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2002 Road World Championships - CM

Hasselt-Zolder, Belgium, October 8-13, 2002

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Day 5 - October 12: Elite Women Road Race, 128km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 13:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 16:30 CEST

13:30 CEST
Welcome back to Cyclingnews.com's live coverage of the World Road Championships. The Elite Women are just about to set off for their 10 laps of the lightning fast Zolder circuit, for a total of 128 km. The Junior Men's race finished just on an hour ago, with a six man breakaway succeeding in staying clear on the last lap. The Women's race has a better chance of finishing in a bunch sprint, with strong teams such as Germany, the Netherlands and Australia trying to keep it together.

The weather conditions are cool, around 11-12 degrees Celsius, but there is no rain on the track.

An interesting tidbit: Jeannie Longo (Fra) is riding her Hooker TT bike, with 650c wheels. It's pretty clear what her intentions are today!

13:34 CEST
Jeannie Longo does a turn leading into the Gilles Villeneuve chicane for the first time. The Dutch team is right on her wheel, very attentive.

A look at the favourites for this race sees the Germans with perhaps the best options: Petra Rossner, the fastest road sprinter in the world, leads a strong team containing Judith Arndt, Ina Teutenberg, Regina Schleicher, Tina Liebig, Angela Brodtka and Trixi Worrack.

The Dutch have the world's top ranked rider in Mirjam Melchers, who is dangerous if she gets away in a small break. The rest of the team is strong too, with Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel, Debby Mansveld, Arenda Grimberg, Sissy Van Alebeek and Anouska Van Der Zee.

13:40 CEST - 7 km
On the Terlaemenlaan climb for the first time, and a group of seven riders gets a little gap to the peloton. There is no immediate reaction, but once over the climb the advantage disappears completely.

A strong outside chance today is USA's Laura Van Gilder, a powerful sprinter who will certainly try to do something at the finish. She was second behind Rossner in the Liberty Classic this year.

A strong outside chance today is USA's Laura Van Gilder, a powerful sprinter who will certainly try to do

13:44 CEST - 10 km/118 km to go
The peloton hits the Pitsberg climb for the first time at a steady tempo. Longo is near the front, as the Germans marshal the peloton. It's nervous, but no-one attacks. The Lithuanian jerseys with defending champ Rasa Polikeviciute are also near the front.

13:48 CEST - 13 km/115 km to go
The first lap is completed in 18'15, an average speed of 42.08 km/h. The Dutch get to the front and set a steady tempo.

13:54 CEST - 17 km/111 km to go
Chalime Giourbouz (Greece) becomes the first rider to abandon. She appear to miss the start by a few seconds and couldn't chase back on.

A Spanish rider - Arantzazu Azpiroz - has attacked on Kerkstraat and has a 10 second gap to the calm peloton.

14:01 CEST - 22 km/106 km to go
Arenda Grimberg bridges the gap to Azpiroz after the Bolderberg roundabout, which forces the peloton to close it down completely.

Zinaida Stahurskaia forces the pace on the Pitsberg on the second lap, causing a few gaps to appear in the peloton. It comes back together and Mari Holden (USA) counter attacks hard.

14:06 CEST - 26 km/102 km to go
Holden is caught by a small group with Stahurskaia in it, just before the end of the second lap. There are seven leaders with a 7 second gap to the peloton. The second lap was completed in 18'24.

The break contains Alessandra D'ettorre (Ita) Jolanta Polikeviciute (Ltu) Arenda Grimberg (Ned) Tina Liebig (Ger) Valentyna Karpenko (Ukr) Mari Holden (USA) and Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr). But the peloton is ever attentive and chases it down. Longo is now on the front.

Petra Rossner (Ger) has fallen around the back of the circuit just before the chicanes. She is not moving, and is taken out of the race. The biggest favourite has gone.

14:11 CEST - 30 km/98 km to go
Rossner's abandon will change the tactics of the Germans, who will have to try and get Arndt in a break. However Schleicher is also fast, as is Teutenberg.

Jolanta Polikeviciute (Ltu) signals to the neutral service for a bike change. Her derailleur (or her dropout) is very bent.

