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World Road Championships - CM

Salzburg, Austria, September 20-24, 2006

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Race 5 - September 23: Women's road race, 132.6km

Live report

Live Commentary by Laura Weislo and Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Hedwig Kröner and Kristy Scrymgeour

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:45 CEST

14:30 CEST   
Welcome back to Salzburg for our continued live coverage of the World Championships. The second event for today is the women's road race. The ladies will complete six laps of the challenging 22 km road circuit for a total of 132.6 km, and features two climbs per lap.

Many of the women's teams have strong sprinters today: Schleicher and Teutenberg for the Germans, Nicole Cooke for the Brits, Susanne Ljungskog for Sweden, Oenone Wood for the Aussies, de Goede and Gunnewijk for the Dutch, Pic for the Americans and Kiesanowski for the Kiwis. So the speculations that the course is too difficult for a field sprint in the women's race might unfounded.

14:32 CEST   
And the women are off! The sun is out and the skies are completely clear today, and the temperature is perfect for racing. Surely all of the women are happy about that. Nicole Cooke told the BBC this morning that she's very excited to start this World Championship as the World Cup winner.

14:34 CEST    2km/130.6km to go
And a rider has a flat - it looks like Alex Wrubleski, who had a flat in the TT as well. Bad luck! But she should have enough time to catch back up. The bunch is still pretty compact, although riders are starting to move up as the road goes up a bit.

14:37 CEST    4km/128.6km to go
And there's been a crash! The start of women's races are often very nervous, and this kind of thing happens. Evgeniya Visockaya (Ukraine) has hit the barricades, but is up and chasing. Wrubleski, still chasing back from her flat, nearly ran into the mechanic as he dashed across to help Visockaya.

14:41 CEST    5km/127.6km to go
Dorte Lohse Rasmussen (Denmark) has made it back up to the bunch after being caught up in the crash. She's getting some aid from the support car. The group has started to settle down a bit after the very nervous start, and is riding fairly easy up the start of the first climb.

14:43 CEST    8km/124.6km to go
Natalia Boyarskaya (Russian Federation) attacks! But she's quickly matched by the Italian and French teams. She attacked just before the crest of the first climb, but couldn't quite get the gap. The riders are now heading downhill toward the second climb.

14:51 CEST    11km/121.6km to go
The women are on the second climb, and it's a kicker. And the Swiss and Italians are setting a strong pace right now, with a Canadian rider well up in front, too. They're over the top now, and still the bunch is not very strung out. The women will likely start out a bit more conservatively than the U23 men did this morning. The German powerhouse is still nowhere in evidence. The other teams will know that this hammer is hanging over their heads, and save a bit for when it falls.

14:55 CEST    15km/117.6km to go
Whee! The women are on the fast part of the descent from the Gschaiderberg, spread out across the road and down in the aero tuck. The bunch up front is still very compact as they leave the foot of the hill, and head back onto flatter ground.

A Swedish rider has stealthily attacked by powering in the saddle up the right side of the road, but doesn't get much of a gap. She does succeed in stringing out the bunch, and the front twenty or so are all single file.

15:01 CEST    19km/113.6km to go
Noemi Cantele (Italy) calls for service - she seems to have a mechanical, perhaps her front brake is rubbing. She gets an adjustment from the Italian team car, but is in no danger of losing the field. It's pretty sedate up front at the moment.
She gets a bike change - and a push from her team mechanic.

The roads coming back into the finish get very narrow at times, and it will be crucial for the finish to be in a good position at the squeeze point. One touch of the brakes on the run-in and a rider could lose 20 positions.

15:03 CEST   
Fabiana Luperini (Italy) is dropping back to help her teammate get back to the bunch, as the riders near the 1km to go banner. Under the kite, there's an attack from the Russians and a group of four gains a bit of an advantage. There are a few more riders that make it up to the Russian, including Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France).

15:09 CEST    23km/109.6km to go
A group of eight is now clear of the bunch as the riders finish their first lap. It includes Olivia Gollan (Australia), Anne Samplonius (Canada), Kirsten Wild (Netherlands), Vera Carrara (Italy), Madeleine Sandig (Germany), Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France), Tetyana Stiajkina (Ukraine), and Natalia Boyarskaya (Russian Federation).

15:12 CEST    28km/104.6km to go
But there just wasn't enough cooperation in that break, and the field is once again all together. They're on the first climb of the second lap now, and it seems like that chase thinned the bunch down some.

15:17 CEST    30km/102.6km to go
The Russian team is still present at the front, with Natalia Boyarskaya (Russian Federation) doing the lion's share of the work. Longo is sticking to the front, and she surely has a few more attacks up her sleeve. And as we approach the top of the climb, there's an attack!

