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World U23 and Women ITT - USA and Canada Team Reports
By Staff
Date: 9/26/2007
World U23 and Women ITT - USA and Canada Team Reports

Armstrong wins third straight world championship time trial medal. Satisfaction and disappointment for Canadians in Stuttgart

Armstrong wins third straight world championship time trial medal.

Kristin Armstrong earned her third consecutive world championship medal in the elite women's time trial on Wednesday and the United States placed three athletes in the top five as the 2007 UCI Road World Championships opened in Germany.

The defending world champion, Armstrong placed second to Germany's Hanka Kupfernagel to add a silver medal to the bronze she captured in Madrid two years ago and the gold she won last year in Austria.

Teammates Amber Neben and Christine Thorburn also turned in strong performances, placing fourth and fifth respectively while newcomer Alison Powers placed 20th in her first world championships.

One of the heavy favorites to claim this yearís rainbow jersey on a hilly and technical 25-kilometer course, Armstrong finished 23.47 seconds off the pace of Kupfernagelís winning time of 34 minutes, 43.79 seconds.

"After having the world championship jersey, getting second place isnít easy," said Armstrong after her third-straight world championship podium appearance. "It was a difficult day and itís hard to be world champion every year. Yesterday I told my teammates the strongest girl will win today because of the technical part and the flats. There wasnít any time to rest during the course. I knew Hanka was a dark horse coming in because she doesnít typically race with us all year, but I knew she was a strong girl."

Starting tenth out of 49 riders, Kupfernagel set an early standard that would not be matched as the remaining 39 riders failed to surpass her mark. As the 19th rider to complete the course with a time of 35:46.58, Neben sat in second place until eventual bronze medalist Christiane Soeder (AUT) eclipsed her mark with a 35:25.32, temporarily bumping Neben into the bronze-medal position. As the last rider to finish, Armstrong fell just short of becoming the first two-time world time trial champion in American history. Just nine seconds behind Neben, Thorburn, a bronze medalist in 2006, clocked a time of 35:54.87 to place fifth and narrowly miss joining Armstrong as the only other American ever to win multiple medals in the elite womenís time trial world championship.

After a breakthrough season in the international peloton this year and earning her start in Stuttgart as the 2007 Pan American Time Trial Champion, Powers finished with a time of 37:05.93 to finish 2:22.14 off the pace of Kupfernagel in her world championship debut.

With her third career world championship medal, Armstrong becomes one of only two Americans to win three or more world championship medals on the road, joining Greg LeMond who captured four road race medals in his career (gold in 1983 and í89 and silver in í82 and í85).

With her silver-medal performance on Wednesday, Armstrong also met the first automatic nomination standard for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. With only Saturdayís elite womenís road race left on the calendar for the 2007 season, Armstrong is already looking forward to an eventful 2008.

"Iím looking forward to going for it (world championship) again next year and also in Beijing" (at the Olympic Games), said Armstrong. "Iíve defended my national title for three years now and have been on the podium of the world championships for the last three years. As long as Iím healthy and injury-free, I feel pretty good about my shot."

Also racing on Wednesday were two American U23 competitors as Tejay Van Garderen and Nick Frey competed against 68 other athletes in a 38-kilometer race against the clock. A first-year U23 rider, Van Garderen, 19, was the top U.S. finisher in 38th place, 3:23.81 off the pace of winner Lars Boom. Also competing in his first world championships, Frey, 20, finished 57th, 5:06.39 down.

Van Garderen, an accomplished competitor in time trials whose accolades include a junior national title in 2006 and several top-ten efforts this season, expected a better performance on Wednesday. "Itís just disappointing because I know I have form right now," said Van Garderen after falling short of his ambitions. "I just did the Tour de líAvenir", a 10-day stage race, "and finished in the top 20 overall, so things were going really well. When I was pre-riding the course, it looked like it was actually a good one for me; a little bit technical, some climbs and a good solid downhill. One-day time trials are just weird. Everything has to come together and thereís just this thing where I donít feel like I have that power for one day. I feel like I need to race for three days first and then I could fly. Itís a little bit disappointing knowing the form is there, but thereís just something about a one-day time trial; I need to figure out how to do them."