14:18 CEST - 34 km/94 km to go
It's still the Dutch team setting the tempo as they go around the Bolderberg roundabout for the third time. Longo is always attentive near the front.

The other favourites for this race are the Australians, who have Rochelle Gilmore as their top sprinter. Gilmore has finished on the podium in two World Cups this year, as well as winning a silver medal in the women's scratch race at the World Track Championships recently.

Lyne Bessette gets a flat and is chasing 40 seconds behind. She'll find it hard to make that up.

14:23 CEST - 38 km/90 km to go
A Finnish rider attacks just before they enter the circuit. She creates a small gap, but no-one will work. The peloton comes back together.

At the end of three laps, the average speed is still 41.9 km/h, with that last lap being run in 18'20.

Longo attacks a few times, but everyone is on her wheel.

14:28 CEST - 42 km/86 km to go
Longo does a long turn at the front, as no-one seems to be interested in going around her. Jolanta Polikeviciute gets a very amateurish looking bike change. The saddle is too high and it has toe clips and straps. She can only laugh.

Bessette has abandoned at the beginning of lap 4. There was no way she was going to catch the peloton.

Grimberg attacks at the exit of the circuit, and takes eight riders with her. The peloton rejoins the break and there is a new attack by Denise Baumann (Swi). She gets Kirsty Robb (NZl) with her.

14:33 CEST - 45 km/83 km to go
As the peloton catches Baumann and Robb there is a counter attack by another Swiss rider. However it goes nowhere.

Jolanta Polikeviciute is now 1'40 behind the peloton, effectively out of the race. It is fatal to have a mechanical problem at these World's.

14:38 CEST - 49 km/79 km to go
One of Polikeviciute's teammates leads the pack at the base of the Pitsberg. A Ukrainian rider attacks past her, but the peloton stays together on the climb.

14:42 CEST - 51 km/77 km to go
Jeannie Longo leads the still complete peloton through with six laps to go. The average speed so far is 42.3 km/h, and that lap was raced in 17'38 (43.5 km/h), the fastest yet.

Around the back in the team area, the Belgian handler misses giving a bottle to his riders again.

Madeleine Lindberg (Swe) attacks on the little hill at the back on the motor racing circuit. She is chased down by a Dutch rider, and it comes together again.

14:49 CEST - 56 km/72 km to go
Jolanta Polikeviciute is forced to abandon, riding a neutral spare bike with toe clips and seat too low. She should have kept riding her original bike with its bent derailleur!

The Dutch team are still riding at the front, with Leontien nearly always in second wheel, and Jeannie Longo riding her time trial bike also never far from the lead. Olga Slioussareva (Rus), Nicole Brandli (Swi) and Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr) are there too.

14:56 CEST - 61 km/67 km to go
It's status quo as they hit the Pitsberg for the fifth time. Grimberg(?) and Van Moorsel at the front. The pace is not high enough to cause gaps on the climb, despite the efforts of some riders.

15:00 CEST - 64 km/64 km to go
The halfway point of the race is reached, with the women's peloton all together. But there is an increase of the speed coming up to the finish line, and a group of seven riders get a gap, including Ljungskog, Stahurskaia, and Rasa Polikeviciute. They will be caught though.

The average speed so far is 42.2 km/h.

15:03 CEST - 67 km/61 km to go
As they are caught, a new counter attack goes, with Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus), Alison Wright (Aus), Sandrine Marcuz (Fra), Arantzazu Azpiroz (Spa) and Sara Felloni (Ita). It's a good lead, as the peloton lets them go.

Angela Brodtka (Ger) is trying to chase them.

15:08 CEST - 71 km/57 km to go
The five leaders are working well together on Westlaan, with Zoulfia Zabirova doing some strong turns. Judith Arndt is leading the peloton 15 seconds behind.

They are caught on the Bolderberg/Terlaemenlaan climb, and a Ukrainian rider counter attacks over the top. She doesn't get far though.

15:13 CEST - 74 km/54 km to go
Catherine Marsal puts in a strong attack as they approach Pitsberg for the 6th time. Her teammate Jeannie Longo is now on the back of the peloton.

Miho Oki (Jpn) has a mechanical problem at the back, but it's not serious.