Ouch! Schleicher is dropped on the climb!! Luperini is heading up to a break of two riders that got a gap at the top of the hill.

15:21 CEST    34km/101.6km to go
The descent is allowing the bunch to catch the three leaders, and they're all back together. Schleicher will be able to get back on during the descent, no problem. The group has eased slightly, and the two who attacked earlier, Helen Wyman (Great Britain) and Marta Vilajosana (Spain) have been dropped. That's what we call a "Boomerang Breakaway".

15:29 CEST    36km/96.6km to go
The peloton has crested the second climb, and there's another attack from the Swedes on the false flat that follows the banner. Emma Johansson is closely marked by Russian Tatiana Shishkova. The second climb is made harder by the fact that there's a pretty stiff headwind. This will really hurt by lap six.

Word has it that Schleicher has been pretty ill this week with digestive issues, and so she might not be on a great day, but the Germans have Teutenberg, who's no slouch at sprinting, and who won two stages at the Holland Ladies tour last month.
The Russians will be protecting Svetlana Bubnenkova, who just won the Giro della Toscana.

15:33 CEST    43km/89.6km to go
Anne Samplonius (Canada) has another dig, this time just out of the narrow section of road. She has a passenger, though. It is Boyarskaya again! These two are very aggressive today. They have a pretty good gap, but just a few seconds.

15:37 CEST    44.4km/88.2km to go
Boyarskaya and Samplonius are extending their lead as they go under the finish banner to start their third lap. They've been racing only one hour so far, and the bunch is reluctant to chase the pair just yet.

15:43 CEST    48km/82.6km to go
The peloton is in the feed zone, and many of the riders are getting a hand-up. The Italian team is keeping the gap under control, and Carrara, who has done a lot of work so far, gets the nod to go back to the bunch to recover. The Americans have now moved up as the riders begin the long drag to the first climb.

15:51 CEST    52km/80.6km to go
Tanja Slater (Great Britain) leads Linda Villumsen (Denmark) in the chase, and have put a pretty good dent into the leaders' gap, which is now down to 32".

15:56 CEST   
Patricia Schwager (Switzerland) is now leading the chase on the fast, twisty decent. The Swiss will be counting on Nicole Brändli and Priska Doppmann today. They've both shown good form, with Brändli winning a stage at the Giro della Toscana.

The leaders are now on the second climb, and it they're struggling with the steep part. The chase is on, and Schwager is still pushing the pace up front. The leaders are coming up to the crest of the hill, and the cars are being pulled around. This isn't a good sign.

15:59 CEST    58km/74.6km to go
Annette Beutler (Switzerland) and Theresa Senff (Germany) take over the lead in the bunch as they start down the long descent. The bunch is pretty strung out, but not going too hard. They know they'll catch the break easily. Up front, Samplonius is down in her lowest aero tuck, desperately squeezing every bit of speed out of her bike. She wants to stay clear.

16:04 CEST    60km/72.6km to go
Oh dear, one of the kits near the finish line has deflated! Workers are scrambling to get it up and out of the riders' way. They still have time, as the break is about 5 km away. These inflatable banners look nice, but if someone pulls the plug on the fan that keeps it inflated, it can be a very bad thing.

16:09 CEST    64km/68.6km to go
The peloton can sense that they're getting close to the leaders, and the Swiss have started to attack. We should start to see some really aggressive riding now that the riders are reaching the halfway point. And sure enough, the Swedes are now pushing the pace. They have two time world champion Susanne Ljungskog as their leader, and she stands a great chance of getting her jersey back on a course such as this.

16:13 CEST    67km/65.6km to go
Samplonius and Boyarskaya have done well to extend their lead to 32 seconds, but with half the race remaining, they need to be pulling away faster than this to stand a chance of surviving. The teams in the peloton seem to be doing just enough work to keep them close, but not so much that they bring them back.

16:17 CEST    69km/63.6km to go
There's been a big attack after the feedzone - it's Monica Holler (Sweden). She's gotten a really good gap, and the bunch as let her go. This could be just the bit of steam the break needs.

16:24 CEST    71km/61.6km to go
Holler is having difficulty making it up to the break, and is sitting in "no man's land" about 20" ahead of the bunch, but with still another 30" to go to the break. The break is starting up the shoulder of the first climb, and still going strong. Back in the bunch, Emma Johannson (Sweden) had upped the pace despite having a teammate up the road.

