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The women take on the time trial, to see who is the best in the world!
Welcome to the Elite Women time trial! Today the women will take on the cobblestones and climbs of Limburg.
We have three former World Champions here at the start line: Judith Arndt of Germany (2011), Emma Pooley of Great Britiain (2010) and Amber Neben of USA (2008). All three are top candidates again for a medal.
The first rider went off at 2:30 p.m. No one has yet come to the finish. The fastest so far at the first intermediate time check is Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic, and the fastest at the second time check is Serika Guluma Ortiz of Colombia.
Guluma is now making her way up the Cauberg -- slowly and with difficulty.
The first rider off was Semra Yetis of Turkey, who has put in the slowest times so far. Still, she is in the World Championships, one of only 42 women in the world to accomplish that.
Guluma is the first to cross the finish line and sets a time of 36:05.56.
The weather could be better today. It is coolish, and more overcast than not. Still, it is not actually raining.
The women are going off at two-and-a-half minute intervals.
Sablikova has set a new best time: 34:25.90.
42 women are scheduled to take to the road today, representing 28 nations. 16 nations have sent one rider and ten nations have two riders. Germany and the USA each have three riders, as each nation gained an extra place for having, respectively, the reigning World and Olympic champions.
Frenchwoman Edwige Pitel is now on the road.
The 16 nations with one rider each are: Turkey, Colombia, Croatia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Brazil, Finnland, Mexico, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia and New Zealand.
The ten nations with two riders each are: Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Lithuania, Italy, Canada, France, Russia, Great Britain and Netherlands.
Sablikova has set some good times. The Norwegian Johnsen has just come in second, over 1:20 down.
The next rider to go is Ina Yoko Teutenberg, of Germany.
The first American is on the road, Carmen Small.
Last year in Copenhagen, we saw Arndt take gold, ahead of Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) and Pooley.
14 riders have now finished, but no one has come closed to Sablikova's time. Yet.
Emma Johansen of Sweden is now underway. She is wearing a huge orange helmet.
Wendy Houvenaghel of GB is on her way now.
The Olympic gold medal in the time trial went to USA's Kristin Armstrong, who is not participating today. Silver went to Arndt and bronze to Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia). The latter is also not here at the Worlds.
Oh, the Cauberg is such a tough climb.... some of these women are really suffering.
The Junior women had their go this morning, and GB's Elinor Baker was the fastest on the 15.6km course. Here are the top five:
1 Elinor Barker (Great Britain) 0:22:26
2 Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark) 0:00:36 3 Demi De Jong (Netherlands) 0:01:03
4 Emily Roper (Australia) 0:01:08
5 Ramona Forchini (Switzerland) 0:01:1
Trixi Worrack of Germany is on the road now. She has won a World Championship here in Valkenburg before -- as a junior on the road in 1998.
Ellen Van Dijk of the Netherlands takes off. Only seven more riders to go.
This is not an easy course. There are in fact two climbs. The Gronsvelderberg comes at km 7.2, and is 2100 meters with an average gradient of 3.5% and a maximum of 4.1%. Near the end we will have the “dreaded Cauberg”, 1200 meters with a gradient of up to 5.8%.
The next American, Evelyn Stevens, is underway now.
The course starts with a short cobblestone section, not too pleasant, we should think.
Eiisa Longo Borghini of Italy is now second at the finish, only 21 seconds down.
At the other end of the course, Canada's Rhae-Christie Shaw has started.
Teutenberg is flying! She has set best times at both intermediate time checks. Her finishing time will depend on how well she comes over the Cauberg, because climbing is not her strength.
A dark-horse favourite might be Anna Van der Breggen, a 22-year-old Dutchwoman. She had a stunning six wins in July alone, and more top ten finishes over the season than we can count. And of course she has the homeland advantage.
She is the next to go.
Don't count out Neben. The petite 37-year-old American has won one world title and is always a threat to repeat.
Pooley is another favourite for a medal. She is not having an easy time of it at the moment, as her team AA Drink-Leontin.NL is ending after this season. The 29-year-old has said she may take a one-year sabbatical, which may even extend into a full retirement.
