Longo Borghini, Johansson, Cordon, Sanchis score national time trial titles for Wiggle High5
Italy's Elisa Longo Borghini, Sweden's Emma Johansson, France's Audrey Cordon and Spain's Anna Sanchis scored three time trial titles at their respective national championships this week, showing Wiggle High5's international class.
Longo Borghini took her second title, having won the event in 2014, in Romanengo. This year, instead of racing in her Wiggle High5 kit, she decided to wear her police academy skinsuit for the national championships. She is a recent graduate Fiamme Oro, the sports organisation of the Italian Police.
"I finally have it back! I'm really happy," Longo Borghini said. "It's been hard to take it, to be honest, because I only got to ride my bike after the Aviva Women's Tour, so I haven't been able to train on it, or to try to have a good performance. But I just went, and I won the TT. Pretty good, yeah!"
She finished the 20k course in 27:19, beating Tatiana Guderzo (Hitec Products) by just 34 hundredths of a second, while Silvia Valsecchi (BePink) took the bronze medal, 23 seconds back.
"It was very close, but of course I won!" Longo Borghini said. "It was more a victory from the shape I have than proper TT preparation, which is pretty good because it shows that I have good form and I can perform well in the next days."
In Vasteras, Sweden, Johansson took her eighth time trial title (fifth consecutive). She covered the 25.5km course in 34:24 seconds to beat Emilia Fahlin (Alé-Cipollini) by four seconds, while Åsa Lundström (Sportson CK) took third place, almost a minute behind.
"I knew it was going to be tough with Emilia," Johansson said. "The course was just dead-flat, more or less, and very windy conditions. You only had to get out to the saddle maybe three times, in the start. We had one corner, then the turnaround point, then the same corner on the way back, so it was very straightforward.
"It got really close in the end. I was in the seeded group, and Sara Mustonen was supposed to start in front of me, but she didn't, which meant that the rider in front of me was four minutes ahead, so she was nowhere to be seen. I think it would have been nice to see somebody!
"It was almost a straight headwind to the turnaround point, and then really fast coming back. I heard that we were the same time at the turnaround point, and that is normally my strongest point. The tailwind is normally something she does well, but somehow I managed to be faster on the way back!
"I'm really pleased with that, and I'm happy that I could put everything out there."
In Alicante, Spain, Sanchis won her second time trial title, covering the 20km course in 27: 59, enough to beat Gloria Rodriguez (Lointek) by 37 seconds and Margarita Victoria Garcia (Bizkaia – Durango) by 44 second.
"I’m so happy,” Sanchis said. “It was near to my home so all of my people came to support me, and I really wanted to win for them, for me, for everything. Especially because now I’m out of the Olympics, this is my last motivation, so I’m very happy."
In Vesoul, France, Audrey Cordon successfully defended her national time trial title, covering the 20.7km course in 31:08. She beat Edwige Pitel (S.C. Michela Fanini) and Elise Delzenne (Lotto Soudal Ladies).
“I thought in my head ‘play your own game.’” Cordon said. “I knew I was in shape, but I still suffered. Wearing the blue-white-red jersey is a real pride for me. I love my country, my region and I am proud when I can wear these colours. I'm the only one of the team to be French, and I'll wear this jersey twice shortly on the roads of the Giro d’Italia.”
Simmonds defends women's British time trial title
Hayley Simmonds defended her time trial title at the British championships on Thursday. She smashed the 34.8km course in 47:33, beating Claire Rose (Podium Ambition Pro Cycling p/b Club La Santa), Sarah Storey in third, and Olympic hopeful Emma Pooley (Lotto Soudal Ladies) in fourth.
“It’s more special second time around," Simmonds said to event organizers after the race. "This year Emma was coming back and Claire was riding full time this year. Claire is always a big threat, I’ve known that since we used to ride against each other at university championships.
"Claire was always the one to beat. So I knew it was going to be hard. And Sarah has been one of the best riders for years now and she’s not getting any slower. I keep hoping she will but she keeps pushing us all hard. So it’s more special this year because of the level of competition.
“I had a few time checks but it was hard to hear what was going on. Someone I know was on the middle roundabout of the three as I was coming back towards town and I heard him yell ‘you’re up!’ but I wasn’t sure if he meant I was up against Emma or up against Claire, I didn’t know what was going on!
“I’ve got a few more time trials coming up – I like being back in the UK and riding my time trial bike. I’ve hopefully got a couple of guest rides and some UCI races which I’m really looking forward to and then hopefully worlds again at the end of this year.”
Van Vleuten smashes Dutch time trial championships
If there was ever any doubt as to who is the top time triallist in the Netherlands, Annemeik Van Vleuten (Orica-AIS) laid them to rest by smashing the Dutch championship event by nearly two minutes ahead of her nearest competitor Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans).
