75th World Championships - CM
Varese, Italy, September 23-28, 2008
Results & report
Race 5 - September 27: Women's road race - 8 laps, 138.80km
Complete live report
Live commentary by Ben Atkins
Ciao! Welcome to our Live coverage of today's Women's World Championships Road Race. The women will cover 8 laps of the course covered by the under 23 men yesterday, adding up to a total of 138.8km.
It's a cloudy day here in Varese, but there shouldn't be any rain. It's taken the edge off the temperature a bit though and most are taking the start with armwarmers.
and they're off! Rolling away from the Mapei Cycling Stadium with the US and Italian teams at the head.
Team news today is that Germany's uber-sprinter Ina Teutenberg is out with a cold so Charlotte Becker comes in to replace her. Petra Rossner told us that Ina was here to work in the early part of the race anyway though, but she'll be missed.
Crash!!! Right at the front of the bunch, It looked like a Swedish rider swerved across the road and brought a few down. Luckily they were going up hill and so not many actually crashed.
Switzerland's Patricia Schwager had to get a technical fault fixed afterwards and has to chase to rejoin.
It's gruppo compatto as the pace slows to allow everyone back in. It's a bit too early to take things too quickly though...
Great Britain's Lizzie Armitstead takes to the front to inject a bit of early pace.
Team USA goes for it. It's Kori Seehafer, winner of the Swedish round of the World Cup. Australia's Rochelle Gilmore gets on her wheel and the bunch strings out behind them.
We spoke to a number of riders this morning. Local girl Noemi Cantele was very much in demand today. Luckily we spoke to her early in the week.
Another crash. Looks like Mariya Slokotovich of Kazakhstan. She gets dragged to the side of the road for some attention. Careful there! Looks like her race is over already.
We have the first attack of the day on the climb to Ronchi and it's Kristin Armstrong of the USA. She's joined by Luise Keller of Germany. the Italians won't let them get away though and they're dragged back.
Armstrong tries to wave the others through, but no one wants to yet.
Armstrong's pace setting has pulled a group of riders off the front and they currently have 14 seconds over the rest. We'll try and get the names as quick as we can, but Luise Keller of Germany, Lizzie Armitstead of Great Britain, Giorgia Bronzini of Italy and Nikki Egyed of Australia are in there.
The Netherlands and Sweden have missed the break and so they are working on the front as they approach the finish line for the first time.
13:28 CEST 17.35km/121.45km to go
the first lap was completed in 27:01 by the leaders and the peloton followed them over about 35 seconds later.
Diana Ziliute of Lithuania leads the break up the Salita di Via Montello as Regina Bruins of the Netherlands leads the peloton.
Ziliute is riding her last race today, as are a number of others.
Sorry, our mistake, that's not Bronzini in the break it's Monia Baccaillle.
Laura Lepasalu of Estonia has abandoned already. The early pace a seems to be a bit hot for some.
More news on the breakaway's composition, there are three Germans in there. Charlotte Becker and Angela Brodtka are there as well as Keller.
They have a 45 second lead over the peloton.
Regina Bruins of the Netherlands still leads the chase. It's not clear if the Dutch want to bring them back, or just hold them because she's on her own.
The break goes out slightly to 49 seconds
Monica Holler of Sweden now leads the chase. We spoke to her this morning and she's really pleased to be here after getting a last minute call up. Her morale is also really good because she won the final stage of the Giro di Toscana last week. It's not a good course for her today though, so her job comes early on.
Sharon Laws of Great Britain goes down on a sweeping bend. Everyone gets around her though, but she has a problem with her bike. shell have to get going quickly, Nicole Cooke will be needing her later on!
The break is down to 27 seconds as we approach the Salita dei Ronchi for the second time.