15:16 CEST - 75 km/53 km to go
Marsal keeps looking around, but the peloton is still 15 seconds behind her. There is a chase group of three, with Judith Arndt, but it gets nowhere. The peloton crosses the line for the sixth lap with an 8 second deficit to Marsla. The average speed is 42.6 km/h. That lap was raced in 17'22, 44 km/h.

Tina Leibig is off the back of the group.

15:20 CEST - 79 km/49 km to go
Catherine Marsal, who won the World Championship Road Race in Utsunomiya in 1989, is leading the race with less than four laps to go by about 10 seconds. The peloton cannot make up its mind to chase yet.

A Russian rider lifts the tempo in the peloton to try and catch Marsal. She has Australian Hayley Rutherford on her wheel but that doesn't deter her. Marsal is caught just before they turn onto Westlaan.

15:26 CEST - 83 km/45 km to go
The Dutch get to the front again as they approach Terlaemenlaan, as Vonckx (Bel) takes over followed by Alison Wright (Aus). Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) attacks, but the peloton doesn't want to let her go far.

Pucinskaite, the 1999 World Champ, doesn't look back and drives up towards the Bolderberg hill. However no-one wants to let her go and she is caught at the foot of the small climb.

15:29 CEST - 85 km/43 km to go
An Italian has countered - it's Alessandra Cappellotto who was World Champion in 1997. She has about 6 seconds on a fast moving pack.

Cappellotto makes the turn towards the Pitsberg climb , with an Australian rider leading the chase. Also notable near the front is Nicole Cooke (GBr), last year's junior champion.

15:33 CEST - 88 km/40 km to go
Stahurskaia counter attacks on the climb, and Cappellotto is swallowed. Stahurskaia was World Champion in 2000. However she is caught too as Eneritz Iturriaga (Spa) and Mirjam Melchers (Ned) go on the offensive.

Ina Teutenberg (Ger) has fallen. Not too seriously but she'll have to chase. That's the third German rider with bad luck today.

15:36 CEST - 90 km/38 km to go
It's all together with 3 laps to go. Save for a group of riders chasing on after the crash: Ina Teutenberg (Ger), Angela Brodtka (Ger), Trixi Worrack (Ger) and Margaret Hemsley (Aus) are part of the group.

Brodtka is dropped, and there are three. The pursuit looks to be hopeless though.

15:40 CEST - 93 km/35 km to go
The pack exits the circuit with a 32 seconds lead on a chasing group with Ina Teutenberg (Ger), Trixi Worrack (Ger) Zlatica Gavlakova (Svk) and Margaret Hemsley (Aus). The pace at the front of the peloton is high.

Russian rider Svetlana Boubnenkova attacks on Westlaan. She gets a gap, surprisingly as the peloton takes it easy for a short while. But now she has to hold them off. Her gap is 12 seconds.

Teutenberg's group is not making any inroads on the peloton.

15:45 CEST - 96 km/32 km to go
Judith Arndt looks back to see where Teutenberg is. She isn't, so Arndt has to get back on via the convoy. The Germans are down to two, with Schleicher and Arndt.

15:48 CEST - 99 km/29 km to go
Nicole Cooke (GBr), Ioulia Martissova (Rus) and Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) attack on the Bolderberg climb, but are unsuccessful. When they are caught, Longo counter attacks. Boubnenkova is still 10 seconds in the lead.

A fall at the back with Vibe Janne Kolding (Den) Lisbeth Simper (Den) Catherine Marsal (Fra) Diana Elmentaite (Ltu) Noemi Cantele (Ita) Tina Mayolo Bogumila Matusiak (Pol). Solrun Flataas (Nor) looks to be the worst hurt, and she's out of the race.

15:51 CEST - 101 km/27 km to go
Boubnenkova makes it over the top of Pitsberg with a shrinking lead. The peloton bears down on her and will surely catch her in the Zolder circuit.

15:53 CEST - 102 km/26 km to go
Two laps to go, and the peloton is complete once again. The average speed is 42.6 km/h.

Mari Holden (USA) were also caught up in the crash at the base of the Pitsberg, along with Tina Mayolo. That has really cut into the American team's chances, although Van Gilder is still in the peloton.