In Middelharnis, Van Vleuten covered the 30.7km course in 38:17. She beat Blaak by 1:41 and Roxane Knetemann (Rabo Liv) by 2:23.
It was Van Vleuten second national time trial title, having won it in 2014. She is one of four women to represent the Netherlands at the Olympic Games this August, and was pleased with her winning performance.
"I'm really, really happy with my ride,"she said. "I had really awesome legs and a lot of power and I was able to hold a high speed.
"At the halfway point I heard that I was one minute ahead of Chantal Blaak. She's had a very good spring season, so at that point I knew it was going really well.
"I felt super good and I could see that it was going very well with the power and speed that I was holding. I was able to average 48.2kilometres per hour, so it was by far my best time trial."
Van Leuten will next compete in the Dutch road race championship, a title she won in 2012 and is looking to secure again.
"This is the second time now that I have won the this title," continued Van Vleuten. "It's always a very special race to win."
"First I will enjoy my victory this evening and then tomorrow I will re-focus again for the road race.
"It was really great to have support from ORICA-AIS, having a mechanic here and also my coach in the car behind. They really helped me and I could not do this alone, so I was well prepared yesterday and very focussed for today."
Lepisto wins third consecutive time trial title in Finland
Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo Bigla) secured her third consecutive time trial title in Finland. She won her event ahead of Sari Saarelainen (S.C. Michela Fanini Rox) and Antonia Grondahl.
Coming off two hard stage races, Lepisto said in a team press release that she was nervous before the start and felt tired but once she started the 30.3km course and heard she was in the lead, it motivated her.
"It was hard. There were two laps with 400 metres elevation. I wasn't feeling very good at the start," she said. "I have felt very tired in my recovery. The team decided that I should just start and see how I feel and after 5 kilometres I heard that I was already 20 seconds in front. So I just thought I would keep going and I won by almost two minutes. My average was 43.4km/h and I was surprised."
With Lepisto having held the road race and time trial titles for numerous years, she was asked if she ever gets used to it. "This is the third title now but I am always proud to wear the jersey. If I lost it I would feel very bad. I wear it with pride while racing in Europe."
Lepisto will remain in Finland where she will look to defend the road race title on 2 July.
Yuraitis victorious, Astana Women sweep podium in Kazakhstan
Astana Women's Team swept the podium at the Kazakh time trial championships with Yekaterina Yuraitis taking her second consecutive victory.
She covered the 20km route in Almaty in 29:58, beating her teammates Natalya Saifutdinova by three seconds and Makhabbat Umutzhanova by 32 seconds.
Later in the week Astana Women's Team will be looking for other national titles between France, Kazakhstan, Italy, Mexico and Russia.
Small in the stars-and-stripes jersey
In May, former world championship bronze medallist Carmen Small (Cervelo-Bigla) established herself as a prime contender for Olympic selection by winning the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championship title.
Small, who was third in Florence in 2013, topped former time trial world champion Amber Neben (BePink) by 23 seconds over the 33km course in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Defending Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong (Twenty 16-RideBiker) was a distant third, 1:08 behind Small. , while Evelyn Stevens (Boels-Dolmans) finished in sixth, two minutes back.
USA Cycling recently announced the Olympic team for the women's road events and Small was not chosen. Instead the selection when to Armstrong, Stevens, and Megan Guarnier had an automatic spot.
National champions round-up across Europe
In Belgium, Ann-Sofie Duyck (Topsport Vlaanderen – Etixx) won the national title, securing the victory ahead of Lotto Soudal Ladies duo Lotte Kopecky and Isabelle Beckers
In Switzerland, Doris Schweizer (Cylance Pro Cycling) secured the national time trial title ahead of Nicole Hanselmann (Cervelo Bigla) and Jutta Stiennen.
In Norway, Hitec Products swept the podium with Vita Heine taking the title ahead of teammates Cecilie Johnsen and Mirian Bjornsrud.
In Denmark, Cecilie Ludwig (BMS Birn) won the time trial title ahead of Trine Schmidt and Kamilla Sofie Valin.
In Czech Republic, Martina Sablikova won the title ahead of Jarmila Machocova and Anezka Drahotova.
In Slovakia, Lucia Valachova (Vitalogic) won the women's title ahead of Janka Stevkova and Tatiana Jasekova.
In Belarus, Tatsiana Sharakova stole the title ahead of Canyon-SRAM's time trial specialist Alena Amialiusik, while Vohla Antonova was third.
In Poland, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo Liv) won her first elite national title in the time trial. She beat Boels-Dolmans' Katarzyna Pawlowska and Ale Cipollini's Malgorzata Jasinska.
In Latvia, Lija Laisane (Servetto Footon) secured the title ahead of Endija Rutule.
In Ukraine, Yevgenia Vysotska (Hagens Berman-Supermint) won the title, while Hanna Solovey (Parkhotel Valkenburg) was second and Tetyana Piabchenko (Inpa-Bianchi) as third.