Okay, we have the riders in the breakaway: Kristin Armstrong (USA) Luise Keller, Charlotte Becker, Angela Brodtka (all Germany) Diana Ziliute and Jolanta Polikeviciute (both Lithuania), Grace Verbeke (Belgium), Maryline Salvetat (France), Lizzie Armitstead (Great Britain), Nikki Egyed (Australia), Monia Baccaille (Italy), Anna Sanchis Chafer (Spain) and Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mexico).
Just as we say that though, Brodtka drops off so we now have 12 up front.
The leaders are on to the finishing straight again. Armstrong and Baccaille lead them over the line.
We're not sure where that 27 second gap update came from as the gap is already over a minute and the peloton hasn't crossed yet.
Confusingly, Becker is wearing number 139 when all the other Germans are 13-18. It's because she's a last minute replacement for Ina Teutenberg.
Judith Arndt of Germany is wearing unlucky 13 today incidentally, but she's still one of the favourites.
There are lots of good omens for Arndt here by the way - apart from the fact that she's won so much this season... She won the last time it was in Italy, and the last time it was in an Olympics year (Verona 2004).
Mind you, she was the Olympic silver medallist at the time, which this year is Emma Johansson of Sweden...
Speaking of last time it was in Italy. Tatiana Guderzo of Italy got the silver medal behind Arndt that year. she got the bronze in Beijing and so is up for this today.
The breakaway still rolls on , they all see, to be taking their turns well.
The Dutch still lead the peloton with Regina Bruins and Irene Van den Broek.
The peloton takes that tricky lefthander where Laws came down, but everybody gets around okay this time.
Emma Rickards of Australia leads the bunch, not sure why as Egyed is up front.
Ah, that's why, the pace drops and the Lithuanian team spreads across the front. They have two in the front group and will want to keep them out there as long as possible.
Armstrong continues to lead. She was pretty disappointed after finishing fifth in the time trial on Wednesday so she's up for it today.
Speaking of the time trial, we spoke to newly crowned champion Amber Neben of the USA this morning. She was her usual chirpy self and looking forward to what she expected to be a super-hard race today. Time will tell if her legs have recovered enough from Wednesday's performance.
Marianne Vos of the Netherlands is a lot of people's favourite for today. She's currently sitting in the middle of the bunch as her team puts riders on the front. We spoke to her this morning and she was feeling pretty good and looking forward to it.
Jess Allen of Great Britain now leads the peloton. We're pretty sure that Armitstead is still up front though.
Yep, there she is.
14:22 CEST 52.05km/86.75km to go
The breakaway of 12 comes in to the finishing straight again with 52.05km covered in 1:21.50, that's and average of 38.16kph so far
The Dutch are back at the front again, but the French are up there to spoil things for them.
A Swiss rider attacks in the finishing straight, but she's latched on to by Seehafer of the US and two French riders. She's going nowhere...
the gap is now up to 2 minutes
Oenone Wood (Australia) now leads with team-mate Carla Ryan. Amber Neben is up there too on the climb of via Montello.
Oenone Wood is another rider who is hanging up her wheels after today's race. She's only just turned 28, so we spoke to her recently to talk about the decision and look back on her career.
In her usual style of either being on the front or on the back, Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli of France is now on the front... she's one rider who isn't retiring yet, being nearly 50.
Now Emma Pooley of great Britain takes over
No one really wants to chase this one. Karin Thürig of Switzerland comes forward with some Canadians but there's plenty of US, Lithuania and Italy riders there so the pace drops right off in the peloton.
On the subject of retiring riders, we spoke to Christine Thorburn of the US this morning. She's giving up cycling at this level and getting a dog instead!
Morfin Macouzet of Mexico leads the break around a corner and gets a bit spooked by a photographer sticking out in the road. She wobbles a bit but no harm done and no one else has any problems.
Armstrong leads again on the climb. She's doing a lot of work today, does team USA want both jerseys this year, maybe both for Neben..?
There's a Canadian on the front of the peloton now, we can't quite make out who it is, but she has the unmistakable figure of Germany's Trixi Worrack right on her wheel. those Germans know a thing or two about teamwork!
