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Finally we can welcome you to a sunny Geelong, Australia for the elite women’s road race at this 2010 UCI Road World Championships. Our women will today compete on the same course as yesterday’s U23 men’s event, with the ladies to contest eight laps of the 15.9 kilometre course for a total of 127.7 kilometres.
For those who’ve been living under a rock these past few days, get up to date with the winners so far of the U23 men’s road race, Elite men’s time trial, U23 men’s time trial and Elite women’s time trial by clicking on those links.
You can contact the commentator throughout today’s live coverage with questions, tips, praise and any insider trading information at email@example.com.
So here we are again folks, back in Geelong for the fifth race of this year's championships. The women's peloton today will take on just under 130km as they complete eight laps of the course in what could shape up to be a very different race to yesterday's event, which ended in a bunch-sprint.
We're about 10 minutes away from the peloton rolling out and the women are just signing on now.
Remember this isn't Fight Club so we do want to get some conversation going throughout today's coverage. Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the local journalists - the omnipresent Mike Tomalaris - threw down a challenge to me yesterday asking where the most unusual place our coverage had followers from, so I'd like to discover someone out there today that's from somewhere a little unusual that's following our updates. Maybe you're on an island in the Caribbean, maybe Antarctica, maybe you're just from somewhere we don't normally associate with cycling - lets test the reach of our wonderful sport.
Today is actually a pretty special day for the women's peloton, as it's the 50th time the women have battled for the world championship. In the field we also have a very special rider: Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France).
Longo will turn 52 years of age later this month and is the only multiple world championship winner in today's field. Amazingly, she is responsible for half of France's 10 gold medals in this event.
Bang: We're away for this afternoon's race under wonderful conditions.
The peloton is just rolling along together at this point in time, headed towards our first climb which comes just before the first timing point we'll be using throughout today's coverage.
I'm hoping to lower the blimp down into Geelong's football stadium to pick up a memory card with images on it from this morning's start line. We'll try to get those up for you to take a look at in the next hour.
The Belgian, Dutch and Norwegian teams are across the front of the peloton at the moment.
41-year-old Colleen Ang (Singapore) has had a fall on approach to a roundabout. She's okay and getting some help from a spectator, it seems.
We've had a crash mid-peloton near the base of the climb which has left a few riders waiting for wheel changes. The peloton has split in two, but there's only about 50 metres in between and they should make contact.
It seems one of tha Canadian riders has ridden straight into the foot on one of the barriers, which has caused the accident.
Alona Andruk (Ukraine) didn't do well out of it, with her team car way down the order and taking some time to get to her.
Noor Azian Alias (Malaysia) has fallen back on the climb in addition to already being back in the convoy, after getting tangled in the crash.
The peloton is largely together as it goes over the top of the climb, with just a few riders fighting to get back on.
Carla Ryan (Australia) and Carmen Small (United States of America) are setting the pace on the way down the descent.
Denise Ramsden (Canada) has lost a lot of time after causing the accident, she's had to stop for more repairs to her bike.
The peloton is still together while we prepare those images for you. An interesting fact: the women's peloton crossed the 6.5km mark 44 seconds slower than the U23 men did during yesterday's race.
The women are about to complete their first lap and an Australian team member has a spare bike waiting for Ruth Corset.
Valentina Carretta (Italy) led the peloton over the line in 26:18 minutes. Corset - the current Aussie road champion - didn't stop to swap rides, so she must be happy for the moment with the bike she's on.
The peloton is still together as they roll back towards the first climb on the course.
I'm really hoping one of the teams starts to break up the race on this lap, otherwise I'm going to lose my bet and drinks will be on me this evening.
The time trial champion Emma Pooley is back out there searching for medals today. I know it's rude to talk about a woman's age, but Pooley turns 28 tomorrow so another gold medal would sure be a nice birthday treat.
Ruth Corset has changed her bike prior to the climb - she's riding her spare now and may change back if they can fix the damage to her race bike from the early accident.
