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Live coverage of the elite women's individual time trial from the UCI World Championships in Florence.
There are 48 riders lining up for today's 22.1 kilometre time trial, which starts in the park at Le Cascine and finishes at Florence's Mandela Forum, near the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Katazina Sosna (Lithuania) is the first rider down the start ramp, while pre-race favourite Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands) is underway at 4.04pm local time.
The final twenty riders down the start ramp are off at the following times:
15:26:00Jacqueline Hahn (Austria)
15:28:00Audrey Cordon (France)
15:30:00Thea Thorsen (Norway)
15:32:00Martina Ritter (Austria)
15:34:00Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands)
15:36:00Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)
15:38:00Enkhjargal Tuvshinjargal (Mongolia)
15:40:00Rossella Ratto (Italy)
15:42:00Joelle Numainville (Canada)
15:44:00Ganna Solovey (Ukraine)
15:46:00Trixi Worrack (Germany)
15:48:00Tatiana Antoshina (Russian Federation)
15:50:00Lisa Brennauer (Germany)
15:52:00Carmen Small (United States Of America)
15:54:00Olga Zabelinskaya (Russian Federation)
15:56:00Emma Johansson (Sweden)
15:58:00Shara Gillow (Australia)
16:00:00Evelyn Stevens (United States Of America)
16:02:00Linda Villumsen (New Zealand)
16:04:00Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands)
Specialized-lululemon were dominant winners of the women's team time trial on Sunday, and not surprisingly, the team boasts a number of contenders for honours today. As well as the aforementioned Van Dijk, Evelyn Stevens (USA) and Trixi Worrack (Germany) are also in action this afternoon.
Unlike the men's time trial, which begins in Montecatini Terme, today's is an entirely urban test. After a long loop around the park at Le Cascine, the riders head for the historic heart of Florence, past the Duomo before finishing in the shadow of the Stadio Artemio Franchi on the edge of town. The two intermediate time checks are after 12.6km and 17.4km.
Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo spoke to Ellen Van Dijk ahead of today's time trial, and you can read her full preview here.
Katazina Sosna (Lithuania) is the first rider through the 12.6km point, clocking a time of 17:18 at Piazza Ognissanti, near the banks of the Arno.
Melodie Lesueur is out on the course now. One of the younger riders at just 23, the Frenchwoman from Picardie was the U23 TT champion of Europe back in 2011 and could well set a fast time today. She was third in the French national time trial championships earlier this year. She’s a former teammate of Great Britain’s Leda Cox, whose thespian husband once won an Edinburgh Fringe First. In 1994, according to resident Edinburgh Fringe historian Daniel Benson.
Denise Ramsden (Canada) now has the best time at the first check, coming through the 12.5km mark in 17:00. Meanwhile, Sosna is gone through the second check in a shade under 43kph.
Ramsden flies through the 16.4km check with the best time to date, her 22:32 is 30 seconds up on Sosna.
Lesueur has been pedalling very smoothly over the early part of the course and those impressions are borne out by her time at the first checkpoint. She comes through in 16:58, just ahead of Ramsden.
Meanwhile, Leire Olaberria (Spain) has just started her effort. The 36-year-old is a real track specialist, having picked up medals in previous world championships and track world cups. The experienced Olaberria has now wins this season, but she was second in her national time trial championships
Katazina Sozna (Lithuania) reacehs the finish line in a time of 30:41. Back out on the course, Lesueur rides through Piazza del Duomo en route to the second check point.
Denise Ramsden (Canada) finishes strongly to record the quickest time of the early starters. She comes home in 30:06, 35 seconds up on Sosna.
Annika Langvald (Denmark) appears to have started strongly, although she has still to reach the first intermediate time check. She comes from a mountain biking background and won the world marathon title on two occasions, but also has pedigree against the watch, winning the Danish time trial title back in 2011.
Melodie Lesueur (France) finishes her effort on the right note. She had slipped to second best at the 17.5km point, but she has finished with the provisional best time. The first rider to break the 30-minute barrier, Lesueur clocks a time of 29:55.
Lesueur may not last very long in the gold medal position. Annika Langvald has zipped through the 12.5km point some 52 seconds quicker.
Emilia Fahlin has just begun her effort. The Swede is certainly among the strongest riders of the earlier starters and could well set the fastest time through the checkpoints. The Swedish national time trial champion is looking to bounce back from a disappointing Olympic Games last year, where she finished outside of the top ten in both the road race and the time trial.
Jutta Stienen (Switzerland) paced herself very well over the second half of the course, and she is now our provisional leader after clocking 29:53, two seconds up on Lesueur.
Langvad is continuing to set impressive times out on the course, however. The Dane is through the second checkpoint over a minute ahead of everybody else, and is showing no signs of letting up as she hurtles into the final kilometres.