The break passes a sign saying "Vola Bettini". That's tomorrow people, it's the women today!
Whoops, we've embarrassed ourselves a bit there, having referred to "the unmistakable figure of Trixi Worrack" it turns out that the German rider was Claudia Hausler! Still, same team, so not such a big mistake...
The break has come down slightly, but it's still at 2 minutes
Ziliute is trying to get the others to come through, maybe there's a few passengers up there....
Armstrong on the front again! Leading the break through the streets of Varese as they head towards the finish line once more.
14:52 CEST 69.4km/69.4km to go
They cross the line at the halfway point in 1:50.29. That's 36.79kph so far
Here comes the peloton though, led by Canada's Erinne Willock, just 1.11 behind them.
Armstrong and Willock both grimace on the climb at the head of their respective groups.
Here come the Swiss, sending Serena Trachsel and Andrea Thürig forward
The pace at the front is hurting those at the back with a steady stream dropping backwards.
Pooley and Hausler are back up the front, which should indicate that things are slowing again in the peloton.
It's fragmenting slightly though as they pull a bit clear on the descent with Neben, but it's all together again in the bunch.
Pooley by the way is doing her last race on her Specialized bike as the team is folding at the end of this year. Not sure if she'll get to keep those Beijing special Lightweight wheels of hers though. Apparently she's another rider who's talking to Cervélo-Lifeforce, but she told us this morning that nothing's signed yet.
Charlotte Becker now leads the break for Germany. she was really pleased with her performance in Wednesday's time trial finishing 9th, just one place behind the aforementioned Pooley.
Irene "VDB" Van Den Broek is back on the front again, but is surrounded by Germans and Lithuanians so it's quite hard work. We spoke to her this morning and she's her usual cheerful self, but she hasn't yet signed with a team next year as AA-Drink is effectively ending.
In the breakaway is Nikki Egyed of Australia, we spoke to her this morning and she told us that she's signed for the Webcor Builders team for next season. She'll mostly be racing in the US, but she ought to be in Europe with the Aussie team from time to time.
Cherise Taylor of South Africa climbs off at the finishing area. she looks pretty cheerful about the whole situation though.
VDB still leads the chase on her own, she throws a bottle away as the gap is announced at 1:20 to the leaders
Sorry there's not many distance updates by the way, we don't get them up here. They're on lap 5 of 8, so just over half way. A little over 60km to go.
Ziliute by the way is one of a number of former champions in the race having won ten years ago in 1998 when the race was in Valkenburg, Netherlands.
Pooley goes again, but is marked by Fabiana Luperini of Italy. There's a name to think about today... the Italian champion won the Giro d'Italia this year and last month took the Grand Prix Plouay World Cup race.
the course may be a bit flat for her, but don't rule her out...
Other former champions out there are Ziliute's Lithuanian team-mates Edita Pucinskaite (1999) and Rasa Policaveciute (2001), we're hoping to not have to type that too often but Rasa's twin sister Jolanta is in the break so don't be too sure...
Let's hope we don't have to as we spelled it wrong! It's "Polikeviciute"
If their team-mate Modesta Vzesniauskaite attacks we'll be in real trouble!
Back to the race, the leaders are approaching the end of lap 5 with Egyed on the front.
15:20 CEST 86.75km/52.05km to go
Over they go, three laps to go
The peloton follows 1:15 behind them
Make that 1:14, but it's still pretty static
We get an overhead shot of Judith Arndt and as tradition has it she has one of her number 13's upside down to make sure the bad luck drops out.
Once again Luperini puts the pressure on up the via Ronchi climb, but the bunch sticks to her. The guys at the back will have felt that though.
She has Trixi Worrack on her back wheel (and it really is her this time!)
The leaders pass over some road graffiti. There must be some confusion as to which way the race is going as some of it is upside down. Concentrate people!
Great Britain team-mates Cooke and Pooley are having a chat, right on the front of the bunch...