As we see the peloton climb the first climb, Judith Arndt's name is pained freshly over the top of some of the men's names in very, very big letters.
Just over one lap in and Bridie O'Donnell (Australia) seems to be on the ropes. She's hanging off the back of the peloton after the climb - which the peloton crested together once more - and looks to be feeling it already.
The women's peloton is led by the German riders on the descent. The women are hitting about 77km/h on the way down, which is about 10km/h slower than the speed we saw in yesterday's event.
Things are pretty quiet in the peloton at the moment, but one thing that wasn't was the celebration for Michael Matthews' U23 victory. Matthews may have been spotted doing his best air guitar routine on stage with a band at a local club last night.
Matthews was still glowing from his victory and simply genuinely appreciative of everything that had happened throughout the day.
Theresa Cliff-Ryan (United States of America) has led the peloton over the start/finish line at the end of lap two. The peloton has covered the 31.8km in 54:02 minutes.
There's a goup of about four riders off the back of the peloton - 2:20 minutes down - still chasing to try and get back on after the crash.
Dinah Chan (Singapore) has dropped off the group and out of the race, in tears as she leaves her bike.
The Belgian riders have decided to test the peloton a little and have increased the pace a little. They're probably just testing the waters a little.
A USA rider has hit the peloton hard on the early slopes of the first climb on this third lap. It doesn't look like she'll get away, but it's good to see things getting a kick along.
Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America) was the rider putting the pressure on. The peloton has bridged to her, but it's strung out and we should see some more attacking follow.
Carla Swart (South Africa) has attacked and gained a few metres on the peloton. She's being chased by the American and Giorgia Bronzini (Italy).
The South African has crested the top of the climb first with the American and Italian behind. They're not going to get away here, but the pace has increased and the peloton is on notice now.
Okay, so you can now check out some images from the start of today's race here.
Rachel Neylan is on the local broadcast at the moment talking about having to pull out of the Australian squad after an accident in training. She had a flat at 65km/h while descending the Stelvio Pass in Italy, which left her in hospital for six days just two weeks ago.
Terrible way to miss out on your home Worlds, but obviously it could have been much worse and we're glad to see she's okay.
The peloton has rounded the last corner on to the start/finish straight. They're on track to set the quickest lap time yet, so things are getting quicker.
Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America) has launched another attack - this time on the start/finish straight, which is a slow, long, uphill drag.
Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America) has a six second margin as she crosses the start/finish line. The peloton seems to be trying to figure out if it's going to chase or not.
The Swiss hopes have taken a hit with both Patricia Schwager (Switzerland) and Doris Schweizer (Switzerland) pulling out of the race.
Meanwhile Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America) is motoring away. She's pulled out a 30 second margin so far.
Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America) has extended her lead as she nears the base of the climb. She's about 50 seconds ahead at this point.
Bridie O'Donnell (Australia) did manage to stay with the peloton, too. She's hanging at the back with Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France).
Andrea from USA Cycling has just pointed out that our USA leader won the Geelong World Cup race here a few years back, and this course includes parts of that course.
If my memory is correct (and it usually isn't) that was the final World Cup in Geelong. I also note she's riding a Teschner - an Australian bike brand. That's enough for me to claim her as being Australian, right?
Anne Samplonius (Canada) and Rossella Callovi (Italy) have taken up chase of our honourary Australian Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America).
Mattis has 49 seconds on the two chase riders at the top of the climb. The peloton is at 1:18 minutes.
It seems our Italian is a bit quicker on the descent than Anne Samplonius. The Canadian might get dropped on the way down here.
Emma Pooley (Great Britain) is sitting second wheel in the peloton as the two breakaway riders are caught on the second climb. Perhaps we'll see the Queen's ladies show their cards soon.
I must say watching Katheryn Curi Mattis' (United States of America) green Webcor socks go around and around looks much easier than being out there myself.
She's growing the margin during this lap and currently has about 1:26 minutes on the peloton.