Armstrong's performance gives the United States a medal in all six major UCI World Championship events this season and marked the 17th individual medal for Team USA in 2007. In January, Katie Compton, Jonathan Page and Daniel Summerhill all earned medals at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. In March, Sarah Hammer and Brad Huff claimed medals at the UCI Track World Championships. In July, Kyle Bennett, Randy Stumpfhauser, Danny Caluag and George Sowers took home medals from the UCI BMX World Championships. In August, Taylor Phinney and Jerika Hutchinson won medals at the UCI Junior Road and Track World Championships. In September, Brian Lopes, Jill Kintner, Melissa Buhl, John Swanguen and the Team Relay squad of Georgia Gould, Sam Schultz, Ethan Gilmour and Adam Craig captured medals at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.

The 2007 UCI Road World Championships continue on Thursday with the elite menís time trial. Americans Dave Zabriskie and Jason McCartney will represent the United States. Coming off his second consecutive USA Cycling national title earlier this month, Zabriskie will look to defend his silver medal from the 2006 world championships while McCartney looks to finish his season with another strong performance after winning a stage of the Vuelta a EspaŮa 11 days ago.

Satisfaction and disappointment for Canadians in Stuttgart

Anne Samplonius and David Veilleux were the top Canadians in Wednesdayís time trial races at the world championships in road cycling being held in Stuttgart, Germany.

Samplonius placed 15th clocking within two minutes and 02.92 seconds off the winning time posted by Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany. Veilleux was 34th in the menís under-23 race. He finished 3:03.50 seconds behind winner Lars Boom of the Netherlands.

Kris Westwood, high performance director for the Canadian Cycling Association, wasnít too disappointed that Samplonius didnít reach her top-10 goal. "Anne had a great race. She was in medal contention most of the way. The top-riders passed her at the end." A top-10 would have earned another spot for Canada at the Olympic Games.

"Iím a bit disappointed to not reach the top-10 but looking at the times I was close to my goal," said Samplonius. "If I would have been 10 or 20 seconds faster I would have been even closer."

"I had a very good second lap but I started too slowly and probably paid for it in the end. That may have been the difference between a top-10 and top-15. I know I have the capabilities to finish in the top-10."

Samplonius wasnít comfortable on the course. "We only trained for an hour on the course yesterday," she said. "If I would have been able to train a little bit longer it would have made a difference." "Usually you start slowly in a time trial. You donít want to go all out from the start," she continued. "But in this race thatís what I should have done in the first two kilometres because afterwards it was downhill for five kilometres."

"Itís little things like that that make the difference. I lost a lot of time in the first seven kilometres. At the first split I was far behind. Thatís where I made my biggest mistake," said Samplonius, who was 30th at that split. "I would have really liked to have been more familiar with the course. To ride it twice is not enough. It makes a difference in the first seven kilometres. Afterwards I had a good race," concluded the 39-year-old from Montreal.

Alex Wrubleski was 31st finishing 3:13.84 behind Kupfernagel. "Thatís pretty disappointing. She had a bad day," said Westwood.

"Iím satisfied with 34th place. I had a good clocking," said Veilleux who reached his goal to finish in the top half of the field He admitted to making a preparation error. "It was seven or eight degrees (Celsius). On the flats it was chilly. I should have put some warmer cream on my legs. When I arrived on the hills I had trouble adjusting to the gear changes."

"He had a good race," said Westwood. "He probably started too fast because he seemed tired at the end. But heís starting to have some solid performances in this event."

Veilleux didnít have trouble riding the bikes lent by the Gerolsteiner professional team after the Canadian bikes were stolen on Monday. "They were really good bikes. It didnít affect me in a negative way. It was a bit tiresome to change positions but it wasnít the end of the world."

The Cap-Rouge rider was 50th in the time trial at last yearís worlds in Salzburg, Austria. "Itís good to see improvement. Last year I was bothered by a sore back. This year I was a little sore but not as much. I still have two years riding in the Espoir division. I think I can improve even more."

Christian Meier, was 48th, four minutes off Boomís time. "On the first lap he felt limited. He never got untracked," said Westwood.

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