15:58 CEST - 106 km/22 km to go
Less than two laps to go, and the peloton is still together, just. A group with Melchers, Somarriba, Longo, Wright, and Rasa Polikeviciute gets a small gap, but it's closed down.

16:01 CEST - 108 km/20 km to go
Longo, Stahurskaia and Van Moorsel lead the pack on Westlaan for the second last time. It's all bunched up now. Is a bunch sprint inevitable?

Ina Teutenberg has abandoned, with Worrack. The Germans are pretty much out of the race, although don't discount Arndt and Schleicher.

16:05 CEST - 111 km/17 km to go
Joane Somarriba (Spa), Nicole Brandli (Swi), and an Sara Carrigan (Aus) attack on the Bolderberg climb.

Lindberg has a flat. That could be bad for her at this point in the race. She could change it herself...

16:07 CEST - 112 km/16 km to go
The three leaders reach the foot of the Pitsberg, with 15 seconds on the bunch. It's now raining lightly.

The Australians are near the front of the pack, with Longo doing the actual chasing on the climb. Stahurskaia is also there. The gap at the top is 18 seconds.

16:10 CEST - 114 km/14 km to go
The three leaders, Carrigan, Brandli and Somarriba, enter the circuit for the second last time. They have 15 seconds on the peloton, which is led by Lithuanian Modesta Vzesniauskaite.

16:11 CEST - 115 km/13 km to go
With one lap to go, the gap is 20 seconds. The rain is a little bit heavier now, which will help the chase.

The average speed is up to 42.78 km/h, with that last lap run at 43.8 km/h.

16:13 CEST - 117 km/11 km to go
The leaders go past the team boxes for the last time, with 15 seconds. It's drier on this side of the course.

All three are good time trialists: Brandli, Somarriba and Carrigan. The sprint will be interesting if it comes to that.

Longo is at the front of the pack trying to chase, but an Australian is on her wheel.

16:15 CEST - 119 km/9 km to go
They exit the circuit carefully due to the wet corner. The gap is up to 20 seconds as no-one wants to help Longo chase. The Italians and Russians are now amassing near the front.

16:19 CEST - 122 km/6 km to go
Sara Carrigan, Nicole Brandli and Joane Somarriba are leading the race with half a lap to go, with a 20 second gap to the Russian/Italian led peloton.

The leaders turn onto Terlaemenlaan for the last time. A Russian rider is on the front with a New Zealander on her wheel. The Kiwi refuses to go past. Now a British rider takes over, with Leontien on her wheel.

16:22 CEST - 123 km/5 km to go
Somarriba leads Brandli and Carrigan on the Bolderberg climb for the last time. Urbonaite (Ltu) has attacked to try and bridge up to the leaders.

There is a massive fall in the peloton on the climb. Van Alebeek and Vonckx are involved.

16:24 CEST - 124 km/4 km to go
4 km to go for the leaders. Carrigan is probably the quickest on paper, but this is a very tough sprint. Urbonaite is at 12 seconds, the peloton at 16 seconds. The roads are wet.

Urbonaite is caught by the first half of the peloton (about 25 riders) before the Pitsberg.

16:25CEST - 126 km/2 km to go
Somarriba powers up the climb with Brandli and Carrigan following. The three crest with a handy lead on the peloton of 15 seconds. Melchers, Stahurskaia and Ljungskog are chasing. But they fall on the descent. Ljungskog survives.

Stahurskaia went right over the top of Melchers!

16:28 CEST - 127 km/1 km to go
Ljungskog is catching them and does so with 800m to go. Somarriba attacks but can't get clear. Ljungskog can win this.

16:29 CEST - 128 km/0 km to go
Carrigan leads out but Ljungskog goes over her and wins in front of Brandli, Somarriba and Carrigan. Wright takes 5th from Slioussareva.


1 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe)          2.59.15
2 Nicole Brändli (Swi) 
3 Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spa) 
4 Sara Carrigan (Aus) 
5 Alison Wright (Aus)                 0.18
6 Olga Slyusareva (Rus) 
7 Magali Le Floch (Fra) 
8 Arenda Grimberg (Ned) 
9 Volha Hayeva (Blr) 
10 Sara Felloni (Ita) 


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