Looks like Eva Lechner is about to become the first Italian rider to drop out.
Just as we say that, we see pictures of US riders Brooke Miller and Christine Armstrong climbing off. That's the end of Thorburn's career, ciao Christine, keep in touch.
They're followed by Emma Rickards of Australia...
Jolanta P leads the break on the fastest part of the course, the bunch behind them is looking a lot smaller than it was at the start, but still pretty sizeable considering the stage we're now at.
VDB back on the front of the peloton again, Regina Bruins is moving forward to help her out. the Dutch want this one!
The leaders grab bottles as the pass through the feed zone. This always looks a bit dicey but there's no problems.
Local girl Cantele shadows Arndt in the bunch. the Italian and German teams both fear the Dutch, specifically Vos.
Back to those past winners: Marianne Vos is here of course, winner in 2006.
and of course Arndt was 2004 champion - last time it was in Italy remember.
Pooley goes again and gets a small gap, she's pursued by Susanne Ljungskog of Sweden.
Worrack follows with Cooke on her wheel , but everyone else is with them so Pooley sits up.
Neben is up there again, and Cantele shows herself for the first time.
Ljungskog of course is a two-time champion, having won in Zolder Belgium in 2002 and Hamilton, Canada in 2003.
Neben goes down! she's up again but has a problem with her bike. A mechanical cost her in the Olympic road race lets hope it doesn't do so again!
She's back up the front, but how much did that effort cost her?
Suzanne De Goede is now on the front for the Dutch. She came second in the World Cup this year, but still has to work for the team.
Chris Hurt writes in to ask if we've seen anything of Kathryn Bertine of St Kitts and Nevis today. She's original from the US but has now got dual citizenship. Sorry Chris, no sign, we'll yell if we see her.
15:48 CEST 104.1km/34.7km to go
The breakaway comes up the finishing straight to start the second to last lap. Armstrong leading again! She's on a mission today.
We're beginning to wonder if we mis-identified Neben in that spill earlier, she's at the front and was can't see any ill effects. It might have been Kathryn Curi-Mattis, let's hope her collarbone held out if it was!
The gap is now down to 49 seconds as the bunch crosses the finish line.
the break is still all together, with Ziliute leading up the Via Ronchi climb.
Pooley goes again, but the peloton goes with her.
Sorry, that's via Montello, the climb that is, it has a maximum gradient of 10% and that's where Pooley put the hammer down.
the gap is now down to 30 seconds after the pressure from Pooley.
Of course the former champion we haven't mentioned yet is the venerable Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli who won in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1995. A lot of the riders here weren't born for those first ones!
25 seconds as Charlotte Becker talks in her radio. What are the Germans planning?
Jolanta P goes for it, followed by Keller, but everyone else goes too so we're back where we were.
While Jolanta is on the front of the break, twin sister Rasa is on the front of the peloton.
She goes again, but no dice.
Jolanta really is trying to break this up now, but the others won't let her go.
De Goede is back on the front for the Netherlands with Hausler on her wheel.
Now it's Ziliute's turn on the front of the break can she get a second title ten years after the first?
Whoops! Eagle-eyed Paraduxx tells us I said that Christine Armstrong had climbed off. some kind of US hybrid timetrialling machine? No, sorry, I meant Thorburn of course!
The leaders pass through the feed zone once again, but most of them ignore the bidons waved at them by their soigneurs.
Now it's Armstrong's turn to put the pressure on. But Neben is now on the front of the peloton, up the Ronchi climb for the penultimate time.
That's put Luise Keller in trouble, which is surprising as she's a great climber!
Maybe Keller is waiting for her team leaders who are now about a minute behind...
Claudia Hausler now attacks the peloton, Pooley gives chase with Cantele on her wheel.
The Italian captain will know every inch of this tarmac, is she picking her moment to go?
Egyed attacks the break and gets away!
