Women’s Tour of New Zealand: Judith Arndt closes in on race lead with stage three victory
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Women’s Tour of New Zealand: Judith Arndt closes in on race lead with stage three victory

by Ben Atkins at 5:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
World time trial champion now just eleven seconds behind Kristin Armstrong

judith arndt

Judith Arndt (GreenEDGE-AIS) continued her outstanding start to the 2012 season with a sprint victory in the third stage of the Women’s Tour of New Zealand. The German World time trial champion took the bunch sprint at the end of the 121km Palmerston North circuit after her new Australian team went on the offensive. The GreenEDGE-AIS tactics succeeded in splitting the peloton, but were not able to drop race leader Kristin Armstrong (United States), who sprinted to second behind Arndt on the stage.

"We wanted to be a little more aggressive today," Arndt told RoadCycling.co.nz. "There were a few very good attacks, but in the end it was a sprint."

Stage two winner Loren Rowney (VIS Women) finished third, meaning that the same three riders occupied the podium on two days straight.

"We knew that we would need to reel back Armstrong's lead a little bit each day," explained GreenEDGE-AIS directeur sportif Rodney McGee. "It's that kind of course, and with only four riders, it's hard to do it any other way. We're taking the overall day-by-day and second-by-second. At this point, we've gotten a little bit back on both road stages. We'll hope to continue this over the next two days."

Arndt’s stage victory earned her ten bonus seconds - with Armstrong taking six for second - and so the German moves four seconds closer to the Olympic time trial champion’s lead; she now trails by just 11 seconds.

Once again the wind was a big factor in the race, but this did not stop the long solo attack from Jayco-AIS’ Grace Sulzberger; once she had been pulled back, a group of four riders, including Armstrong’s US teammate Evelyn Stevens and Arndt’s GreenEDGE-AIS teammate Shara Gillow. They too were pulled back before the finish however, but by that time the peloton had been reduced to just 24 riders.

"I attacked some and so did the other GreenEDGE-AIS girls," said Gillow.  "It ended up working out perfectly for us. Linda [Villumsen] led Judith out, and Judith won. Yesterday, she was second, and it was awesome to get the win today."

There are just two stages left until Armstrong can claim her second overall victory in the Women’s Tour of New Zealand, but she will be pressured all the way by Arndt’s GreenEDGE-AIS team; although the Americans’ numerical superiority could count in the bad weather conditions that have dominated the race so far.

"We have a few different plans that we can play with," said Gillow. "There are only four of us, but we are four very strong riders. There are several possibilities. I can see us going for time bonuses or getting some of us the road or both." 

Result stage 3
1. Judith Arndt (Ger) GreenEDGE-AIS
2. Kristin Armstrong (USA) United States National Team
3. Loren Rowney (Aus) VIS Women Team
4. Carla Ryan (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS
5. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Italian National Team
6. Kaytee Boyd (NZl) New Zealand National Team
7. Don Yang Huang (Chn) China Chongming Island Giant Pro Cycling
8. Jessica Allen (Aus) VIS Women Team
9. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (USA) United States National Team
10. Shara Gillow (Aus) GreenEDGE-AIS

Standings after stage 3
1. Kristin Armstrong (USA) United States National Team
2. Judith Arndt (Ger) Specialized-lululemon @ 11s
3. Linda Villumsen (NZl) GreenEDGE-AIS @ 33s
4. Evelyn Stevens (USA) United States National Team @ 38s
5. Shara Gillow (Aus) GreenEDGE-AIS @ 39s
6. Taryn Heather (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS @ 47s
7. Rachel Neylan (Aus) Armstrong Motor Group Team @ 48s
9. Carla Ryan (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS @ 55s
8. Joanne Hogan (Aus) VIS Women Team @ 56s
10. Grace Sulzberger (Aus) Team Jayco-AIS @ 58s

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