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Photo ©: Bettini

75th World Championships - CM

Varese, Italy, September 23-28, 2008

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Race 2 - September 24: Women's time trial, 25.15km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Susan Westemeyer

13:55 CEST   
Hello and welcome back to the Worlds! Today the women are on, to see which of them is fastest in the ride against the clock. We expect a hard fought, fast race today, with such names as Armstrong, Thürig and Soeder on the podium at the end.

14:01 CEST   
The 25.15km long course is a long loop up to the north of Varese and back down. It is more rolling than not, and has its start and finish in the horse track which is now serving as world cycling headquarters.

14:03 CEST   
The first rider off is Kathryn Bertine, 33 years old. She is from Tucson, Arizona, but is riding for St. Kitts and Nevis. She is a former ice skater and triathlete, who, when rejected by the US team, went looking for another country to ride for.

14:04 CEST   
There are two intermediate time checks, at 6 km and 15 km.

14:05 CEST   
Anna Zugno of Italy won the Junior women's time trial at the 2002 Worlds. She now rides for Top Girls Fassa Bortolo Raxy Line.

Heather Wilson rides for Ireland, and just turned 36 years old. This year she finished second in the Irish national TT and third in the road race. She was 9th in the GB national time trial.

14:05 CEST   
The 25.15km long course is a long loop up to the north of Varese and back down. It is more rolling than not, and has its start and finish in the cycling stadium.

14:06 CEST   
Anne Samplonius of Canada is 40 years old and rides for Cheerwine. She has had quite a good year, winning, for example, the Tour de Leelanu, and the national time trial title.

14:08 CEST   
The women are going off at two minute intervals.

14:10 CEST   
Martina Ruzickova comes from the Czech Republic. She rides for Team Elk Haus and this year won the Czech road title, and was runner-up in the time trial.

An Van Rie is Belgian, she is national TT champ, and rides for Vrienden van het Platteland.

14:13 CEST   
Hanna Talkanitsa of Bielorussia is with the team USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo. She was third in her national TT and fifth on the road.

Polona Batagelj of Slovakia was a guest rider for Menikini - Selle Italia - Master Colors this season.

14:15 CEST   
We have our first two riders through the first time check at 6.68km. Bertine was 13:22, and Zugno topped that easily, at 12:45.

14:16 CEST   
Bogumila Matusiak of Poland is 37 years old, and rides for Team Primus. She is national time trial champion.

14:19 CEST   
Our women's cycling expert Ben Atkins says the winner ought to be one of the last five to start. The course doesn't look as hilly as last year. This ought to be good for Karin Thürig of Switzerland, for example.

14:21 CEST   
Bogumila Matusiak of Poland is 37 years old, and rides for Team Primus. She is national time trial champion.

Jarmila Machacova of the Czech Republic, 22, was a guest rider for Team Elk Haus this year. She is national time trial champion and finished 12th in that race in the European Championships.

Sharon Laws of Great Britain is with Team Halfords Bikehut. She has a long list of successes this year, including the national TT title.

14:22 CEST   
Samplonius of Canada holds the best time at the first time check, 11:47.

14:25 CEST   
Bertine is the first through the second time check, with a time of 25:04.

14:26 CEST   
Zugno come through at 24:08.

14:27 CEST   
Three more riders are on the road:

Pascale Schnider, Switzerland, is 23 and rides for Cervélo Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team. She was ninth in the national time trial race and second on the road.

Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria, 28, of Spain, is with Safi - Pasta Zara – Manhattan. She won a stage in the Trophée d'Or Féminin this summer.

Mayuko Hagiwara is a 21 year-old Japanese rider. She was third in her national road championships, and sixth in the Asian road championships, third in the Asian time trial.

14:28 CEST   
We won't have a repeat winner this year in the time trial. Germany's Hanka Kupfernagel wasn't nominated for the road race, and she at first threatened to skip the time trial, then agreed to ride it, and finally came down with a stomach virus which stopped her from riding at all.

14:29 CEST   
Zugno goes through the second time check at 22:24.

14:33 CEST   
Olivia Dillon of Ireland, 34, is with Touchstone Climbing. She is Irish national TT champ.

Regina Bruins is a 21 year-old Dutch rider with Team Ton van Bemmelen – Odysis. She has quite a collection of top finishes this year.

20-year old Julie Beveridge of Canada rides for Aaron's Cycling Team. This year she won the Mount Hood Cycling Classic and was third in the Cascade Classic.

14:35 CEST   
It's another sunny day today, nice, but not particularly warm, maybe 18-20°.

14:36 CEST   
Vicki Whitelaw of Australia won the Giro d'Italia Femminile time trial this year. Most recently she finished second in the Memorial Davide Fardelli – Cronometro.

Elena Berlato of Italy, 20, is in her second year with Safi - Pasta Zara – Manhattan.

14:40 CEST   
Bertine is first over the line, in a time of just over 39 minutes. She is closely followed by Zugno, who is faster, but we didn't catch her exact time.

14:41 CEST   
Doesn't matter, Samplonius blasts her time anyway. The Canadian covered the course in 34:59.26.

