Tough parcours makes for big showdown
By Shane Stokes in Stuttgart
As is habitually the case, the road world championships got underway with the time trial events coming first in the schedule. Since the junior races were moved from the main programme after 2004, the number of such races has dropped to three. The under 23 and elite women’s TTs were held on Wednesday, covering 38.1 and 25.1 kilometres respectively, and the 44.9 kilometre elite men’s test follows one day later.
All three are held on variations of the same course and just shy of two complete laps. The start will take place approximately 500 metres past the finish line, meaning that the second lap is fractionally shorter in each case
The women’s race was held on a loop of 12.8 kilometres and went to triple world cyclo-cross champion Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany. She beat defending champion Kristin Armstrong (USA) and the Austrian Christiane Soeder by 23.47 and 41.53 seconds respectively, a performance which she attributed in part to her racing background and the nature of the parcours.
“Cyclo-cross has been very good preparation for this time trial, because the course was very good for me,” she stated. “There were downhills with a lot of bends, and also climbing, so it was something like a cyclo-cross circuit.”
The under 23 riders used the same course but also had to do an out and back stretch of 6.5 kilometres each time, bringing their lap up to 19.3 clicks. Lars Boom (Netherlands) was quickest, taking the first gold medal of the championship ahead of Russian rider Mikhail Ignatiev and Jerome Coppel (France). They were 9.06 and 45.59 seconds back respectively.
Thursday’s Elite men TT will head even further along the Wildpark Strasse dual carriageway, adding on an additional 3.4 kilometres and thus covering 22.7 each time. Last year’s winner Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) is the clear favourite, while Dave Zabriskie (USA), David Millar, Bradley Wiggins (both Great Britain), Vladimir Karpets (Russia), José Ivan Gutierrez (Spain) and Marco Pinotti (Italy) are amongst those looking to go quicker and take gold.