My man Ted has the low-down on our race leader Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America), as she comes around on to the start/finish straight where she launched this attack 15.9 kilometres ago:
Katheryn and her husband James housed an Australian rider, Angela Mclure, for most of the summer.
Katheryn's grandfather was from Argentina and he was an Olympic boxer. Before she left Northern California for Worlds she had been racing in all of the Men's races to prepare.
She has a tattoo on her arm that says "No Regrets" - she tries to leave it all out on the race course.
Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) is on the front driving the pace now.
Tiffany Cromwell (Australia) put in a big turn on the start/finish straight to try and ignite something. I spoke to Tiff earlier today and she said the Aussie women were primed for battle today.
Elena Kuchinskaya (Russian Federation) lead the peloton across the line at what we'll call half race distance. The peloton was 2:09 minutes behind Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America).
A Ukraine rider seems to have had a bad fall. Unfortunately we have the blimp parked over the other side of the course and the local broadcaster - which is losing its cycling virginity with this race - has gone to an advertising break.
Hopefully we'll get a glimpse once this Skoda is done driving through a lovely wooded area.
Shara Gillow (Australia) has tried to attack the peloton on the climb. It was an aggressive attack but the peloton still seems reluctant to let anyone go.
Gillow didn't manage to get away but Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation) followed with another attack. She's got about 20 metres, but it seems the damage is being done not at the front but behind as riders can't keep with the pace.
Just had an e-mail from Tibco founder Linda Jackson, who likes her countrywoman on today's course:
I live in the same area as Katheryn in Northern California. And I have never seen her so fit. She had to fight for a spot on this team, and I am sure she is out to prove a point.
Okay so our race leader did have a 2:30 minute lead but at the top of the first climb the peloton had brought it back by about 15 seconds. It looks like they don't want this margin to go any further.
I think we might have found some winners in our search to find followers from unusual places. I've had an e-mail from Andrew in Azizyah, Saudi Arabia, and Patricia from Omaruru, Namibia. Thanks for following us!
Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation) is one tough cookie. She's still setting the pace at the front of this peloton.
We have the riders you'd expect to be working at the front of the peloton with the Russian. Emma Pooley is there for British teammate Nicole Cooke (or possibly herself), Vicki Whitelaw (Australia) is up there, Amber Neben (USA) is keeping an eye on things. Edwige Pitel (France) is there for Longo's hopes while Grace Verbeke (Belgium) isn't far away either.
Don't forget: email@example.com is the e-mail address and I am the person you'll be contacting. Feel free to let me know how you think this will play out or why watching the cycling is better than that Australian Football League final on up the road (strange ball, four posts, round field - seriously, what kind of a sport is that?).
The peloton is much smaller than it was at the start of this race - through riders falling off and others withdrawing. Bridie O'Donnell (Australia) and Amanda Spratt (Australia) are still in the race but at about two minutes behind the peloton, their days are probably up.
Meanwhile teammate Carla Ryan is leading the peloton with Pooley on her wheel.
It's a yo-yo at the moment. Australia is driving the peloton but when they crossed the line they'd dropped back out to 2:45 minutes.
The main peloton consists of about 71 riders, with a second peloton about 20 seconds behind that contains the remaining 20 riders.
I must say, I'm impressed by the e-mails I'm getting regarding Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America). There's a lot of people out there who know of the fight she waged to earn a spot on this squad and want to see her do well.
Her coach Felicia Gomez is the latest to contact us: She has been working super hard all year for this race. She is the fittest she has ever been. Had to fight hard for a spot - but letting USAC know she deserves to be here....Hard to say what the peleton will do - but she has won on a course similar to this in 2008 and is ready to go for it!
O'Donnell - who looks shattered - and Spratt have called it a day and are no longer in the hunt.
I owned a Daihatsu once (from the company's few good years) – it was a workhorse that couldn’t be killed no matter what it went through. That’s exactly what Carla Ryan (Australia) is at the moment: a Daihatsu. She’s motoring on the front of the peloton, bringing it to the base of the climb and hopefully reducing the leader’s margin in the process.
