DOHA, Qatar (AFP) — The team time trial is the only chance for trade teams to fly their colors at the road world championships, and this season’s most successful women’s team took full advantage of that opportunity Sunday in Doha, Qatar. In the final race of American Evelyn Stevens’ career, Boels – Dolmans powered to a convincing victory in the 40-kilometer race, 48 seconds ahead of runner-up Canyon – Sram, the successor squad to 2014 and 2015 champion Velocio – Sram.
Cervélo – Bigla claimed the bronze medal, 1:57 down.
Though the parcours was pancake-flat, high temperatures in Doha made for a challenging day on the bike, with several riders cracking in the heat. Boels and Cervélo both rode the course finale with the just minimum contingent of four riders. Rabobank – Liv fared far worse. Seemingly suffering from heat exhaustion, Anouska Koster lost concentration and crashed into the barriers when the team was already down to four riders, essentially ending the would-be contenders’ shot at a medal.
With most of the race favorites in the latter half of the start order, the lead changed hands several times over the course of the afternoon. Cérvelo – Bigla surged into the hot seat upon crossing the finish line nearly a minute ahead of Twenty16 – Ridebiker, but the Switzerland-based squad would see its advantage overhauled by an even greater margin before long.
Losing Koster put Rabo – Liv out of contention, with only three of the minimum of four riders coming to the finish together and Koster several minutes back, but Canyon – Sram and Boels – Dolmans stayed well-organized even when the heat saw both teams reduced to four well before the line.
Canyon – Sram enjoyed a brief early advantage of provisional times, setting a faster mark at the first time check, but Boels quickly began to pull away thereafter. Boels hit the line first with a time of 48:41, nearly two minutes ahead of Cervélo, to surge into the provisional lead. Unable to match that time, Canyon – Sram settled for second, with Cervélo – Bigla dropping to third.
It was a sweet swan song for Stevens, 33, who was also part of winning teams in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
“I came into this season knowing this was my last race, it’s nice to have a goal and it makes it very special to win,” she said.
- 1. Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam, in 48:41.62
- 2. Canyon Sram Racing, at 48.24
- 3. Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team, at 1:56.47
- 4. Bepink, at 2:46.03
- 5. Twenty16 – Ridebiker, at 2:46.73
- 6. Hitec Products, at 3:23.52
- 7. Btc City Ljubljana, at 3:43.10
- 8. Raboliv Womencyclingteam, at 6:03.33