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2011 UCI Road World Championships - Elite Women's Road Race
By Staff
Date: 9/24/2011
2011 UCI Road World Championships - Elite Women's Road Race

2011 UCI Road World Championships - Elite Women Road Race & Photos
Italian Giorgio Bronzini wins back to back World Road Championships as the race comes down to a mass sprint finish...

19 -25 September 2011

All the action of the women's 140 kilometer world Road Race would be compressed into the final three laps with several unsuccessful solo attacks that went no where; an over 30 km solo flyer that ended with 5 km to go and a photo finish of the mass sprint that would decide the winner.

Bronzini nips Vos on the line.  Photo © 2011  Fotoreporter Sirotti

Italian Giorgio Bronzini nipped The Netherland's Marianne Vos by less than half a wheel to take her second consecutive gold medal and rainbow jersey. The very fast Ina Teutenberg of Germany took an uncharacteristic third to claim the bronze medal at a bike length on the uphill sprint in Rudersdal, Denmark.

Great Britain's Nicole Cooke led the peloton of sixty riders to take 4th as she did last year; and Julia Martisova of Russia filled out the top 5 honor roll.

For a visibly frustrated Marianne Vos it was her fifth consecutive silver medal, a record for the event. Now 5 silver medals is proof of strength, speed and consistency; all good; but one Vos would have quickly traded for a gold medal today.

After Race Press conference comments..
Gold medal winner, Giorgia Bronzini surpised...

I am a little surprised with this win as early on in the race I did not believe that it would end in a sprint. With three laps to go we sent a team mate to make the race hard and in the end I asked my team mate Monia Baccaille to open a hard and early sprint for me.

Giorgio celebrates her second consecutive World's victory. Photo © 2011  Fotoreporter Sirotti

We were never really worried about Clara Hughes’ break away on the last laps, as I knew that the other teams also were interested in a sprint and that we would bring her back ultimately.

This second World Championship win is certainly the one that feels the best. Last year’s win was such a big surprise: I had started with no pressure and was working for the others early in the race. I was “just” the sprinter if it came down to that. This time around there was much more pressure, the whole team was working for me so I really had to deliver.

Silver medalist, Marianne Vos, on the finish...
Was a perfect race for us, we knew it was going to be fast and hard to get away, we tried to stay in front with the whole team and stay prepared for a sprint. They placed me perfectly with 150 meters to go but I waited a little and that was a big mistake. I do not know if I was stronger than Giorgia, but one thing is certain: she was better than me.

Bronze medalist Ina-Yoko Teutenberg on her first World's podium...
This is my first podium, well it is the first time that I even finish a World Championship! I came to win but was not strong enough, that is quite clear. Maybe I started the sprint a little bit early, but these two girls were several bike lengths ahead of me. I am disappointed that I did not get the jersey, but I am still happy with my medal.

The team looked after me the whole day, just as the other teams also did for their captains. In the end of the race we tried to confuse the Dutch train in the end and to get Marianne Vos out in the wind, as she has been unbeatable all year.

The race was not without suspense as commentators around the world tried to explain why the peloton was still together after 105 kilometers looking more like a club ride than a bike fight....  the main debate being why the attempts hadn't happened yet and when they did they had less conviction and commitment  than Charlie Harper of the TV sitcom Two and a Half Men considering a long term relationship. Attacks came and went but none could stick or would...

Emma Pooley attacks early in the race Photo © 2011 Bart Hazen 

Those few attacks that got an advantage found little help or others that shared their vision of outfoxing the sprinters to the finish... or for that matter making it hard for the sprinters or thinning the herd for the finish....  it then became a guessing game  for the commentators trying to predict when such a revelation might occur. Actually there seemed to be more action at the back of the race as riders freaked waiting for wheel changes; no problem though the peloton was going no where fast and most would easily make it back on with out too much effort during most of the race.

The parcours, determines tactics and it was clear that most teams expected the race to come down to a sprint and were willing to wait it out... well except for some. Italy's Noemi Cantele tested the peloton's legs and the chase split the peloton but nothing came of it.

The bunch led by Australia, Sweden and Germany    Photo © 2011 Bart Hazen 

Hats off to Amber Neben who attacked thrice each time small accelerations out of the peloton pacing her... each time she would look back to anyone would like to join her... sigh and a yawn, there were none.

Clara Hughes of Canada you could say saved the day attacking with about 36 km to go...  Clara opened a maximum gap of 45 seconds over the next two and a half laps. With 1.5 laps to go Germany's Charlotte Becker attacked and opened a gap but it was over almost as fast as it started. 