16:30 CEST    75km/57.6km to go
Ah, it all becomes clear: Holler has been caught, but her attack has been successful in reducing the gap to the leaders down to 35".

The leaders have crested the first climb, and passed through the second feedzone... The peloton is in hot pursuit, strung out in a single line as they, too, begin the descent.

16:34 CEST    79km/53.6km to go
Samplonius and Boyarskaya are on the second climb, and Boyarskaya is rocking her bike, struggling to keep her momentum on this very steep section of the climb. Samplonius shows no emotion, just turns over the gear, determined to stay away. As they start on the false flat after the crest, Samplonius is doing most of the work, and motions back to Boyarskaya - "just please do a little work? Please?"

16:41 CEST    82km/50.6km to go
Samplonius radios back to her team car, checking on the situation in the pack. Boyarskaya looks behind to see if the bunch is in sight.

16:44 CEST    87km/45.6km to go
The peloton is getting restless, and Vera Carrara (Italy) attacks once again to try and get things rolling. The riders are nearing the end of the fourth lap and Carrara is holding her gap as she passes under the re-inflated 1km banner, looking very strong.

16:50 CEST    89km/43.6km to go
The break of Samplonius and Boyarskaya was caught somewhere prior to Carrara's attack. The climb into the headwind was their undoing. They did a good job for their teams, allowing the rest of the ladies to stay out of the wind while the bigger teams had to do all of the chasing. Canada has Susan Palmer-Komar, who was second at the Fleche Wallone a few years back. Komar has had a fairly quiet season this year, but she has years of experience and will be looking for a late-race breakaway.

16:54 CEST    92km/40.6km to go
Carrara has been caught now, and it's the turn of Tetyana Stiajkina (Ukraine) to attack. Her team immediately comes to the front to defend her lead. The bunch spreads out across the road as the speed goes down. Stiajkina has a lead of 12" now as the bunch is all the way across the road and looking much smaller than the start.

16:58 CEST    94km/38.6km to go
Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli has been dropped from the bunch, as has Tina Pic (United States). That's a shame for the US squad, who has lost their best hope for a bunch sprint. They'll have to adjust their strategy.

Stiajkina has been caught as the bunch heads up the first climb. Another rider counters, and gets a pretty decent gap. It's Zulfiya Zabirova (Kazakhstan). That's a good move.

17:02 CEST    96km/36.6km to go
The bunch is not letting Zabirova get far, and come across only 11" behind.

17:06 CEST    100km/32.6km to go
And there's a big attack by Nicole Brandli (Switzerland) and Nicole Cooke (Great Britain)! They're just flying up the second climb! They're joined by one of the Dutch riders, but she can't hold the wheels of the two Nicoles.

17:10 CEST    103km/29.6km to go
That attack demolished the buch. The pair did not get clear, but a group of about twelve more riders split off the front at the start of the descent. The group is clear on the descent, and the bunch is nowhere in sight! Stand by for some names...

The bunch is significantly thinned down, and with little more than one lap remaining, many riders will be climbing off in the feedzone.

17:12 CEST    107km/25.6km to go
Arndt is there for Germany, as is Neben for the USA, Senff, Bubnenkova...

17:17 CEST    110km/22.6km to go
Germany has indeed dropped their proverbial hammer! Arndt, Worrack and Senff have all made the lead group. The Austrians have two, as do the Dutch - Beltman and Vos. Oenone Wood has made the group, and the Germans will work hard to get rid of this sprinter.

Bubnenkova is also a threat, of a different sort.

Arndt and Vos get a gap, but they are not going to work together. They're coming into the end of the lap, and it's crunch time! They get it together, as they see Cooke on the front of the chase, really working hard.

17:21 CEST    112km/20.6km to go
The smallish peloton is strung out chasing, but are 58" behind the leader. The next lap will be interesting - three Swiss, three Germans, two Dutch, two Austrians... and Wood, Cooke, and Bubnenkova.

17:25 CEST    113km/19.6km to go
The lead group has settled down. Cooke had made it up to Arndt and Vos, and they had a bit of a gap, but not enough. They've all decided to wait to play their cards. They're only a few kilometers from the first climb. There's a short roller on the way there, and Senff has a go - trying to soften the legs of the others for Arndt and Worrack.

17:26 CEST    114km/18.6km to go
And now it's Brandli's turn to attack for the Swiss team. Cooke quickly bridges, but is so closely marked by the Germans that she gets no gap. Cooke is going to have a hard time with these numbers...

17:28 CEST   
Senff, Cooke, Bubnenkova, Arndt and Neben are all up front as the break begins the first climb. They're really biding their time now, all riding in a tight bunch, closely watching each other.