Teutenberg makes her way up the Cauberg....
Teutenberg has made it to the top, let's see what kind of a time she will have at the finish.
Villumsen may not be as well known as the other favourites, but she ought to be. She is one of the top female time trialists, and is in fact the only woman to have podiumed at the Worlds every year fro the last three years.
Van Dijk has set a new best time at the first time check, 20 seconds faster than Teutenberg.
The German sets a new best time, of 34:00.20.
Arndt is on the road -- the last one to take off today, and looking to defend her title.
A new best time for Stevens at the first time check. The speedy ladies are now underway.
Arndt is the favourite here today. It is her last time trial, as the 36-year-old will retire after the Worlds. The German has already won three world titles: the time trial in 2011, road in 2004 and individual pursuit on the track in 2004.
At the second intermediate time check, Worrack is third, with Teutenberg first.
Johansson comes to the finish, as thrd, 39.65 slower than Teutenberg.
At the second time check, Van Dijk is again faster than Teutenberg by 35 seconds.
Pooley climbs -- but unlike Teutenberg, she can climb.
Houvenagel is fourth at the moment at the finish.
Villumsen takes a detour around a street sign....
Pooley coms to the first time check and sets a new best time, by 0.56.
Pooley is in fact riding on the bike line, which is part of the road.
Van Dijk gets a big had as she starts up the Cauberg -- no real surprise. Lots of folks here and of course cheering on their countrywoman.
She makes her way up this difficult climb.
Worrack comes to the finish, and will have a good time.
No best time for Worrack, but she is now second, at 10.82 down.
Still eight riders to come to the finish. Van Dijk will be next.
A new best time for Arndt at the first time check,over six seconds faster.
Van Dik will set a new best time at the finish. She is now first at 33:20.47. That is 39 seconds faster than Teutenberg.
Neben only third at the second time check.
Stevens is the next to finish. Her time is 33:00.23, another 20 seconds faster than Van Dijk!
36 riders finished, six still to come.
Villumsen second at the second time check. What will Arndt's time be?
Van der Breggen is now on the Cauberg.
The second time check: and Arndt has the best time, by 10 seconds!
Van der Breggen is currently seventh at the finish. Four more to come.
Neben is at the finish. No medal for her today, as her time of 34.09 is only good for fourth place at the moment.
Pooley goes into the final kilometer,as Villumsen grinds her way up the Cauberg.
Pooley brings in a final time of 33.15, making her second at the time by 15 seconds.
Arndt looks much more comfortable climbing on the Cauberg, up out of the saddle.
Arndt has reached the top and now can head in to the finish line.
No best time for Villumsen -- she is second at the moment.
Only Arndt left to go....
Stevens is still in the hot seat. She knows she has a medal assured, but will it be gold or silver?
It is another gold and another world title for Arndt! She crosses the line with a time of 32:26.46!
She also crosses the line with a big smile, but makes sure to ask "did I win?" before celebrating.
Gold and the title go to Judith Arndt of Germany, silver to Evelyn Stevens of USA, and bronze to Linda Villumsen of New Zealand.
Villumsen has now been on the Worlds podium every year for the last four years. That is what we call a consistent performance!
It is also Arndt's fourth World title, and her second time trial title.
And here are the top ten femaie time trialists in the world:
1 Judith Arndt (Germany) 0:32:26
2 Evelyn Stevens (United States) 0:33:00
3 Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) 0:33:07
4 Emma Pooley (Great Britain) 0:33:16
5 Eleonora van Dijk (Netherlands) 0:33:20
6 Ina Teutenberg (Germany) 0:34:00
7 Amber Neben (United States) 0:34:10
8 Trixi Worrack (Germany) 0:34:11
9 Martina Sablikova (Czech Republic) 0:34:26
10 Shara Gillow (Australia) 0:34:26
Congratulations to Arndt and to all the women who rode today.
Thanks for reading along and be sure to join us again tomorrow for the men's time trial.