14:43 CEST   
Trine Schmidt is Danish. In June of this year she changed from Menikini - Selle Italia - Master Colors to Team Flexpoint. She finished second in her national TT championships.

Tatiana Antoshina of Russia is with Team Fenixs. She has a large number of top finishes this season, including second in her national TT.

Diana Ziliute, 32, of Lithuania, rides for Safi - Pasta Zara – Manhattan. She has six wins this season, including two stage wins this month in the Tour Cycliste Feminin International Ardeche.

14:44 CEST   
Grete Treier, is a 31 year-old Estonian. She rides for Gauss RDZ Ormu, and has had a successful year, winning both national titles and finishing third in the International Thüringen Rundfahrt.

14:47 CEST   
Emma Johansson of Sweden is national time trial champion. The AA Drink Cycling Team rider has five wins on the season, including the overall title in the Trophee d'Or Feminin. And her biggest moment had to be coming in second in the Olympics road race in Beijing.

14:47 CEST   
Van Rie just brought in the second best final time, 36:41.52.

14:48 CEST   
Charlotte Becker of Germany rides for Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung. She won the Holland Ladies Tour and finished second overall in the Albstadt-Frauen-Etappenrennen.

14:50 CEST   
Atkins tells us to keep an eye on Becker, she just might pull off a surprise today.

14:51 CEST   
Kirsten Wild is a Dutch rider with AA Drink Cycling Team. She can boast of eight victories this season, including the Omloop Het Volk.

14:52 CEST   
Wild will be riding for Cervélo-Life next season, as will Regina Bruins, also of the Netherlands.

14:54 CEST   
Alexis Rhodes is an Australian who rides for Team Columbia women. She opened the season winning the first stage of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic and added two stages of the San Dimas Stage Race to that.

Edwige Pitel of France is 41 and rides for Team Pro Féminin Les Carroz. She is another one with many top finishes this year, including the overall title in the Tour de Charente-Maritime Feminin.

14:57 CEST   
Laws now has the second best finish time.

14:59 CEST   
Marta Vilajosana Andreu of Spain rides for Team Cmax Dila. She doesn't have any wins this season, but many top finishes. She rode both women's races in the Beijing Olympics.

Amber Neben of the USA, Team Flexpoint, has many top finishes this year. She was second overall in the Giro d'Italia Femminile, and most recently won the Tour Cycliste Feminin International and was third in the Chrono Champenois-Trophee Europeen. Atkins tell us she is very strong, but likes it hillier than this course.

15:02 CEST   
Antoshina has just passed Schmidt, who started 2 minutes ahead of her.

15:02 CEST   
And Antoshina sets a new best time at the intermediate check, 21:59.

15:03 CEST   
Daiva Tuslaite comes from Lithuania and rides for S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox. She is another who has been in many of the big races this year and is national TT champion.

Alexandra Burchenkova of Russia just turned 20. Riding for Petrogradets, she has won two race stages this year and was eighth in the Trophee d'Or Feminin the end of August.

15:05 CEST   
Judith Arndt of Germany is underway now. She has to be a favourite for a medal. She has 11 wins on the season, and took the women's World Cup. This month alone she won the Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt and two stages of the Giro della Toscana Int. Femminile - Memorial Michela Fanini on her way to the overall race win for Team Columbia Women.

15:08 CEST   
Linda Villumsen of Denmark is also with Team Columbia Women. She holds both the road and time trial national titles.

15:10 CEST   
We have a new leading trio: Samplonius is still first, followed by Whitelaw (35:27) and Beveridge (35:44.91).

15:13 CEST   
Emma Pooley rides for Team Specialized Designs for Women. The Briton has eight wins this season, including the overall title in the Tour de Bretagne Feminin. She also took the silver medal in the women's time trial in the Beijing Olympics. This course is a bit flat for her tastes, though.

Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli -- this Frenchwoman needs practically no introduction. At the age of nearly 50, she rides for Team Pro Féminin Les Carroz and has five victories this season, including both her national road and time trial titles. She finished fourth in the time trial in the Olympic games last month. She has already won this title four times, but is still very competitive.

Susanne Ljungskog of Sweden started the season with Menikini - Selle Italia - Master Colors before moving to Team Flexpoint the end of June. Among her successes this season are the Berner Rundfahrt World Cup race and the overall title in the Tour de l'Aude.

15:15 CEST   
Antoshina pushes the Canadian out of first place. Her time is 34:14.74.

15:15 CEST   
Neben has the new best time at the first check. Arndt is now second there, with Antoshina third.

15:16 CEST   
Bridie O'Donnell is the Australian national time trial champion. According to Atkins, she is strong and could be a candidate for an upset.

Karin Thürig of Switzerland is with the Cervélo Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team. She has six wins this season, including the national time trial title. She won the last two races she rode this month, the Memorial David Fardelli – Cronometro Individuale and the Chrono Champenoies – Torphee Europeen.

