The Zolder World Road Championship started with an all-Italian showdown. After a 3-year absence, Italy was back to the top of the podium with a sensational 1-2 in the Junior Women's ITT, courtesy of Anna Zugno who scored a winning time of 15'54"21 and National Champion Tatiana Guderzo, who covered the route in 16'00"75. Behind the Italian girls came two Germans: Claudia Hect took the bronze medal, less then one second behind Guderzo, while Luise Keller was fourth-placed with a time of 16'12" 54.
So the World Championships began the way many think they will also end: with a duel between Italy and Germany. On Sunday it might be Cipo and Petacchi vs. Zabel, on Tuesday it was Zugno and Guderzo vs. Hecht and Kelle. And the first round went to the "Squadra Azzurra".
As for riders from English-speaking countries, a good result for American Larssyn Staley as well as Aussie Sally Cowman. Both got into the final TOP 10, while their respective compatriots Alexis Rhodes (Aus) and Magne Long (USA) just finished outside. Canada's Leblanc has the name(in common) with more famous fellow Quebecer Jeanson, but seemingly not the legs. No riders competing for Britain instead: Nicole Cooke's times are just a memory of the past in this category.
While the race's best protagonists were Italian and German girls, the worst one was definitely the route. In particular a turn to right coming just after the start, a dangerous turn where more than one girl hit the asphalt. Among the "victims" ere Latvia's Inese Paegleskalne, China's Fu Shimei, and Mexico's Monica Huerta Barron, with the Latin-American tumbling down in a "spectacular" way.
Luckily none of them had serious consequences, apart from losing all of their (slim) chances of a good result, but one may start questioning the organizers about how appropriate was to make (mostly unexperienced) teens tackle such a route ...
JUNIOR WOMEN'S TIME TRIAL - FULL RESULTS :
1. Anna Zugno (Italy) - 15'54"21
2. Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) - at 6"54
3. Claudia Hecht (Germany) - at 7"21
4. Luise Keller (Germany) - at 18"33
5. Christa Pirard (Holland) - at 18"67
6. Larssyn Staley (USA) - at 19"98
7. Sally Cowman (Australia) - at 21"63
8. Grace Verbeke (Belgium) - at 24"60
9. Miranda Vierling (Holland) - at 36"29
10. Petra Bublova (Czech Rep.) - at 41"35
11. Alexis Rhodes (Australia) - at 44"59
12. Magen Long (USA) - at 51"60
13. Isabelle Hoffman (Luxembourg) - at 51"91
14. Paulina Fiuk (Poland) - at 53"24
15. Tatsiana Sharakova (Belarus) - at 54"13
16. Naiara Telletxea Lopez (Spain) - at 54"28
17. Vicky Fournial (France) - at 56"80
18. Monica Holler (Sweden) - at 57"63
19. Sara Peeters (Belgium) - at 57"82
20. Laura Telle (Latvia) - at 1'05"79
21. Elena Andreeva (Russia) - at 1'06"59
22. Audrey Lemieux (Canada) - at 1'10"86
23. Genevieve Leblanc (Canada) - at 1'12"24
24. Milda Galdikaite (Lithuania) - at 1'12"67
25. Magdalena Zamolska (Poland) - at 1'14"08
26. Svetlana Pauliukaite (Lithuania) - at 1'16"02
27. Judith Baumann (Switzerland) - at 1'18"07
28. Sergeeva Svetlana (Russia) - at 1'18"22
29. Carolina Asplund (Sweden) - at 1'19"75
30. Dianne Emery (South Africa) - at 1'19"88
31. Kateryna Burova (Ukraine) - at 1'23"59
32. Laura Juliana Castro Gomez (Colombia) - at 1'28"31
33. Lore Txurruka Ansola (Spain) - at 1'29"79
34. Bernadette Schober (Austria) - at 1'31"79
35. Fu Shimei (China) - at 1'32"77
36. Monika Furrer (Switzerland) - at 1'35"17
37. Halina Asipenka (Belarus) - at 1'47"52
38. Christine Myhre (Norway) - at 1'52"04
39. Iryna Shpylyova (Ukraine) - at 2'10"82
40. Inese Paegleskalne (Latvia) - at 2'48"05
41. Monica Haydee Huerta Barron (Mexico) - at 3'00"92
Winner's interview: 18-year-old Anna Zugno (born on April the 30th, 1984) broke into tears after crossing the line and even ten minutes later, when interviewed on TV, she could barely hide the emotion for winning the title. The girl from the Lombardia region of northern Italy said "I still can't believe it. I came here only to do a good race. I was getting into good form after an unfortunate first part of the season marked by crashes and injuries. But as for winning ... well, still is something hard to believe. I gave everything during the race, and I'm so happy now".
"Tatiana (Guderzo, silver gold in the race behind Zugno) is the reigning Italian Champion. She had a good result too, and I'm very happy for her. I know that wactching me set a better time than hers might have been a disppointment to Tatiana, but she was so happy anyway; happy for her result and mine too. She is aware of all the difficulties we both have had all over the season".
"I know that when you win, it's easy to say the route was a good one, but actually it's true that I started having some good sensations yesterday while testing it. And I felt my legs were good too. Probably I also made some mistakes during the ride, mistook some turns as the course, although predominantly flat, wasn't easy at all. But a very good route anyway".
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