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World championships - CM

Madrid, Spain, September 21-25, 2005

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Race 4 - September 24: Women's road race, 126km

Commentary by Hedwig Kröner, with additional reporting from Hernan Alvarez and Shane Stokes

Live report

Live coverage starts: 9:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 12:30 CEST

09:02 CEST   
Welcome back to Cyclingnews' Live coverage of the wonderful World's in sunny Madrid, where the European summer still won't turn into fall. For today's events - the Women's and U23 road races - the weather is the Spanish capital is as beautiful as ever, with around 20° celsius at the start of the girls' race. Just a couple of clouds hang in the sky, and the sun will surely heat up the tarmac for this afternoon.

09:16 CEST   
There are some small crowds at start, and at the key moments of the 21-kilometres long circuit, which will be raced six times. And the Women's World Championship has started! The 131 very best women on the road bike are on their way.

09:21 CEST   
The German 7-heads team got into the competition heading the peloton, as many expect these women to dominate the race even though defending champion Judith Arndt is not feeling at their best.

The peloton is still rolling along groupé, but the pace is suited for the importance of this event so a couple of riders have trouble hanging on at the back. It's stringing out now as the riders are on a long boulevard-like stretch.

09:25 CEST   
Yulia Razenkova (Russian Federation) is one of the riders getting dropped now.

09:31 CEST    21km/105km to go
The sun is not completely out yet, as the morning is still a little hazy. There's no wind at all.

The bunch is on an even larger boulevard now featuring four lanes in Madrid's city centre. The roads are dead straight at the moment, with a lot of skyscrapers at either side. After 32 minutes and 23 seconds, the first lap has just been completed.

09:39 CEST   
Judith Arndt is now at the tail of the bunch, which has picked up a tempo. She's not looking very good as it is early in the race to be tired...

09:43 CEST   
Regina Schleicher (Germany), the team's sprinter, is now with her but the peloton is still in one bit - the women in front are neutralizing each other.

09:47 CEST   
The riders are now on the second climb of the course, where there are a lot of names and countries' names painted on the road. Some flags are being waved, as a French rider is currently leading the bunch.

09:52 CEST   
Johanna Buick (New Zealand) is also at the back, while Siobhan Dervan (Ireland) is really struggling.

As Australia's Oenone Wood is winning this year's World Cup, the Aussie team will be working for her if its comes to a sprint but its likely they will throw Olivia Gollan and Sara Carrigan into breaks if they can.

09:56 CEST   
Annette Beutler (Switzerland) is now at the front, with Katleen Vermeiren (Belgium) on her wheel. The speed is still high and the bunch is stretching out.

And we have the first attack in this race: it's Elodie Touffet (France), who jumped away when riding out of a right hand corner.

09:58 CEST   
Touffet's got a small gap there, as the road is slightly uphill. The bunch is getting organised for the chase.

10:00 CEST   
They've got her back. Nina Ovcharenco (Ukraine) and Katheryn Curi (United States Of America) are now sitting in front.

10:02 CEST   
Bettina Kuhn (Switzerland) is now trying to get away, but the girls are taking care of her too.

10:06 CEST    42km/84km to go
The pack is now crossing the finish line after the second lap. Four laps to go after 1.04.48.

Swedish Ljungskog is very determined to have a good race. She's just coming out of the overall win in Toscana - she has good form and will be wanting to go in a break away.

10:10 CEST   
After the feed zone, where some of the women have taken a little extra energy from their team assistants, the situation is still the same: peloton groupé. The average speed is 38.88 km/h until now.

Miriam Melchers-Van Poppel has been riding consistently as usual this year and could also be good in a break. She has a good sprint, especially out of a small group.

10:15 CEST   
And another French attack is on - the French might want to prove themselves with Longo not present for the first time since 26 years (!). But this break attempt has also failed.

Next up is Olivia Gollan (Australia). She's got a gap.

10:20 CEST   
A German rider is leading the chase. She's not far off and didn't look like she had the strength to make a difference. There she goes... being swallowed again.