We're on lap five of eight at the moment and our American leader is 2:13 minutes up on the peloton, which was lead by Swede Emma Johansson.
The race has broken up on the climb and we've got three chase groups of about eight riders each. Pooley is driving the first of the groups with Johansson on her wheel. Looks like there's another American and British rider in there too, with a Dutch and an Aussie.
I knew I liked Canadians 'ey, thanks for agreeing Dave: I flipped over to TSN2 to see what this Australian football was all about and you're right...it's a long way off from the NFL.
The chase groups have come back together again - but little by little the damage is being done to both the leader's margin and the size of the group, with riders falling out the arse, if you'll pardon my Aussism.
I think I'm going to have to ask Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America) if she'd like to catch up. I must admit I've not met her before, but so many of you out there are speaking so highly of her, she must be an incredible person to know. I even have an e-mail from her college coxswain - it's great to see so much support for a rider.
I'm sure she's already done you all proud, but maybe she'll make those smiles even bigger with a medal here today.
We should be getting close to a more accurate look on this time gap in a minute. A Dutch rider is driving the peloton at the moment.
With two laps remaining Katheryn Curi Mattis (United States of America) is like a solider in a fire fight. It's hurting, there are other places she'd rather be, yet she's charging forward, trying to resist the attempts of the peloton which is currently shelling her lead.
It's probably not going to end well for her (which isn't to say it's not going to work for the team), but she's fought with honour.
The peloton is bringing that margin down. They danced and wooed, but finally the chase is on and they've halved it to about 1:22 minutes.
All you Kiwis filling up the inbox (I don't mind, honestly firstname.lastname@example.org): Yes! There's a Silver Fern in the peloton. Your newest Silver Fern in fact - Linda Villumsen.
Other riders in there include Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain), Evelyn Stevens (United States of America), Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands), Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), Emma Johansson (Sweden), Ruth Corset (Australia) and Grace Verbeke (Belgium) to name a few.
Vicki Whitelaw (Australia), Amber Neben (USA), Trixi Worrack (Germany), Chantal Blaak (Netherlands), Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation), Luisa Tamanini (Italy) and Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands) are others I can spot in the group.
Emma Pooley (Great Britain) has attacked on the climb.
She's closing down on the race leader. With two laps remaining it looks like our USA rider's time out front is about to come to an end.
Emma Pooley (Great Britain) has taken the lead, but there's a select chase group after her.
A group of about six riders has latched on to Pooley's wheel at the top of the climb and Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) is looking like she's going to make a move.
Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) got away for a short moment but the group is with her again.
The seven riders have been caught on the descent by the remnants of the peloton but there's another climb ahead. Attack, anyone?
Five time world champ Longo is still in this group and I think - don't hold me to it - but I think our USA friend Katheryn Curi Mattis is still in the group. She's still there.
Emma Pooley (Great Britain) has moved off the front with an Italian rider at the top of the climb. Riders are coming across two by two (hurrah, hurrah) so it looks like this move will be shut down.
Tatiana Antoshina (Russian Federation) has put in a solo attack now. She's gained about 100 metres on the peloton which is being paced by a Dutch rider.
With one and a half laps remaining it's probably wise to start thinking about a possible small bunch finish. In that case Australia doesn't stand a strong chance, but Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) knows how to sneak away on the uphill and USA has some strong options while my USA counterpart at Cyclingnews.com thinks Marianne Vos' teammate Annamiek Van Vleuten should be watched closely.
What do you think? email@example.com
Our big Russian leader is rushin' along ahead, but a peloton of 40 isn't too far behind now.
Of note back in the peloton is the British team. Now as an Australian I'm simply not allowed to make any comments that could suggest the British will win any sporting event or drinking contest, but the motherland has at least four riders in this lead group. That could play a key role over the final lap.
We've started the final lap, the Russian has been caught on the run up to the start/finish line and a group of two riders has gone now. It's Noemi Cantele (Italy) and Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain).
