Guderzo tastes the rainbow in Italian masterclass
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Guderzo tastes the rainbow in Italian masterclass

by Ben Atkins at 9:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: World Championships
 

Tatiana Guderzo of Italy won the World Championships road race after a solo attack in the 124.2km race in Mendrisio, Switzerland. The 25-year-old from Marostica in the province of Vicenza, who won the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, escaped after some smart teamwork with compatriot Noemi Cantele and managed to hold off a chase from pre-race favourite Marianne Vos of the Netherlands and Kristin Armstrong of the United States.

Vos managed to take the sprint for her third successive silver, despite doing the lion’s share of the chasing, with Cantele – who’d enjoyed an armchair ride to the finish in defence of Guderzo’s lead – taking bronze. Armstrong, who had looked visibly tired in the closing stages had no answer to the others and brought the curtain down on her distinguished career with a creditable fourth place, agonisingly just out of the medals.

"After the Olympic bronze medal, this was my big dream,” said Guderzo after the finish. “Today I won through the work of the whole team, we have shown to be the strongest. Me and Noemi, we gave the dream to Italy.

“We agreed that last lap to try to reduce the group on the first climb, we did, we were down to four. Then we tried on the downhill me first and then her, then me again and it was good for me. The course was very hard, water and wet conditions made the race even more difficult, but we have shown that by racing together you can do great things and that eventually the teamwork pays off.”

For eight of the nine laps the race was very much one of attrition where work on the front by the strong teams from the United States, Germany, Italy and Great Britain all took turns to force the pace. The persistent accelerations failed to create any meaningful escape groups but had the effect thinning the peloton from the rear.

Overnight rain made the roads glacial in the early stages and a crash brought down Great Britain’s Nicole Cooke at the mid point of lap 1. The defending champion managed to rejoin the peloton but never looked happy; sitting close to the rear of the field, Cooke was repeatedly gapped on the climbs until she eventually capitulated and abandoned the race at the end of lap 5.

In the mid section of lap 7 Guderzo and Cantele took turns to attack and the silver medallist from Wednesday’s time trial opened a significant gap on the rest of the field. With teammate Guderzo marking the chase form behind, Cantele was 22 seconds clear as she crossed the line with 2 laps to go.

Evelyn Stevens of the USA managed to keep the gap to Cantele (who hails from Varese, venue of last year’s World Championships and just 20km over the nearby Italian border) respectable, but an attack on the first of the lap’s two climbs – the Aqua Fresca – from Germany’s Judith Arndt pulled the majority of the favourites up to her. An attack from Linda Villumsen of Denmark (third in Wednesday’s time trial), just before the bell for the final lap, was ultimately unsuccessful but forced the final selection as the lead group attacked the Aqua Fresca for the last time.

Strong moves from Armstrong, supported by teammate Mara Abbott, and Great Britain’s Emma Pooley caused further casualties at the rear of the group, but it was another one-two from Italians Cantele and Guderzo that saw the latter escape just before the top. Vos quickly followed with Armstrong and Cantele on her wheel and the Dutch and American women looked to be closing the Italian down with Cantele sitting pretty behind them.

On the final climb – the top of which was just 2.6km from the finish – Armstrong appeared to have nothing left and it was down to Vos to chase on her own. With Cantele disrupting the Dutchwoman’s rhythm, Guderzo’s advantage grew further to an almost insurmountable 16 seconds by the top.

With no more climbs remaining Guderzo was all but assured of victory and finished 19 seconds ahead of Vos, Cantele and Armstrong. Diana Ziliute of Lithuania led the remains of the chasers home more than a minute behind the winner.

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UCI Road World Championships, Mendrisio, Switzerland, September 23-27:

Women's Elite Road Race:

1 Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) 124.2 kilometres in 3 hours 33 mins 25 secs
2, Marianne Vos (Netherlands) at 19 secs
3, Noemi Cantele (Italy)
4, Kristin Armstrong (United States Of America)
5, Diana Ziliute (Lithuania) at 1 min 7 secs
6, Judith Arndt (Germany)
7, Erinne Willock (Canada)
8, Nicole Brändli (Switzerland)
9, Grace Verbeke (Belgium)
10, Catherine Cheatley (New Zealand)
11, Emma Johansson (Sweden)
12, Ruth Corset (Australia)
13, Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania)
14, Emma Pooley (Great Britain)
15, Evelyn Stevens (United States Of America) all same time
16, Linda Melanie Villumsen (Denmark) at 3 mins 2 secs
17, Paulina Brzezna (Poland) at 3 mins 41 secs
18, Mara Abbott (United States Of America) at 4 mins 51 secs
19, Claudia Häusler (Germany) at 5 mins 51 secs
20, Ana Garcia Antequera (Spain) at 5 mins 54 secs
21, Andrea Bosman (Netherlands) at 6 mins 54 secs
22, Ludivine Henrion (Belgium)
23, Chantal Blaak (Netherlands)
24, Julia Martisova (Russian Federation)
25, Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (France)
26, Edwige Pitel (France)
27, Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain)
28, Sharon Laws (Great Britain)
29, Trixi Worrack (Germany)
30, Fabiana Luperini (Italy) all same time

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