The riders have to make quite some efforts now to hold on to the front. Looks like it's a crucial time where one could easily get dropped - but the main bunch is still together.

10:27 CEST   
The sun is out now, as the next attack goes: Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Lithuania) tries on a false flat drag but gets Luise Keller (Germany) clinging on her wheel.

The Polikeviciute twins haven't been seen much this year and while it was thought that they were retiring... but both are excellent teammates for Lithuania.

10:31 CEST   
Annette Beutler (Switzerland) is now leading the bunch again, with Keller watching her.

The peloton is split at times, as some of the women have trouble holding on on the uphill parts. It all comes back together again once the terrain is flat or downhill, but one can sense that it might only a matter of time until the race falls apart.

10:34 CEST   
The race comes down the Plaza de Castilla - and now the pack is really strung out...

10:38 CEST    63km/63km to go
The riders have now crossed the line in front of the Bernabeu stadium one more time after 1.36.21. More and more spectators gather at the course.

10:45 CEST   
The Australian team is surely riding this race remembering their deceased teammate Amy Gillett. Oenone Wood told reporters at the start, "I don't think any of us have had an ideal year this year. It is a very tough thing and that is something that will be with us always. But I think we are all going to ride strong for Amy." Wood is the World Cup champion for the second successive year and holds high hopes for a podium finish today.

Monica Holler (Sweden) and Yulia Razenkova (Russian Federation) are two of several abandons until now.

10:48 CEST    70km/56km to go
Emma Pooley (Great Britain) has crashed as things are really getting underway in front. She's still laying on the ground, talking to the race officials but not daring to move.

10:50 CEST   
Pooley is being taken away in an ambulance. It looked bad but the fact that she's conscious is a good sign.

Marina Jaunatre (France) is breaking away now with the bunch split into several groups.

10:51 CEST   
She's getting company by Alessandra D'Ettorre (Italy) and Adrie Visser (Netherlands) - but the Italian doesn't want to work.

They're caught again.

10:55 CEST   
Nicole Brändli (Switzerland) is trying next, with German Keller on her wheel - she's still doing an excellent job watching the break attempts.

Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spain) has some to the front too, and the other favourites are watching out...

10:58 CEST   
Karin Thürig (Switzerland), the TT champion, is now trying a big gear in front - some riders are following her closely but she's pulling a gap here.

11:01 CEST   
But the bunch is able to bridge back to the leaders and all is together again - this must hurt as so many riders are testing their rivals to wear them down eventually... Thürig is still on the front though, dragging the pack along the boulevards.

11:09 CEST    84km/42km to go
Judith Arndt (Germany) is on Thürig's wheel, as well as the rest of the bunch. They're getting to the line again: 2.07.33. Two laps to go. Average speed: 40.35 km/h - the pace has picked up since the race start.

There's a group of about 25 riders who's been dropped and is more than one minute behind the main bunch.

11:11 CEST   
Eneritz Iturriaga Echevarria Mazag (Spain) has attacked in the feed zone...

11:14 CEST   
Iturriaga Echevarria is giving it all here, getting a gap of already 20 seconds. It would be surprising if she'd make it - but who will make the sacrifice of chasing her down?

11:19 CEST   
Iturriaga Echevarria Mazag looks good but the gap is getting smaller - 12 seconds now as the peloton moves up on her again.

Meanwhile, her teammate Maria Mercedes Cagigas Amedo has quit the race.

11:23 CEST   
There she goes... peloton together. There will surely be further attempts to break things up a bit, but until now all the favourites have been very consistent.

11:32 CEST   
Another uphill false flat sees Olivia Gollan (Australia) at the front again, digging deep. But the bunch is hanging on, strung out as it is but everybody's still there.

Next break attempt comes from Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands), but she's not getting a chance neither. The constant chasing must be wearing the riders down though - but the tempo isn't that high neither. An Aussie and a Canadian rider have pulled the bunch back onto Gunnewijk.

11:35 CEST   
Off the right hand side, Theresa Senff (Germany) is taking a Swiss rider with her on another attack. They're back in the bunch as Olivia Gollan countered, making Arndt react.