17:30 CEST   
The Germans have gone to the front to set a steady tempo up the first climb. They'll want to discourage any attacks on this climb so they can play their cards on the much more difficult second climb

17:31 CEST    118.6km/14km to go
The pace lifts and everyone watches each other. Cooke attacks with one of the Germans, but everyone marks them.

17:32 CEST   
Doppmann rides through over the top, keeping the tempo high and getting a small gap over the rest.

17:33 CEST    119.6km/13km to go
Doppmann continues to drive it, forcing the others to chase hard as they go past the team boxes.

17:34 CEST    120.6km/12km to go
Doppmann sits up just before the descent. The pace slows again, with Cooke on the front.

17:35 CEST   
The start the descent and Cooke is on the front with Worrack on her wheel. Arndt is at the back, shaking her legs. Worrack takes the lead on the descent with Neben and Cooke in tow.

17:36 CEST    121.6km/11km to go
The group picks up speed on the descent and gets ready for the final climb up Gschaiderberg. Cooke, predictably, attacks and takes Vos and Brandli with her. Brandli looks good and she and Vos put Cooke in the hurt box. But the others aren't far behind.

17:38 CEST    122.6km/10km to go
The three go over the top and Brandli continues to drive it. Cooke is in difficulty, while Vos doesn't want to work. In the chase group, Doppmann and Worrack have been dropped, and Bubnenkova is in trouble.

17:38 CEST   
Vos now does a turn, then Cooke and Brandli. The bunch is still at 1'40 - not coming back today.

17:39 CEST    123.6km/9km to go
The three leaders are giving it full gas as they hit the descent. All of them know they could be world champion.

17:40 CEST    124.6km/8km to go
One rider attacks the chase group as Senff is getting on the back.

Vos and Cooke work on the descent, with the lead car about 30m in front. They have about 12 seconds on the chasers.

17:41 CEST    125.6km/7km to go
Cooke is an excellent descender, and Vos is no slouch either. Brandli is not working at the moment, as the other two will probably destroy her in the sprint.

17:42 CEST    126.6km/6km to go
Nicole Brändli (Switzerland) is getting a free ride at the moment. She has two teammates in the bunch, as Doppmann has rejoined. The Germans are leading the chase.

17:42 CEST    127.6km/5km to go
Cooke and Vos continue to work on the descent, with Brandli on their wheels. They can see the town centre coming closer.

17:43 CEST    128.6km/4km to go
The gap is coming down, thanks to Arndt, and it's perhaps five seconds. Brandli does a turn. But it's too late. Soeder bridges up to them first.

17:44 CEST   
It's all back together at 4 km to go. Bubenkova puts in an attack which goes nowhere.

17:45 CEST    129.6km/3km to go
Bubenkova eases off as Arndt attacks again. But it's a weak move. Cooke sits at the back, watching. Vos and Beltman chat to each other.

17:46 CEST   
Brandli attacks just before 3 km to go, but that goes nowhere. Bubenkova keeps it going with Beutler.

17:47 CEST   
2.5 km to go and Neben attacks over a bridge. She gets Beltman, Cantele and the rest for company.

17:48 CEST    130.6km/2km to go
Doppmann and Arndt are at the front as they go under 2 km to go. Group sprint? Or...?

17:48 CEST   
Senff attacks and gets Cooke for company. That strings out the group, but the gap is too small.

17:49 CEST    131.6km/1km to go
The pace is one as Arndt leads, then Beltman attacks with just over 1 km to go. Cantele takes her wheel... Then Bubnenkova and the rest.

17:50 CEST   
Buba continues to ride and the pace is very high as they reach the final 500m.

17:51 CEST    132.6km/0km to go
Buba runs out of gas and Arndt is leading out the sprint for Senff. Then Vos comes from nowhere with a huuuuuuuuuuuge sprint and wins by about 16 bike lengths from Worrack, it looks like. Wow!!

17:52 CEST   
That was an enormous finish by Marianne Vos, who went up the left hand side of the road with Worrack trying to follow. Cantele was third ahead of Cooke.

17:59 CEST   
It's very close between Cooke and Cantele for the bronze. It looks like Cooke might have thrown her bike just right to get it, but that will be confirmed later.

Thanks for following the women's road race with us today. We'll be back for the main event at 10:30am tomorrow: the men's road race over 265 km. Until then!


1 Marianne Vos (Netherlands)    3.20.26
2 Trixi Worrack (Germany)
3 Nicole Cooke (Great Britain)
4 Noemi Cantele (Italy)


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