15:18 CEST   
Christine Thorburn of the USA is reported to be retiring at the end of this season. The Webcor Builders Cycling team rider, who just turned 39, has brought in top finishes all season, and finished fifth in the Olympic time trial.

Only three more riders to go.

15:20 CEST   
Neben has just passed Vilajosana. Then she sets a new best intermediate time of 21:34, which is 25 seconds faster than Antoshina.

15:21 CEST   
Johansson come in with the third best time at the finish.

15:22 CEST   
Ellen Van Dijk of the Netherlands is a 21 year-old who rides for Vrienden van het Platteland. Her three victories this season were all in time trials, including the European U-23 title. Ben Atkins tells us that she is European champ, which is why she's this far up the order. She's a big Dutch girl so she likes it flat. She'll be off a lot of people's radar but could well be up there. Also world scratch champ from Manchester in March.

Christiane Soeder of Austria is a top pick for a medal here. The 33 year-old, who rides for Cervélo Lifeforce Pro Cycling Team has seven wins on the year, including the overall wins in the Geelong tour and the Grand Boucle Feminine International. She finished fourth in the Olympic road race and seventh in the time trial. According to Atkins, she is really strong, and has been trading TT wins with Thürig and Armstrong all year. She recently won Austrian TT champs for the umpteenth year. This could be her year.

15:23 CEST   
Becker is now second, behind Antoshina.

15:24 CEST   
The last one is ready to go. Kristin Armstrong, 35, of the US, is the absolute top favourite to win this race. She has six wins this year, including the overall title in the Tour of New Zealand, and of course was 2006 World champ. But who can forget her powerful performance in Beijing, where she won the Olympic time trial? Atkins says, there will be something wrong if she doesn't medal, but the course may not be hilly enough for her.

15:26 CEST   
Wild comes in with the 12th best time, 36:18.19.

15:28 CEST   
Rhodes bumps Wild out of 12th place, with a time of 36:12.46.

15:31 CEST   
Pitel finishes 14th, with a time of 36:28.38.

15:31 CEST   
Neben is coming in and will bring a new best time.

15:32 CEST   
And the American is our new leader. Her time of 33:51.35 is over 23 seconds faster than Antoshina.

15:34 CEST   
Soeder is only fifth at the first intermediate check, it will be hard for her to move up.

15:36 CEST   
And Armstrong is only third at the first time check, with a time of 11:24.23.

15:38 CEST   
Arndt has passed the rider in front of her and will bring in a good time.

15:38 CEST   
The German has now claimed second place, with a time of 34:13.12.

15:39 CEST   
Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown talked to Rhodes, who told him "I felt undergeared. Satisfied? No, I am not satisfied unless I am winning.."

15:40 CEST   
Will Arndt double again this year? In 2004 she got a medal in the TT and then went on to win the road race.

15:44 CEST   
Pooley comes to the finish and will move into third place.

15:47 CEST   
Neben doesn't look real cheery there, how about a smile?

15:49 CEST   
Samplonius told Brown, "I was happy with my ride. My goal was to do better than last year, when I finished 15th. When I was sitting in the hot seat, I didn't expect to stay there very long." She confirmed that this was her last race of the season.

15:49 CEST   
Here comes O'Donnell, and she won't even make the top ten.

15:51 CEST   
Thürig is only fourth, with a final time of 34:21.34. And Neben is still looking unhappy in the "hot seat"!

15:52 CEST   
Brown tried to interview Pooley after the race, but she was too tired to talk.

15:53 CEST   
Thorburn gets up out of the saddle to race into the finish, but she is only 10th, at 35:08.

15:54 CEST   
Come on, Neben, just a little smile?????

15:55 CEST   
Soeder has passed Van Dijk within the final km.

15:56 CEST   
And Soeder comes up with the second best time! She has 33:58.91, bumping Arndt down to third. What will Armstrong do?

15:57 CEST   
Aha, there was the start of a smile from Amber Neben!

15:58 CEST   
Armstrong gives it her all as she approaches the finish.

15:58 CEST   
But she comes over only in fifth place! Her time was 34:16.62.

15:59 CEST   
Neben covers her face for a second in relief, and now she has a big smile!

16:00 CEST   
Well, we expected an American woman to win today, we just expected it to be a different one! Congratulations to Amber Neben for her World title, and to runners-up Christiane Soeder of Austria and Judith Arndt of Germany.

16:01 CEST   
We've now had the "kiddies" and the women, tomorrow the men hit the road for the first time. Be sure to join us then, and thanks for reading along with us today.

Provisional results

1 Amber Neben (United States Of America)    33.51.35 (44.6 km/h)
2 Christiane Soeder (Austria)                     33.58.91
3 Judith Arndt (Germany)                          34.13.12
4 Tatiana Antoshina (Russian Federation)          34.14.74
5 Kristin Armstrong (United States Of America)    34.16.62
6 Karin Thürig (Switzerland)                      34.21.34
7 Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden)                      34.48.73
8 Emma Pooley (Great Britain)                     34.48.87
9 Charlotte Becker (Germany)                      34.54.67
10 Anne Samplonius (Canada)                       34.55.26

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