The peloton is still together - they're looking at each other. Priska Doppmann (Switzerland) is next to increase the pace.

11:37 CEST   
Svetlana Bubnenkova (Russian Federation) also tries as the riders approach the line for the final lap. It's very fast racing now.

11:41 CEST    105km/21km to go
The bunch crosses the start/finish line after 2.38.49 with Bubnenkova still a little off the front but the peloton is chasing her down. The Germans are still there to make a sprint happen but Arndt is in trouble at the back.

11:45 CEST   
Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands) attacks again, going hard. But the bunch is following her and it's all coming back together.

As soon as the pace drops a little, another attack goes with a French girl: Marina Jaunatre (France) again, with Noemi Cantele (Italy). They've got 150 metres.

11:47 CEST   
A Russian rider bridges up to them, it's Olga Slyusareva (Russian Federation). She's trying but the bunch is also following not far away.

11:49 CEST   
Spanish Somarriba drove the pace on that climb and led the bunch back on the two escapees.

11:50 CEST   
Somarriba is forcing the pace at the front, but those climbs are not steep enough to make a difference. They've come over it together now.

11:53 CEST   
The sprinters will be getting into position soon. The Germans are right there as they've controlled the race all along, as well as the Americans and the Dutch.

11:57 CEST   
And Christine Thorburn (United States Of America) is trying to get away! But there's no way, really... A good effort on that little uphill stretch and Somarriba and Ljungskog are there too.

11:58 CEST   
And the Americans are trying to destabilize the race at this point, with Amber Neben also giving it a go. In the bunch, the girls are looking at each other.

12:00 CEST   
A German rider is leading the chase - Neben has got five seconds but she's looking aver her shoulder.

12:02 CEST    120km/6km to go
Two Germans pulling the bunch now: Senff and Worrack. The French and Swiss on their wheels. Judith Arndt has moved up again too.

12:03 CEST   
The gap to Neben is decreasing - she's almost caught there, almost sitting up too.

12:05 CEST    122km/4km to go
Peloton together again, dragged by a French girl. Next attack by a Dutch girl: Suzanne De Goede. She's giving it all there but will surely be caught again.

The Germans have got her, too.

12:06 CEST   
Nicole Brändli (Switzerland) and Erinne Willock (Canada) are leading now... but they're caught too. The Germans really control this race.

12:07 CEST    125km/1km to go
Tempo is as high as it possibly could be for the final kilometre. Nicole Cooke is in fourth position as three Germans are in front.

12:10 CEST   
Arndt is leading, with all the sprint favourites there. And it's the victory for Germany!! And Cooke is second, and Australian girl third.

12:11 CEST   
And now we finally know who took the Gold medal: Regina Schleicher (Germany)! Wood is third, Rasmussen fourth.

12:24 CEST   
Well, that was a tight and exciting sprint finish this morning. In the brilliant sunshine, the medals are being awarded. Cooke looks disappointed, but she does smile as she gets the medal. Schleicher is very happy of course as she gets the jersey, waving to the crowd and laughing. That was a perfect race by the German team.

Join us again in about one hour for the Men's U23 race which will surely be interesting after what we've been watching so far!


1 Regina Schleicher (Germany)
2 Nicole Cooke (Great Britain)
3 Oenone Wood (Australia)
4 Dorte Lohse Rasmussen (Denmark)
5 Chantal Beltman (Netherlands)
6 Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
7 Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden)
8 Anita Valen (Norway)
9 Jolanta Polikeviciute (Lithuania)
10 Trixi Worrack (Germany)
11 Diana Ziliute (Lithuania)
12 Priska Doppmann (Switzerland)
13 Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (Netherlands)
14 Susan Palmer-Komar (Canada)
15 Mette Fischer Andreasen (Denmark)
16 Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania)
17 Kristin Armstrong (United States Of America)
18 Christine Thorburn (United States Of America)
19 Nicole Brändli (Switzerland)
20 Maria Teodora Ruano Sanchon (Spain)

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