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75th World Championships - CM

Varese, Italy, September 23-28, 2008

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Race 5 - September 27: Women's road race - 8 laps, 138.80km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Ben Atkins

13:00 CEST   
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.

13:01 CEST   
and they're off! Rolling away from the Mapei Cycling Stadium with the US and Italian teams at the head.

13:03 CEST   
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.

13:05 CEST   
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.

13:06 CEST   
Switzerland's Patricia Schwager had to get a technical fault fixed afterwards and has to chase to rejoin.

13:09 CEST   
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...

13:10 CEST   
Great Britain's Lizzie Armitstead takes to the front to inject a bit of early pace.

13:12 CEST   
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.

13:14 CEST   
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.

13:16 CEST   
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.

13:19 CEST   
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.

13:22 CEST   
Armstrong tries to wave the others through, but no one wants to yet.

13:25 CEST   
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.

13:26 CEST   
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.

13:30 CEST   
Diana Ziliute of Lithuania leads the break up the Salita di Via Montello as Regina Bruins of the Netherlands leads the peloton.

13:30 CEST   
Ziliute is riding her last race today, as are a number of others.

13:32 CEST   
Sorry, our mistake, that's not Bronzini in the break it's Monia Baccaillle.

13:34 CEST   
Laura Lepasalu of Estonia has abandoned already. The early pace a seems to be a bit hot for some.

13:35 CEST   
More news on the breakaway's composition, there are three Germans in there. Charlotte Becker and Angela Brodtka are there as well as Keller.

13:36 CEST   
They have a 45 second lead over the peloton.

13:38 CEST   
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.

13:38 CEST   
The break goes out slightly to 49 seconds

13:40 CEST   
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.

13:42 CEST   
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!

13:43 CEST   
The break is down to 27 seconds as we approach the Salita dei Ronchi for the second time.

13:52 CEST   
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).

13:52 CEST   
Just as we say that though, Brodtka drops off so we now have 12 up front.

13:54 CEST   
The leaders are on to the finishing straight again. Armstrong and Baccaille lead them over the line.

13:55 CEST   
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.

14:02 CEST   
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.

14:03 CEST   
Judith Arndt of Germany is wearing unlucky 13 today incidentally, but she's still one of the favourites.

14:04 CEST   
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).

14:05 CEST   
Mind you, she was the Olympic silver medallist at the time, which this year is Emma Johansson of Sweden...

14:07 CEST   
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.

14:08 CEST   
The breakaway still rolls on , they all see, to be taking their turns well.

14:08 CEST   
The Dutch still lead the peloton with Regina Bruins and Irene Van den Broek.

14:09 CEST   
The peloton takes that tricky lefthander where Laws came down, but everybody gets around okay this time.

14:12 CEST   
Emma Rickards of Australia leads the bunch, not sure why as Egyed is up front.

14:13 CEST   
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.

14:14 CEST   
Armstrong continues to lead. She was pretty disappointed after finishing fifth in the time trial on Wednesday so she's up for it today.

14:16 CEST   
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.

14:18 CEST   
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.

14:19 CEST   
Jess Allen of Great Britain now leads the peloton. We're pretty sure that Armitstead is still up front though.

14:20 CEST   
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

14:23 CEST   
The Dutch are back at the front again, but the French are up there to spoil things for them.

14:24 CEST   
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...

14:24 CEST   
the gap is now up to 2 minutes

14:26 CEST   
Oenone Wood (Australia) now leads with team-mate Carla Ryan. Amber Neben is up there too on the climb of via Montello.

14:33 CEST   
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.

14:33 CEST   
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

14:35 CEST   
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.

14:36 CEST   
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!

14:38 CEST   
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.

14:39 CEST   
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..?

14:41 CEST   
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!

14:42 CEST   
The break passes a sign saying "Vola Bettini". That's tomorrow people, it's the women today!

14:44 CEST   
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...

14:45 CEST   
The break has come down slightly, but it's still at 2 minutes

14:47 CEST   
Ziliute is trying to get the others to come through, maybe there's a few passengers up there....

14:49 CEST   
Armstrong on the front again! Leading the break through the streets of Varese as they head towards the finish line once more.

14:51 CEST   

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

14:53 CEST   
Here comes the peloton though, led by Canada's Erinne Willock, just 1.11 behind them.

14:54 CEST   
Armstrong and Willock both grimace on the climb at the head of their respective groups.

14:54 CEST   
Here come the Swiss, sending Serena Trachsel and Andrea Thürig forward

14:55 CEST   
The pace at the front is hurting those at the back with a steady stream dropping backwards.

