Austria won its second medal ever in the World Championships, 20 years after its first one. In 1987, it won a bronze medal in the men's four-man time trial, an event that is no longer held. And this year Christiane Soeder won a bronze in the women's individual time trial.
"I couldn't sleep at all, because I was still so excited," she said of Wednesday night. "The medal was a total surprise. I can only now slowly believe it. We will certainly have to celebrate this fully!" said the 32 year-old, who rides for Team Raleigh Lifeforce and also happens to be a doctor, on sport1.at.
She was able to do so well, she said, because she took the first round of the course easy. She was then able to kick it up a notch, "because I still had enough power. That made the difference. I concentrated on a higher pedaling frequency in my training. That's why I rode the World Cup track race. It has paid off."
Her third place this year was a definite improvement over her 16th place from last year at home in Salzburg, Austria. "Many things came together then, an unlucky chain of negative circumstances. And I wasn't in worse form than this year, but everything has to come together in order to win a medal. If one thing doesn't work out, then you fall into a vicious cycle and just keep going down."
Does she see herself now as a medal favourite for the Olympics in Beijing? "Now that I've got one third place, of course I want to repeat it or improve it in the Olympics. But that is hard to plan. This year everything went almost perfectly, except for one cold. Next year I will prepare myself differently again, but take the positive out of this season with me and hope that I stay healthy."
Soeder has another chance to take a medal this year, as she will also be riding the road race on Saturday. "That is a whole new situation, that you have to go in differently. There are many tactical variations that I will have to discuss with my team-mates, who arrive today [Thursday]. The tactic depends to a certain extent on how fit the rest of the team is."