Annika Langvad (Denmark) powers across the finish line with the new quickest time, all of 1:25 up on Stienen.
Valeriya Kononenko (Ukraine) reaches the finish with the third best time to date, 29:54, knocking Lesueur out of the medals.
Emilia Fahlin has not started well, and the Swede finds herself in 7th place, 1:03 down on Langvad at the first check.
Elisa Longo Borghini carries home hopes this afternoon, even if the Italian’s true focus is on Saturday’s road race, where she aims to better her bronze medal of twelve months ago. Sister of Cannondale pro Paolo and daughter of Italian skier Guidina Dal Sasso, the 21-year-old Longo Borghini hails from a famous sporting family, and won the Trofeo Alfredo Binda earlier this year, but then suffered injury in a crash at the Italian championships in June.
Incidentally, fans of the other San Remo, the song contest, might enjoy Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Marco Pastonesi’s rewording of 1980s Italian pop, er, classic “Per Elisa” in her honour in the spring.
Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen (Norway) reaches the finish with the second best time to date, but Langvad remains untouchable for now, 1:21 quicker than everyone else.
Loes Gunnewijk set off two minutes before Longo Borghini. The Dutchwoman has just re-signed with Orica-AIS for the next two seasons.
Denise Ramsden told Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo that she was pleased to have the experience of sitting in the hot seat, if only fleetingly. The Canadian also noted that the wind appears to be picking up out on the course.
Incidentally, current leader Annika Langvad injured her thumb on the eve of the cross country race at the world mountain bike championships and was unable to compete, but that injury certainly hasn't hindered her here.
Emilia Fahlin comes home in 10th place, almost two minutes down on Langvad. Shortly afterwards, Inga Cilvinaite (Lithuania) crosses the finish line with the second best time to date, 1:03 behind Langvad.
Eugenia Bujak (Poland) finishes with the third quickest time to date, 1:08 down on the hitherto untouchable Langvad.
Loes Gunnewijk (Netherlands) is the first rider to record a time within touching distance of Langvad at the 12.5km mark. The Dutchwoman reaches Piazza Ognissanti 17 seconds down.
Third best time at the first check for Longo Borghini, albeit already 30 seconds down on Langvad.
Carmen Small (USA) is out on the course, chasing her two-minute woman Lisa Brennauer (Germany). Brennauer has a track pedigree but was also the junior world time trial champion but back in 2005. She’s had a consistent year, and has made a number of improvements over the last 12 months.
Olga Zabelinskaya has begun her effort. The experienced Russian claimed two bronze medals in the Olymic Games last year, in the road race and the time trial. There are just five more riders left to roll down the start ramp.
Emma Johansson rolls down the start ramp and quickly tucks into her aerodynamic position. The Swede, who is another favourite for today, turned 30 earlier this week and will want to celebrate with a medal. She was a leader in the Toscana protest last week due to the dangerous conditions the riders felt they were facing on the road. Johansson is enjoying her first season with the Orica GreenEdge team. A strong all-rounder, she’ll enjoy today’s course and beat everyone at the Route de France prologue last month.
Audrey Cordon (France) reaches the finish line with the fourth best time, just shy of a place on the provisional podium. Meanwhile, Longo Borghini has passed the second check point with the third-best time, 35 seconds down on Langvad.
While Shara Gillow (Australia) negotiaties the opening of her time trial, Evelyn Stevens (USA) readies herself in the start house.
Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) is the penultimate starter. She used to represent Denmark but changed nationalities a few seasons ago. She was a medallist in the time trial Copenhagen and has enjoyed a strong season so far. There were rumours she has quit the sport last year but she later joined Wiggle Honda. Her most impressive performance this season came at the Route de France where a daring solo attack won her the overall prize.
Trixi Worrack (Germany) has the second best time at the first time check, just under 8 seconds down on Langvad.
Loes Gunnewijk climbs out the saddle and crosses the finish line with a sprint. That's good enough for the second best time of the finishers so far, but that's still almost 45 seconds off Langvad's fine time.
Elisa Longo Borghini pulled out a solid ride over the final ten kilometres of the course, and she cross the line with the second-best time to date, 44 seconds down on Langvad, and scarcely a second up on Gunnewijk.
Ellen Van Dijk is the final starter, and the early word reaching us from Le Cascine is that the Dutchwoman and Villumsen are the quickest through the opening kilometres. They are both still to reach the first time check, of course.
0.07 of a second is separating Van Dijk, Villumsen, Stevens and Langvad in the opening kilometres of racing, but we await more accurate confirmation from the opening time check.
Speaking of the opening time check, Carmen Small (USA) has gone through in the quickest time to date, two seconds up on Langvad. Small has just negtiated the cobbles of Piazza Duomo and is pedalling very smoothly indeed.
Neither Zabelinskaya (5th at 13 seconds) nor Brennauer (8th at 22 seconds) could match Small at the 12.5km point. We await the arrival of Emma Johansson at the same check.