They were joined by a Russian rider but Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain) wouldn't work and the trio has decided to sit up.
This could have been a tough course for the women's field, but instead there's still 40 riders in the mix and we're inside the last lap: that's less than 15.9 kilometres left to rider.
Like the British the Dutch also have good numbers in this group. They have about four riders in the mix and are currently doing the work. They'll probably be allowed to set the pace at least to the first climb - where we should see a British and an Italian rider try to break it up, if my crystal ball is working today.
An Italian rider has put the hammer down, followed by a Dutch rider and a Lithuanian (I think). I guess my crystal ball is actually an empty VB can.
They have only 20 metres and they're not at the climb just yet.
Oh no: Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands) has had a flat at the base of the climb. Terrible timing for the rider and she may struggle to get back despite a quick, clean change.
Great Britain has all its riders on the front putting the pressure on up this climb. They might be using the girls to try and soften their rivals for the next climb.
Emma Johannson (Sweden) has moved to the front now too but the riders are marking one another.
Evelyn Stevens (United States of America) has made a move from about 10th wheel. She's made her way to the front but Emma Pooley is right there on her wheel.
Ruth Corset (Australia) has cracked: the Australian can't hold on as Emma Johansson (Sweden) leads over the top of the climb.
Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) has made her move! We haven't seen her all race but she's pulled a swifty on the descent.
The Olympic champion is out of the saddle, sprinting down the descent to gap her rivals. She's pulled out about 150 metres in what seems a strange move.
If she's not feeling strong - really strong - she'll get caught on this next and final climb.
We're inside the last seven kilometres, across the temporary bridge, ready to hit the final climb.
Nobody makes motors like the Germans and Judith Arndt has driven the break over to Cooke's wheel on the climb.
Noemi Cantele (Italy) is leading from Emma Pooley (Great Britain) and Marianne Vos (Netherlands).
Judith Arndt (Germany) has powered through again, with Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) on her wheel.
Tara Whitten (Canada) has taken up the chase, with Emma Pooley (Great Britain) on her wheel.
Nicole Cooke and Judith Arndt are swapping off turns, trying to make this move stick. Emma Johannson and Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) have joined the chase but the pair ahead are team time trialing their way down the flat straight.
With three kilometres remaining Arndt and Cooke have an 11 second lead.
It's going to be a very long few kilometres for the pair. They're holding the lead but certainly not extending it at this point.
Arndt is a tank. She's got the gear engaged and just driving it while Cooke has to get out of the saddle repeatedly to stay on the German's wheel.
Canada wants this - they have two riders driving the chase.
The leaders have rounded the final corner, it looks like they could stay away. Cooke is looking, ready to jump.
The chasers are on their heals. The leaders don't know what to do.
Arndt launches her sprint with 500 metres to go, she has no other option.
Here comes Vos, they're not going to last.
It's back together now, but Cooke has found a second wind.
Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) has come around to take the victory!
Marianne Vos (Netherlands) has taken second place from Emma Johannson (Sweden).
Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) and Judith Arndt (Germany) made their move but it didn't pay off and the riders have taken fourth and fifth places. The day is Italy's.
Grace Verbeke (Belgium) took sixth place about five metres behind.
I'm sure Mark Cavendish has never been so interested in a women's race in his life: this could show that he is the man for tomorrow's elite men's race afterall.
Okay folks, I'm going to wrap up today's coverage with the top 10:
1Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
2Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
3Emma Johansson (Sweden)
4Nicole Cooke (Great Britain)
5Judith Arndt (Germany)
6Grace Verbeke (Belgium)
7Trixi Worrack (Germany)
8Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania)
9Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain)
10Carla Swart (South Africa)
It's been great sharing the race with you all, I hope you've had some fun. Thanks to all of Katheryn Curi Mattis' family and friends that wrote in - hopefully I'll get to meet her later today.
That's it for today - be sure to come back tomorrow for the final event: the Elite men's UCI Road World Championship race.