Laure Werner (Belgium) 96 Zulfiya Zabirova (Kazakhstan) 97 Yulia Arustamova (Russian Federation) 98 Yulia Blindyuk (Russian Federation) 99 Natalia Boyarskaya (Russian Federation) 100 Svetlana Bubnenkova-Stolbova (Russian Federation) 101 Valentina Gavrilova (Russian Federation) 102 Tatiana Shishkova (Russian Federation) 103 Andrea Graus (Austria) 104 Daniela Pintarelli (Austria) 105 Monika Schachl (Austria) 106 Bernadette Schober (Austria) 107 Christiane Soeder (Austria) 108 Isabella Wieser (Austria) 109 Grete Treier (Estonia) 110 Toni Bradshaw (New Zealand) 111 Joanne Kiesanowski (New Zealand) 112 Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan) 113 Miho Oki (Japan) 114 Giusepina Grassi Herrera (Mexico) 116 Laura Lorenza Morfin Maucoset (Mexico) 117 Elizaveta Bochkaryova (Ukraine) 118 Oxana Kashchyshyna (Ukraine) 119 Kateryna Krasova (Ukraine) 120 Tetyana Stiajkina (Ukraine) 121 Evgeniya Visockaya (Ukraine) 122 Clemilda Fernandes Silva (Brazil) 123 Janildes Fernandes Silva (Brazil) 124 Uenia Fernandes Souza (Brazil) 125 Pavla Havlikova (Czech Republic) 126 Eva Hubena (Czech Republic) 127 Lada Kozlikova (Czech Republic) 128 Martina Ruzickova (Czech Republic) 129 Siobhan Dervan (Ireland) 130 Noelia Soledad Fernandez (Argentina) 131 Meifang Li (People's Republic of China) 132 Yongli Liu (People's Republic of China) 133 Liping Zhang (People's Republic of China) 134 Na Zhao (People's Republic of China) 135 Evelyn Yesenia Garcia Marroquin (El Salvador) 136 Monika Kiraly (Hungary)