Ganna Solovey (Ukraine) was 4th at the two intermediate checks, but she turned on the after-burners over the closing kilometres to push Longo Borghini out of provisional second place.
Langvad's reign atop the provisional standings comes to an end. Trixi Worrack (Germany) comes home in 28:19, 7.85 seconds ahead.
Out on the course, Carmen Small is continuing her steady march. The American has the best time at the second time check, 4 seconds up on Langvad.
Small's fellow American Evelyn Stevens has just gone through the 12.5km mark with the second best time, two seconds down. Neither Johansson (14 seconds down) nor Gillow (at 25 seconds) were able to get close at that point.
Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) follows Steven's through the 12.5km mark with the best time to date, 4 seconds up on small. The margins between the big hitters are very close at this early stage.
Over at the finish area, Lisa Brennauer comes home with the 5th best time to date, 30 seconds off the pace of her fellow German Worrack.
The margins are tight in the battle for a podium place, but Ellen Van Dijk has surely placed a significant down payment on the rainbow jersey with her rapid start. The Dutchwoman is all of 20 seconds up on Villumsen at the 12.5km mark, 24 up on Small and 26 ahead of Stevens.
Small pips Trixi Worrack by two seconds to clock the provisional best time at the finish. That time of 28:16 marks been a fine display from the American, but she'll do well to hold off Van Dijk, Stevens and Villumsen for a podium place.
Villumsen duly sets the new best time at the 16.4km mark, 3 seconds up on Small and 5 ahead of Stevens.
Van Dijk appears to be unbeatable, however. The Dutchwoman is turning over a huge gear and making light work of the Florentine course. She increases her lead over Villumsen to 25 seconds at the second time check. If Van Dijk avoids a puncture in the finale, the rainbow jersey is surely hers.
It looks like the medals will go to three from Van Dijk, Villumsen, Stevens and Small. Van Dijk looks all but certain to take gold, but there could be a tight three-way battle for the other two steps of the podium.
The GPS data in the final 5 kilometres suggests that Stevens has drawn back level with Small in third place, with Villumsen just 6 seconds ahead in third. Van Dijk, meanwhile, appears to have more than 30 seconds of a buffer as she tackles the final kilometres.
Second best time for Evelyn Stevens at the finish line, 0.04 seconds down on Small. That guarantees Small a medal, and it looks as though gold and silver will go to Van Dijk and Villumsen.
Shara Gillow (Australia) came home in 13th place, incidentally, while Zabelinskaya has the 6th best time to date, 16 seconds down on Small.
Linda Vilumsen (New Zealand) takes the provisional best time. Her 28:12 is 4 seconds quicker than Small and Stevens, but Ellen Van Dijk is already in the final kilometre and heading for the rainbow jersey.
Van Dijk powers into the finishing straight to raucous applause. The Dutchwoman is churning a huge gear and is about to seal the world title.
Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands) is the world time trial champion. Her time of 27:48 is 24 seconds up on Villumsen, while Carmen Small (USA) claims third.
Van Dijk conceded a little ground to Villumsen over the closing kilometres, but in reality, the race was already won by that point. The Dutchwoman set the tone for the afternoon with a confident start, and by the time she left Le Cascine and headed for the centro storico, Van Dijk already held an emphatic and, ultimately, decisive lead.
1 Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands) 00:27:48
2 Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) 00:28:12
3 Carmen Small (United States of America) 00:28:16
It's delight for Van Dijk, but another near miss for Linda Villumsen. She's now taken three bronze and two silver medals in the past five world championships time trials...
1 Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) 0:27:48.18
2 Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) 0:00:24.10
3 Carmen Small (United States) 0:00:28.74
4 Evelyn Stevens (United States) 0:00:28.78
5 Trixi Worrack (Germany) 0:00:31.66
6 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 0:00:39.51
7 Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia) 0:00:40.30
8 Ganna Solovey (Ukraine) 0:00:42.48
9 Tatiana Antoshina (Russia) 0:00:42.57
10 Emma Johansson (Sweden) 0:00:52.98
It's a case of so near but so far, too, for Evelyn Stevens, who misses out on a podium place by just four hundredths of a second. A silver medallist on the hilly Valkenburg course last year, the flatter Florence parcours was not best-suited to her talents, but it was still a fine effort from the American.
The day belongs to Ellen van Dijk, however, who lived up to the billing of favourite with a very assured performance over the 22.1 kilometres. Previously a world champion in the points race in 2008, as well as in the team time trial, van Dijk was in a class of her own today.
Thanks for joining us on Cyclingnews for today's live coverage from the Worlds. A full report, results and pictures will follow here. We'll be back with more from the men's time trial tomorrow. In the meantime, don't disappoint, and stay with Cyclingnews for all the news and reaction to events Florence, on and off the bike.