14:56 CEST   
Pooley and Hausler are back up the front, which should indicate that things are slowing again in the peloton.

14:57 CEST   
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.

14:59 CEST   
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.

15:00 CEST   
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.

15:02 CEST   
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.

15:04 CEST   
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.

15:05 CEST   
Cherise Taylor of South Africa climbs off at the finishing area. she looks pretty cheerful about the whole situation though.

15:06 CEST   
VDB still leads the chase on her own, she throws a bottle away as the gap is announced at 1:20 to the leaders

15:08 CEST   
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.

15:10 CEST   
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.

15:10 CEST   

15:12 CEST   
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.

15:12 CEST   
the course may be a bit flat for her, but don't rule her out...

15:14 CEST   
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...

15:16 CEST   
Let's hope we don't have to as we spelled it wrong! It's "Polikeviciute"

15:16 CEST   
If their team-mate Modesta Vzesniauskaite attacks we'll be in real trouble!

15:17 CEST   
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

15:20 CEST   
The peloton follows 1:15 behind them

15:21 CEST   
Make that 1:14, but it's still pretty static

15:22 CEST   
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.

15:23 CEST   
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.

15:24 CEST   
She has Trixi Worrack on her back wheel (and it really is her this time!)

15:25 CEST   
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!

15:26 CEST   
Great Britain team-mates Cooke and Pooley are having a chat, right on the front of the bunch...

15:27 CEST   
Looks like Eva Lechner is about to become the first Italian rider to drop out.

15:28 CEST   
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.

15:30 CEST   
They're followed by Emma Rickards of Australia...

15:33 CEST   
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.

15:34 CEST   
VDB back on the front of the peloton again, Regina Bruins is moving forward to help her out. the Dutch want this one!

15:35 CEST   
The leaders grab bottles as the pass through the feed zone. This always looks a bit dicey but there's no problems.

15:36 CEST   
Local girl Cantele shadows Arndt in the bunch. the Italian and German teams both fear the Dutch, specifically Vos.

15:37 CEST   
Back to those past winners: Marianne Vos is here of course, winner in 2006.

15:37 CEST   
and of course Arndt was 2004 champion - last time it was in Italy remember.

15:38 CEST   
Pooley goes again and gets a small gap, she's pursued by Susanne Ljungskog of Sweden.

15:39 CEST   
Worrack follows with Cooke on her wheel , but everyone else is with them so Pooley sits up.

15:40 CEST   
Neben is up there again, and Cantele shows herself for the first time.

15:41 CEST   
Ljungskog of course is a two-time champion, having won in Zolder Belgium in 2002 and Hamilton, Canada in 2003.

15:42 CEST   
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!

15:42 CEST   
She's back up the front, but how much did that effort cost her?

15:44 CEST   
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.

15:47 CEST   
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.

15:50 CEST   
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!

15:50 CEST   
The gap is now down to 49 seconds as the bunch crosses the finish line.

15:51 CEST   
the break is still all together, with Ziliute leading up the Via Ronchi climb.

15:52 CEST   
Pooley goes again, but the peloton goes with her.

15:53 CEST   
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.

15:54 CEST   
the gap is now down to 30 seconds after the pressure from Pooley.

15:56 CEST   
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!

15:56 CEST   
25 seconds as Charlotte Becker talks in her radio. What are the Germans planning?

15:57 CEST   
Jolanta P goes for it, followed by Keller, but everyone else goes too so we're back where we were.

15:58 CEST   
While Jolanta is on the front of the break, twin sister Rasa is on the front of the peloton.

15:58 CEST   
She goes again, but no dice.

16:01 CEST   
Jolanta really is trying to break this up now, but the others won't let her go.

16:01 CEST   
De Goede is back on the front for the Netherlands with Hausler on her wheel.

16:02 CEST   
Now it's Ziliute's turn on the front of the break can she get a second title ten years after the first?

16:03 CEST   
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!

16:04 CEST   
The leaders pass through the feed zone once again, but most of them ignore the bidons waved at them by their soigneurs.

16:07 CEST   
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!

16:08 CEST   
Maybe Keller is waiting for her team leaders who are now about a minute behind...

16:09 CEST   
Claudia Hausler now attacks the peloton, Pooley gives chase with Cantele on her wheel.

16:09 CEST   
The Italian captain will know every inch of this tarmac, is she picking her moment to go?

16:10 CEST   
Egyed attacks the break and gets away!

16:11 CEST   
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

16:12 CEST   
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.

