Saturday was a day for crashes and small bunch sprints at the World Road Championships in Belgium. After the dramatical end of the Junior Men RR in the morning (see link below) the afternoon was featured by the Elite Women's Road Race.
Just another ride ending in a small bunch sprint, and just one more race marred by too many crashes on the wet roads of Zolder. In the end Sweden's Susanne Ljungksog (ususally riding for the Aliverti-Kookai trade team) won the race in spectacular way, by outsprinting Nicole Br„ndli of Swtizerland, Joanne Somarriba (spain) and Aussie Sara Carrigan.
The Scandinavian, who won the first ever title on the road for her country, caught the leading trio only in the last metres of racing, at the end of a spectacular solo chasing effort she started when both Mirjam Melchers and Zinaida Stahurskaja (companions of the Swede in a small chasing bunch that formed during the last lap), fell on a descent, and easily beat the three to the finishing line. Swizerland's Bršndli added another second placing to her steadily growing collection, also featuring a silver medal in Wednesday's ITT.
Brandli, Carrigan and Somarriba had gone clear after attacking on the Bolderberg climb during the penultimate lap of the circuit, and gained up to 25" on the peloton.
Another rider from OZ, namely Alison Wright, ranked fifth ahead of Russian sprinter Olga Slioussareva. Deirdre Demet-Barry ranked 16th and was the best-placed American, while New Zealand's Melissa Holt took 19th and young Nicole Cooke from Wales finished in 35th place, just behind Aussies Rochelle Gilmore and Olivia Gollan.
The "Lithuanian Armada" was disappointing, with the first rider from the Baltic country finishing in the 14th spot (but this is a more than decent personal result for Zita Urbonaite); Jeannie Longo was 60th in the Final Classification.
But as I just wrote the race, partially held on wet roads, was marked by an impressive series of crashes, whose major victim was red hot favorite Petra Rossner of Germany, forced to pull out of competition.
Elite Womens Road Race
ELITE WOMEN'S ROAD RACE - FULL RESULTS
1. Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden) - 2h59'15"
2. Nicole Bršndli (Switzerland) - st
3. Joane Somarriba Arrola (Spain) - st
4. Sara Carrigan (Australia) - st
5. Alison Wright (Australia) - at 0.18"
6. Olga Slyusareva (Russia) - st
7. Magali Le Floch (France) - st
8. Arenda Grimberg (Holland) - st
9. Volha Hayeva (Belarus) - st
10. Sara Felloni (Italy) - st
11. Evy Van Damme (Belgium) - st
12. Heidi Van De Vijver (Belgium) - st
13. Regina Schleicher (Germany) - st
14. Zita Urbonaite (Lithuania) - st
15. Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Lithuania) - st
16. Deirdre Demet-Barry (USA) - st
17. Priska Doppmann (Switzerland) - st
18. Ioulia Martissova (Russia) - st
19. Melissa Holt (New Zealand) - at 0.23"
20. Iryna Chuzhynova (Ukraine) - st
21. Leontien Zijlaard - Van Moorsel (Holland) - at
22. Debby Mansveld (Holand) - st
23. Janildes Fernandes Silva (Brazil) - st
24. Sophie Creux (France) - st
25. Rasa Polikeviciute (Lithuania) - st
26. Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania) - at 0.27"
27. Veronique Belleter (Belgium) - st
28. Annette Beutler (Switzerland) - st
29. Zoulfia Zabirova (Russia) - st
30. Katia Longhin (Italy) - st
31. Marcia Eicher-Vouets (Switzerland) - st
32. Eneritz Iturriaga (Spain) - st
33. Rochelle Gilmore (Australia) - st
34. Olivia Gollan (Australia) - st
35. Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) - st
36. Cindy Pieters (Belgium) - st
37. Edita Kubelskiene (Lithuania) - st
38 Alessandra Cappellotto (Italy) - st
39. Sandrine Marcuz (France) - st
40. Svetlana Boubnenkova (Russia) - at 0.31"
41. Nataliya Kachalka (Ukraine) - st
42. Hayley Rutherford (Australia) - at 0.33"
43. Valentina Polkhanova (Russia) - st
44. Belem Guerrero Mendez (Mexico) - st
45. Judith Arndt (Germany) - st
46. Corine Hierckens (Belgium) - at 0.41"
47. Alessandra D'ettorre (Italy) - at 1.04"
48. Rosa Maria Bravo Soba (Spain) - st
49. Valentyna Karpenko (Ukraine) - st
50. Tetyana Andrushchenko (Ukraine) - st
51. Joanne Kiesanowski (New Zealand) - st
52. Laura Vangilder (USA) - st
53. Teodora Ruano Sanchon (Spain) - st
54. Anna Skawinska (Poland) - st
55. Isabella Wieser (Austria) - at
56. Kimberly Bruckner (USA) - st
57. Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) - st
58 Wenche Stensvold (Norway) - st
59. Arantzazu Azpiroz (Spain) - st
60. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) - st
61. Denise Baumann (Switzerland) - at 1.30"
62. Rachel Heal (Great Britain) - st
63. Shani Bloch (Israel) - st
64. Anita Valen (Norway) - at 1.43"
65. Anouska Van Der Zee (Holland) - at 1.49"
66. Emma James (Australia) - at 1.54"
67. Susan Palmer (Canada) - st
68 Frances Newstead (Great Britain) - at 2.02"
69 Lada Kozlikova (Czech Rep.) - st
70. Sissy Van Alebeek (Holland) - st
71. Monica Valen (Norway) - at 2.21"
72. Zinaida Stahurskaya (Belarus) - at 2.30"
73. Susan Carter (Great Britain) - at 3.25"
74. Jenny Algelid-Bengtsson (Sweden) - at 3.31"
75. Vanja Vonckx (Belgium) - at 4.07"
76.. Mirjam Melchers (Holland) - st
77. Virginie Moinard (France) - at 5.16
78. Sarah Grab (Switzerland) - at 6.49"
79. Anna Sipurzynska (Poland) - at 8.03"
80. Maria Luisa Calle (Colombia) - st
81. Mari Holden (USA) - st
82. Tina Mayolo (USA) - st
83. Sara Waller (Great Britain) - st
84. Vibe Janne Kolding (Denmark) - st
85. Evelyn Garcia (El Salvador) - at 11.55"
86. Kirsty Nicole Robb (New Zealand) - at 14.07"
87. Margaret Hemsley (Australia) - st
88. Zlatica Gavlakova (Slovakia) - st
89. Katy St Laurent (Canada) - at 15.45"
90. Olga Khortova (Russia) - at 19.05"