Hello and welcome to our live coverage from the 2013 World Championships.
We're in Florence for the 2013 World Championships and the first even, the women's team time trial. A 42.79km test from Pistoia - Florence.
We already have twelve teams on out on the road this morning and FAREN KUOTA who set off first have just gone through the first time check in a time of 36:04.93. They were ninth at the first time check with the powerful RUSVELO team leading at the first time check.
The course itself is relatively flat and you can see the course preview, right here.
LOTTO BELISOL LADIES team have come through the first time check in 12th place and are already 53 seconds on the Russian team's time.
Rabobank, one of the real favourites for a medal are about to come through the first time check. While the favourites from and winner's from 2012 will be the last team on the road.
Last year the American team stormed around the course in Holland to take the gold medal and the rainbow stripes. Again they'll be favourites but they'll face stern opposition from Orica - Ais. Meanwhile Optum have gone through the second time check with the the second fastest time, meaning Rusvelo still lead at this stage.
Conditions this morning are perfect for fast times though. It's relatively cool, the sun is out and there's little wind. The top women's team are going to storm the course.
And the race favourites Specialized Luluemon are off.
And the American team are fastest through the first intermediate time check, 1.87 seconds ahead of the Orica AIS team.
The Rabobank women's team were third at the time check. So we could see a very similar podium to last year given that in 2012 Aa Drink - Leontien.Nl Cycling Team pushed the Dutch ladies into fourth and they're not competing this year having folded.
Vos and her teammates were 12 seconds down at the first time check though.
Bepink are down to just four riders out on the road. They were down in 10th at the first check , so they're already struggling at the moment. The top teams will try and hang on with all six riders but it's the first four over the line that count in terms of times.
Our man on the ground Stephen Farrand is following the race in our second blimp. "Orica-AIS seem the best drilled team, they're perfectly lined-out and taking the best line," he says.
Laura Weislo, CN's deputy editor is also out on the course. "Rusvelo are catching Michela Fanini Rox."
And Rusvelo are storming around the course. Argos can't knock them off their perch and can only manage a time that's 16 seconds slower. Have the Russian team gone out too fast? You have to say that the course is well suited to them though. The Russian team were 5th last year though.
While there's no television coverage this year (shocking I know) the crowds are out in force to cheers the riders on.
MCIPOLLINI GIORDANA are third at the second time check but the team on the march are Lotto. They were 15th at the first time check but they're not up to 6th. Have they timed their race perfectly?
So much firepower in the Specialized team though Lisa Brennauer (Ger) , Katie Colclough (GBr) , Carmen Small-Mcnellis (USA) , Evelyn Stevens (USA) , Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) , Trixi Worrack (Ger)
Worrack is of course one of the most experienced riders in the field. She took to the start line in the 1998 Worlds of course.
Rusvelo are on thin ice and are down to four riders, but they should have enough in the tank to take the lead in a few minutes.
Boom. The Russian team cross the line and they're a whopping 2'30 ahead of FAREN KUOTA.
Rusvelo were fourth at the first time check but they're on track to compete for one of the medals this morning.
Lotto appear to be fading at this stage, while Argos remain in second place at the moment at the second intermediate time check.
Wiggle Honda, who have Charlotte Becker, previously of Specialized, in their ranks go second at the second time check. The also have worlds medalist Linda Villumsen in their team.
Optum have dropped down to five riders but look good for a top ten ride today.
And Optum come over the finish line in second, provisionally, one minute down on the Rusvelo team.
Only Rabobank, Orica and Specialized have yet to come through the second time check. All three teams were separated by just 12 seconds earlier in the race.
Rabobank are scorching along the course, and they're fastest at the second check, 36 seconds up on Rusvelo. A medal is slipping away for the Russian team.
But Vos and her teammates have been dislodged already and it's the Orica team who lead by 3 seconds now.
Laura Weislo is at the finish and has spoken to Jade Wilcoxson (Optum) who has said the team hoped to have been in the hotseat for a while. They've failed in that and will have to analyse what's gone wrong.
The Orica team still have all six riders and they're riding smoothly out on one of the fast, flat sections. But...
Specialized have just blown them out of the water and are 50 seconds up. They're on course to defend their title from twelve months ago.
Lotto can only manage 6th on the line and it's Rusvelo who still lead.
Stephen Farrand is following the Specialized team out on the road. "Specialized-Lululemon also has six riders and is 50 seconds faster than Orica-AIS at the second split. They seem unbeatable and on course for a second world title." he says in awe.
Specialzed really turned the screw in that second sector of the race and have pulled away from everyone. Baring accident they're on course for the win, while Orica and Rabobank look locked in the battle for silver.
The MCIPOLLINI GIORDANA are second at the finish.
And Argos are in too but they can only take third, almost a minute off the leaders, Rusvelo.
If Rusvelo want a medal they're going to have to hope that Rabobank will fade because right now the Dutch team are on their way to bronze.
"I preferred last year's course but the Worlds have been amazing," Sharon Laws has told Laura Weislo at the finish.
BePink come over the line but are down in 6th spot. They were struggling early on with just four riders at an early stage.
In real time calculations, Specialized-Lululemon now lead Orica-AIS by over a minute.
Just five teams left on the course and the medals are still up for grabs. Rusvelo in the hotseat but right now they're out off the medals
Can Wiggle move into a medal position? They were fifth at the last time check.
Just three seconds between Orica and Rabobank. The fight for silver is going to go down to the last hundred meters.
Specilaized-Lululemon still has six riders as they fly past the Florence Duomo.
Wiggle can only manage third on the line so will drop down to fifth or sixth by the time the other teams finish.
HiTech are still out on the course but they're really struggling out there. They wont pick up a medal this morning.
And Rabobank go fastest 51 seconds faster than Rusvelo. The Russian team our out of the hotseat with two teams still to come.
Can Orica respond?
Rabobank hold! Orica are 22 seconds down at the finish. The Dutch team will take silver.
But here come Specialized Lululemon. They still look on course to defend their title.
And they've done it, pushing the Dutch team into second by 1'11, with Orica down in third at 1'33. That means Rusvelo miss out on a medal once again, having finished 2'02 down on the winners.
There were really only three teams in it from the off and although Rusvelo threatened to spoil the party, Specialized class really told in the end.
Lisa Brennauer (Ger) , Katie Colclough (GBr) , Carmen Small-Mcnellis (USA) , Evelyn Stevens (USA) , Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) , Trixi Worrack (Ger) are all together now at the finish with their support staff and management. Just like last year, the German national anthem will be the first we hear at the World Championships.
1 Specialized-Lululemon 0:51:10
2 Rabo Women Cycling Team 0:01:11
3 Orica-AIS 0:01:33
You can find our brief reports, results and photos here. Check back soon for the full reports and huge gallery from the race action.
We'll be back later this afternoon with live coverage from the men's TTT.
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