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2002 Road World Championships - CM

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

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Day 4 - October 11: Junior Women's Road Race, 76.4 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 09:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 11:35 CEST

09:29 CEST    
Welcome back to Circuit Zolder for the first road race on the programme of these Worlds, the junior women's race over six laps of the circuit which will be used for all the remaining events. Last year's winner was Great Britain's Nicole Cooke, but she has moved up to the senior ranks. After their showing in the time trial, the Italians must be the ones to beat, but a chilly Flanders morning may not be to their advantage; the Dutch and German teams are also tipped by a few as worth watching.

09:45 CEST    10 km/66 km to go
The race sets out under sunny skies with no wind at all. As they leave the motor racing circuit for the first time, there is a bit of a tangle and a few riders come down, but witout any serious consequences. The pace on the first lap is brisk, but no team is really trying to stretch things out yet. The Australians are prominent at the front; they have been riding in Belgium for a few weeks for acclimatisation, and have shown the local girls a thing or two, by all accounts.

09:52 CEST    14 km/62 km to go
The first climb up the Sterrewacht puts a few riders in trouble, with a Latvian and a Colombian lsoing contact - it seems likely that a lot of the racing will be at the back in this event. The victims of the early crash include the Italian Daniela Fusar Poli, who is reprted as being two minutes down.

The first attack comes from one of the Canadians, but it doesn't come to anything. The bunch are using the whole not inconsiderable width of the motor circuit as they come through to complete the first lap.

09:56 CEST    16 km/60 km to go
On the motor racing circuit the pace eases off until one of the Spanish riders decides that it has got too silly and has a go, but the Dutch seem to be marking everything closely; there is a flurry of attacks up the little climb to the Gilles Villeneuve bend, with Belgium's Sara Peeters showing her face, but none come to anything.

10:08 CEST    24 km/52 km to go
On the second lap the well-organised Dutch team, who are supposed to be working for Monica Vierling, make repeated attacks to lift the speed, with Loes Markerink and Marjon Spijkerman doing the work. The Germans and the Australians look as though they are keeping control of things reasonably well.

A few more riders are dropped on the second climb of the Sterrewacht.

10:14 CEST    28 km/48 km to go
The average speed after two laps is around 38.5 kph, and although it's still a bit stop-go the general pace looks to have picked up a bit.

An attack by Audrey Lemieux (Canada) on the back of the motor circuit is brought back very promptly by Spijkerman.

10:20 CEST    32 km/44 km to go
Markerink and Spijkerman are clearly working to make the race harder; Markerink attacks and gets a few seconds lead, with Spijkerman sittong on the wheel of any chasers. Meanwhile the other two Dutch riders are sitting comfortably near the front of the bunch.

Markering is caught after a few kilometres on her own.

10:26 CEST    37 km/39 km to go
Ukrain's Nina Ovcharenko clps a crash barrier and hits the ground, but is back up once she has untangled her bike. Earlier crash victim Fusar Poli has retired; she should have been working for the Italian team who are focusing on the chances of their sprinter.

On the loop south of the old GP circuit there is another flurry of attacks, with the French in action this time, but they are all back together again for the third time up the little Sterrewacht climb.

10:34 CEST    40 km/36 km to go
The average speed after three laps is up to 38.8 kph, and the size of the bunch is somewhat diminished as the Spanish take up the pace on the wide sweeping curve by the Albert Canal. On the climb up to the Villeneuve chicane Elisabeth Brandau (Germany) has a go off the front, but not for long.

One of the Belarus riders has also been continuously present at the front, particularly on the little climbs.

10:42 CEST    45 km/31 km to go
More attacks come from every side, but more with the effect of lining the bunch out rather than getting a proper break going. The Ukrainian, Italian, French and Australian teams are all trying to impose a rhythm on the race now.

10:46 CEST    49 km/27 km to go
The tireless Markerink and Sharakova of Belarus get clear on the tailwind run up to the Sterrewacht, but the Italians bring them back; Spijkermans (again ...) counterattacks. The bunch is lined out chasing, and catches her up the climb, but there is a split about 15 riders back.

All back together on the descent, though.

10:50 CEST    52 km/24 km to go
Sharakova gets away alone at the entrance to the motor circuit and is 5 seconds clear as they cross the line for the fourth time; the pace behind eases up briefly but then the Ukraine team take up the chase.

10:55 CEST    55 km/21 km to go
The diminutive Sharakova - who looks strong but remarkably bad at finding sheltered positions in the bunch - is caught as the race comes through the pit area (no team cars today, neutral service only) and the speed drops again.

The pace is fairly steady for several kilometres; the whole bunch now happy to sit on Sharakova's wheel into the wind, such as it is (about 12 kph from the east).

11:03 CEST    
As the pace eases off and attention goes with it, half a dozen riders at the back of the bunch come down on a corner after a touch of wheels between a South African and a Belgian. Marjon Spijkermans attacks and gets a few metres lead briefly before Belgium's Peeters and Australias Rhodes bring her back.

11:09 CEST    64 km/12 km to go
The Netherlands Miranda Vierling leads over the Sterrewacht for the penultimate time with a Czech on her wheel and a small gap; they are caught but the lined out bunch behind them split briefly.

The pace eases up as they come up to the line to take the bell.

11:11 CEST    66 km/10 km to go
First attack on the last lap comes from Belgium's strongest rider, Ludivine Henrion; Sharakova goes with her but they don't get anything together and the bunch comes back together as they come through the pits on the back straight.

11:17 CEST    68 km/8 km to go
Sharakova attacks again as the race moves out onto the roads; shen obviously doesn't fancy a bunch gallop, but some of the other teams do, with Suzanne De Goede for the Netherlands and Monia Baccialle for Italy being tipped as among the best sprinters.

Sharakova is caught again and the speed falls back to a brisk clubrun pace as everybody waits for somebody else to attack.

11:24 CEST    71 km/5 km to go
Several teams - the Dutch, the Italians and the Australians among them - are trying to get something of a sprinter's train together, but the pace is still modest.

11:27 CEST    74 km/2 km to go
A Czech attacks on the last climb of the race, but she has Markerink on her wheel; the Dutch girl comes through and they ride ahead on the descent as the pace picks up.

An Australian brings them back.

11:28 CEST    75 km/1 km to go
A bit of a pause and there are about 25 riders coming on to the track together, with three Dutch vests in the first four with an Australian.

11:30 CEST    finish
As the sprint winds up for a moment the Dutch train seems to be swallowed up, but this is a finish where it is easy to go too early, and regular as clockwork, Suzanne de Goede comes through the throng to take the sprint.

Germany's Claudia Stumpf takes the silver, with Sweden's Monica Holler, who went too early, hanging on for the bronze. The Dutch team, managed by Monique Knol, did what they came here to do; probably the best organised team in the event.

Provisional result

1. Suzanne de Goede (Ned)
2. Claudia Stumpf (Ger)
3. Monica Holler (Swe)
4. Nathalie Tirard (Fra)
5. Magen Long (USA)
6. Belinda Goss (Aus)
7. Audrey Lemieux (Can)
8. Alexis Rhodes (Aus)

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