Specialized-lululemon wins third consecutive Vårgårda team time trial World Cup
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Friday, August 16, 2013

Specialized-lululemon wins third consecutive Vårgårda team time trial World Cup

by Ben Atkins at 6:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Rabobank-Liv/Giant takes second to strengthen Marianne Vos’ overall lead

specialized-lululemonSpecialized-lululemon took victory in the World Cup team time trial race, in Vårgårda, Sweden for the third straight year. The World champion team of Ellen van Dijk, Evie Stevens, Lisa Brennauer, Trixi Worrack, Carmen Small and Loren Rowney completed the rolling 43km course in a time of 53 minutes, 59.4 seconds, which was around a minute slower than the time posted the previous year in far better conditions.

The Rabobank-Liv/Giant team of World Cup leader Marianne Vos, Annemiek van Vleuten, Thalita de Jong, Lucinda Brand, Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Roxane Knetemann improved on its third place of 2012 to finish in second, just 38 seconds behind the American team. Australian team Orica-AIS, with local heroine Emma Johansson, Amanda Spratt, Melissa Hoskins, Shara Gillow, Loes Gunnewijk and Jessie MacLean slipped a place on its 2012 finish to complete the podium in third.

"We've been working hard on this for the last week," said Team Sport Director Ronny Lauke. "With the world championships only a month away, we really wanted to get back into team time trial mode.  We've had some bad weather and epic training days but it came together and we made some good progress.
"Today was a little sketchy at the start. We had a little issue with some traffic obstacles but we got reorganized and the rest of the ride with very smooth. Our plan was to go fast from the start but also to stay concentrated on our technique. They looked great out there and rode a very consistent time trial.  
"We have some more work to do before Worlds but we're looking forward to that challenge again."

The new International Cycling Union (UCI) regulation forbidding individual time trial national champions from wearing their championship skinsuits in a team time trial was enforced. This meant that van Dijk, Brennauer, Small, Ferrand Prevot, Johansson and Gillow, as well as Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda), Patricia Schwager (Faren-Kuota) and Tina Andreasson (Norway), were all forced to wear their standard team colours. Luxembourger Christine Majerus (Sengers Ladies) elected to wear her champion's skinsuit regardless.

The Australian national team was drawn as the first team to start and managed to post an impressive 56’56” for the others to aim at. This mark was to stay at the top for less time than expected, however, as RusVelo - who managed to catch the Norwegian and Servetto-Footon teams for three and six minutes respectively - went just under ten seconds quicker with 56’47”.

The Russian team’s time was to stand up to the challenge from Tibco-To The Top and Faren-Kuota, before British team Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling - reduced early on to just four riders - went just under three seconds faster and knocked it off the top. The black and orange team was only leading for a few minutes, however, as Sengers Ladies went quicker by a similarly slender seven second margin.

Sengers was blasted off the top of the standings very shortly, however, as Specialized-lululemon - having caught Boels-Dolmans for three minutes - set what was to be the unbeatable time of 53’59”, more than two and a half minutes quicker than the Dutch team had been.

Orica-AIS lost the services of Dutch powerhouse road captain Gunnewijk to a puncture in the final ten kilometres, but the Australian team still finished more than a minute clear of Sengers Ladies to go into provisional second place. Rabobank-Liv/Giant had been fastest team at the 16.4km checkpoint, however, and, despite not being able to match the pace of Specialized-lululemon in the remaining kilometres of the course, did enough to finish just 38 seconds behind the American team in second place.

With 35 points awarded to the riders of winning team, 30 for those in second place, and so on, van Dijk closed the gap between herself and Vos by five points with two races to go. The World champion extended her lead over all her other rivals, however, with the gap to second place Johansson up to 77 points.

1. Specialized-lululemon (USA), 43km in 53’59”
2. Rabobank-Liv/Giant (Ned) @ 38s
3. Orica-AIS (Aus) @ 1’26”
4. Sengers Ladies (Bel) @ 2’38”
5. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling (GBr) @ 2’45”
6. RusVelo (Rus) @ 2’47”
7. Australian National Team (Aus) @ 2’57”
8. Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam (Ned) @ 3’05”
9. Hitec Products (Nor) @ 3’26”
10. Team Tibco-To The Top (USA) @ 3’36”
11. Team Argos-Shimano (Ned) @ 4’22”
12. Faren-Kuota (Ita) @ 5’17”
13. Cramo Go:Green (Swe) @ 5’53”
14. Norwegian National Team (Nor) @ 7’07”
15. Servetto-Footon (Ita) @ 10’22”

World Cup standings after six rounds
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant 279pts
2. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS 202
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon 194
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products 156
5. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies 96
6. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant 86
7. Tetyana Riabchenko (Ukr) Chiro Forno d’Asolo 75
8. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling 58
9. Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 58
10. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS 55


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