16:13 CEST   
She's made it though, but Egyed is still away.

16:14 CEST   
Now she attacks! What's on that new bike an engine?

16:15 CEST   
Natalian Boyarskaya of Russia jumps away from the peloton taking a few with her. Remember her from the Beijing road race?

16:15 CEST   
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!

16:17 CEST   
The break follows 18 seconds behind her. Go Nikki!

16:18 CEST   
Here comes the peloton 1:26 behind the lone Aussie

16:18 CEST   
It's Trixi Worrack again, with Cantele right behind her

16:18 CEST   

16:19 CEST   
Suddenly it's all come together and Vos flies past Egyed

16:20 CEST   
Ljungskog is after her tough with Worrack, Arndt and Cooke.

16:20 CEST   
That looks like Johansson too

16:21 CEST   
Trixi really goes for it and we now have a group of six up front!

16:23 CEST   
Cantele is chasing the leaders alone

16:23 CEST   
Ljungskog punctures, this is taking ages to change!

16:23 CEST   
Cantele can see the leaders now as they lap some back markers

16:24 CEST   
We have Vos, Arndt, Johansson, Cooke, Worrack with Cantele chasing and we've momentarily lost Ljungskog after her puncture

16:25 CEST   
Neben now leads the peloton with most of the Lithuanian team. the race has turned on it's head!

16:26 CEST   
Worrack goes again but takes Vos with her

16:27 CEST   
Johansson is chasing with Cooke and Arndt behind her

16:27 CEST   
Now Cooke goes, the front two are in sight

16:28 CEST   
The five are almost back together...

16:28 CEST   
Vos and Worrack slow and the other three get on

16:29 CEST   
No sign of Cantele or Ljungskog behind

16:29 CEST   
there's Cantele, looks like she's trying to get on but the front five are motoring now

16:30 CEST   
the rest of the peloton is pretty small now, no time gaps but they are gone now we think.

16:30 CEST   
the front five slow, will this give Cantele and Ljungskog their chance?

16:31 CEST   
On to the Ronchi climb again for the last time and it's Worrack who goes again but the others stay with her.

16:31 CEST   
Now Arndt goes!

16:32 CEST   
the German has a gap but then Vos goes over the top!

16:32 CEST   
Vos is now solo!

16:32 CEST   
She's gone!

16:33 CEST   
she had a really disappointing Olympic road race, but can she get the rainbow jersey back?

16:34 CEST   
Worrack leads the chase but they're making no impression

16:34 CEST   
Vos tops the climb with 10 seconds over the others and 27 over Cantele

16:35 CEST   
Hang on! They've got her back, Arndt leads the chase and they're five at the front again!

16:36 CEST   
Was that Vos' chance?

16:36 CEST   
Worrack leads again, don't forget there's two Germans here!

16:36 CEST   
they look at one another and slow a bit

16:37 CEST   
Cantele is still chasing, she's not giving up her home worlds

16:37 CEST   
Off goes Worrack again!

16:37 CEST   
the Germans are working the others over

16:37 CEST   
They'll be fearing the sprints of Vos and Cooke.

16:38 CEST   
and Johansson is no slouch either

16:38 CEST   
Worrack has a gap and Vos leads the chase

16:39 CEST   
through the streets of Varese they go as Vos reels her back inch by inch

16:39 CEST   
Arndt is sitting pretty at the back

16:39 CEST   
Now Cooke goes!

16:39 CEST   
followed by Arndt

16:40 CEST   
Worrack is spent now and is dropped

16:40 CEST   
now Johansson!

16:40 CEST   
can the Olympic silver medallist do it as Arndt did in 2004?

16:41 CEST   
Worrack is back and chasing under the final kilometre

16:41 CEST   
Johansson still has it but here comes Arndt!

16:42 CEST   
the Swede has gone

16:42 CEST   
Vos Sprints

16:42 CEST   
but Cooke takes it!!!!!

16:42 CEST   
the Olympic champion is now the World champion!

16:43 CEST   
Vos went first with Cooke in her wheel and the Welshwoman came around her in the final metres.

16:44 CEST   
here comes the peloton and Ziliute breaks off to win the sprint for the also rans

16:45 CEST   
Cooke is waving the Welsh flag, she can't believe it!

16:45 CEST   
Looks like Vos was second and Arndt third

16:46 CEST   
with Johansson 4th and then Worrack

16:46 CEST   
the peloton caught Cantele in the closing stages

16:48 CEST   
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.

Ciao ciao

Provisional results

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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