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Brittany meets Sweden in Belgium
By Anita van Crey
Date: 10/12/2002
Brittany meets Sweden in Belgium

The first tones of the Swedish national anthem and down went the tears. With wetter than wet eyes an overjoyed Susanne Ljungskog listen to the music, trying to find a familiar face in the crowds on the stands opposite to the podium. On the podium she is sided by two of the three attackers she caught, Swiss Nicole Braendli and Spanish Joanna Somarriba. Braendli in the break thought she had agood chance in win another medal, did not like it at all that the Swedish girl caught them so close to so eagered chalkline.: "I recovered well after the timetrial. Sure I am happy with this second silver medal and yes two times gold would have been even more great. But when I saw Susanne join us I knew my chances diminished. This course just is not one that I favour." A big and loud smile enroles on the Swiss face after being asked what made her not win the gold. "Strenght, pure strenght is what I did not have enough to beat Ljungskog. I knew Somarriba is no sprinter either, just like me and I was confident I could beat her." Somarriba too did not like to see Susanna join them. "Normally in a sprint with four I am the one who finishes fourth. So now winning here this bronze medal makes me very happy."


Ljungskog has to think hard, has to re-think, has to think over and over again....and no she can not remember anymore what she already won this year. "I finished second in the Tour de France, that I remember. There are more wins, but right now I just can't remember them. I was having a good day. This course it is not my course at all. But I had great legs, so I guess than it does not matter if it suits you or not. You just win. In the last tour there was this very good trio that went away, with Braendli, Somarriba and that Australian woman. In a curve I felt Mirjam Melchers touched my rear wheel with hers and fell down. I heard the crash and just took off. Caught the leaders at 800, no 500 or less metres from the finishline. Started sprinting at 200 metres and beat them all. What team I will be riding for next year, I still donīt know if I will stay with Vlaanderen." And off she is to the next interview.


With loosing one medal yesterday, the Rabobank today won one. Finnish Jukka Vastaranta is one of the appreciated forces in the Dutch juniorsteam. "Yes, this is the first ever medal Finland wins at a World Championship cycling. The sprint for me did not go very well, I went from the left side to the right. The finishline just was a little bit to far away for me to win." Australian Nicolas Sanderson climbed the podium when his teammate Ryan Sullivan on the finishline was treated for the wounds he suffered. He was taken to the hospital in Hasselt to let the big cuts between his eyes and near his mouth had to be stiched. He also broke his nose, a correction by a specialist in the hospital was required. Eventhough the fall looked worse, he did not break any bones and leaves the hospital later today. Sanderson tells: "The collaboration in the escapeegroup was no good. I knew I had to watch the Frenchy. In the end all turned out well in a medal." Watching the way they competed you seem to forget how young some of these riders are. A comment gets you straight away back with both age-feet on the ground: "I allmost skipped all my time at school and just raced and raced and trained for this event."


Coming from a real cycling family French Arnaud Gerard is the first to win gold. "I know I am the first world champion that comes from the French region of Brittany since Bernard Hinault. Right now I am still a student. No, I do not realise yet I am a world champion too, I think that will come in a day or so. There were a lot of crashes, often caused by tripping over the feet of the barriers. That is why i rode my race as much in the front as I could do. Sprinting is not my speciality though, I just gave everything. And in return now I received the gold medal and the rainbow jersey. I turned eighteen at the sixth of October, am racing for six years now. Joined a club with good and many juniors some years ago. Why I started racing? Well, my family is all about racing, my dad raced on a national level and I have a nephew who no is a professional cyclist with Credit Agricole. His name is Cedric Herve." The man from Oz feared and watched the Frenchy, a deja-vu which turned out plain hard medal truth on the podium in Zolder.

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