Clara Hughes animated the last two laps with a determined escape. Photo © 2011  Fotoreporter Sirotti

Villumsen (New Zealand) gave it a stab to bridge to the Canadian... it was too late and an Italian rider was sent out to hug her wheel. The chase for the duo closed the gap to 38 seconds Hughes started the final 14 kilometer lap.Hughes fought back, out of the saddle on the hill pushing the gap to 40 seconds.... there was no organized chase just Italians, Belgians and others coming forward and pushing the pace.

Emma Johansson attacked, the resulting chase took the gap to Hughes to 27 seconds as the peloton stretched out briefly and then regrouped. Hughes pressed on and opened the gap to 30 seconds.... this time the Italian team got to work closing the gap. With 6 km to go Hughes was in sight of the peloton with 17 seconds... she fought on committed to her flight.

The courageous Canadian had 15 seconds with 4.5 km to go. The blood was in the water now as the mob started fighting for positions for their sprint trains, the orange of the Netherlands on the right, the Azzurri in the center, Germans on the Italians wheels with Denmark and Great Britain moving up. 

Hughes effort ended with about 4 km to go; kudos Clara! Immediately a Belgian attacked up the right side of the road as Marianne Vos' team and the Italians reacted and the peloton surged forward to the finish.

With 3 km to go the crash took out abut ten riders in the middle of the pack; sadly for Villumsen and others it would put paid to their chances for a good result.

Italy leads the chase for Clara Hughes  Photo © 2011 Bart Hazen 

The Dutch team took the lead 4 orange clad riders racing in towards the final reckoning on the climb to the finish on Goats Hill. up the hill orange riders on the right, the blue of the Italian alongside with the Germans third.

200 meters to go one of the leading out Vos hit her limit, the pain on her face and was almost palpable as she ran out of gas and faltered. Vos had to come around the rider on the right and start her sprint. Bronzini jumped to catch Vos... she slowly closed the gap.... coming along side Vos, the Italian and Dutch riders matched each other pedal for pedal to the finish with Vos having the edge, outdistancing their rivals.

In the final meter Bronzini edged past Vos to take the win by less than an inch to repeat her win of 2010.

Over the line Bronzini celebrated.  Vos pounded her handlebars with both fists in frustration that even another silver medal could not make right; knowing she  missed her target for the fifth time by the smallest margin. Teutenberg followed in the two riders wake to take bronze.

Agony and Ecstasy. Vos reacts to being nipped on the line by an inch as Bronzini celebrates.
Photo © 2011  Fotoreporter Sirotti

Marianne Vos can console herself with her collection of world and national championships jerseys and gold medals on track, cyclocross, World Cup and her 2006 rainbow jersey for the road race in 2006 until next year in Limburg where she will have another chance to win her second road championship.

Tomorrow the final race with the Elite Men over 266 kilometers.... will it end in a mass sprint as both of today's races did? Or will an elite group of survivors arrive at the finish to decide the result? If so they will have to make the race hard on the sprinters early  to eliminate them before the finale in the closing 5 laps of the race. Its an uphill finish but not the steep or long as climbs that favor Philippe Gilbert and others who can explode up the climb leaving the sprint specialists behind... it should be a battle to keep it together for a mass sprint finish; not a given. We could see a much different race than those we saw  today and yesterday.

UCI Road World Championships
        Elite Women R.R. Results

140 km -  3:21:28 - 41.694 km/h
1 1 Bronzini Giorgia Italy - 3:21:28
2 14 Vos Marianne The Netherlands - 0:00
3 21 Teutenberg Ina Germany - 0:00

4 32 Cooke Nicole Great Britain - 0:00
5 41 Martisova Julia Russia - 0:00

6 57 Hosking Chloe Australia - 0:00
7 30 Armitstead Elizabeth Great Britain - 0:00
8 52 Henrion Ludivine Belgium - 0:00
9 78 Leleivyte Rasa Lithuania - 0:00
10 69 Biannic Aude France - 0:00
11 38 Bubnenkova Svetlana Russia - 0:00
12 64 Numainville Joelle Canada - 0:00
13 108 Nöstvold Lise Norway - 0:00
14 24 Johansson Emma Sweden - 0:00
15 54 Verbeke Grace Belgium - 0:00
16 40 Kozonchuk Oxana Russia - 0:00
17 63 Kirchmann Leah Canada - 0:00
18 43 Cliff-Ryan Theresa United States of America - 0:00
19 101 Brzezna Paulina Poland - 0:00
20 23 Fahlin Emilia Sweden - 0:00
Complete Elite Women's Race Results & Photos

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