She's got a good gap here, looks like she went from second wheel as Ziliute pulled over. Armstrong tried to go with her but couldn't
Morfin Macouzet of Mexico changes her bile and now has to chase back on to the breakaway. It was a pretty slick manoeuvre but they're really going now and she might not make it.
She's made it though, but Egyed is still away.
Now she attacks! What's on that new bike an engine?
Natalian Boyarskaya of Russia jumps away from the peloton taking a few with her. Remember her from the Beijing road race?
All together in the bunch now, but Egyed is approaching the bell on her own out front with the rest of the break in the distance behind her.
16:16 CEST 121.45km/17.35km to go
Egyed takes the bell!
The break follows 18 seconds behind her. Go Nikki!
Here comes the peloton 1:26 behind the lone Aussie
It's Trixi Worrack again, with Cantele right behind her
Suddenly it's all come together and Vos flies past Egyed
Ljungskog is after her tough with Worrack, Arndt and Cooke.
That looks like Johansson too
Trixi really goes for it and we now have a group of six up front!
Cantele is chasing the leaders alone
Ljungskog punctures, this is taking ages to change!
Cantele can see the leaders now as they lap some back markers
We have Vos, Arndt, Johansson, Cooke, Worrack with Cantele chasing and we've momentarily lost Ljungskog after her puncture
Neben now leads the peloton with most of the Lithuanian team. the race has turned on it's head!
Worrack goes again but takes Vos with her
Johansson is chasing with Cooke and Arndt behind her
Now Cooke goes, the front two are in sight
The five are almost back together...
Vos and Worrack slow and the other three get on
No sign of Cantele or Ljungskog behind
there's Cantele, looks like she's trying to get on but the front five are motoring now
the rest of the peloton is pretty small now, no time gaps but they are gone now we think.
the front five slow, will this give Cantele and Ljungskog their chance?
On to the Ronchi climb again for the last time and it's Worrack who goes again but the others stay with her.
Now Arndt goes!
the German has a gap but then Vos goes over the top!
Vos is now solo!
she had a really disappointing Olympic road race, but can she get the rainbow jersey back?
Worrack leads the chase but they're making no impression
Vos tops the climb with 10 seconds over the others and 27 over Cantele
Hang on! They've got her back, Arndt leads the chase and they're five at the front again!
Was that Vos' chance?
Worrack leads again, don't forget there's two Germans here!
they look at one another and slow a bit
Cantele is still chasing, she's not giving up her home worlds
Off goes Worrack again!
the Germans are working the others over
They'll be fearing the sprints of Vos and Cooke.
and Johansson is no slouch either
Worrack has a gap and Vos leads the chase
through the streets of Varese they go as Vos reels her back inch by inch
Arndt is sitting pretty at the back
Now Cooke goes!
followed by Arndt
Worrack is spent now and is dropped
can the Olympic silver medallist do it as Arndt did in 2004?
Worrack is back and chasing under the final kilometre
Johansson still has it but here comes Arndt!
the Swede has gone
but Cooke takes it!!!!!
the Olympic champion is now the World champion!
Vos went first with Cooke in her wheel and the Welshwoman came around her in the final metres.
here comes the peloton and Ziliute breaks off to win the sprint for the also rans
Cooke is waving the Welsh flag, she can't believe it!
Looks like Vos was second and Arndt third
with Johansson 4th and then Worrack
the peloton caught Cantele in the closing stages
Thanks for joining us for the Women's World Championships today, we hope you enjoyed what was a fantastic race and we look forward to your company for the men's race tomorrow.
1 Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) 3.42.11 (37.482km/h)
2 Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
3 Judith Arndt (Germany)
4 Emma Johansson (Sweden) 0.05
5 Trixi Worrack (Germany) 0.11
6 Diana Ziliute (Lithuania) 1.47
7 Marta Vilajosana Andreu (Spain)
8 Joanne Kiesanowski (New Zealand)
9 Alex Wrubleski (Canada)
10 Julia Martisova (Russian Federation)
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