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Italy’s Guderzo wins women’s road title

Kristin Armstrong’s farewell race ended with an exclamation point as she powered into the winning, four-rider move in Saturday’s elite women’s road race. Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) – a bronze medalist in the road in the Beijing Olympic Summer Games – attacked on the final lap and soloed to victory 19 seconds clear of a three-rider chase group featuring Armstrong in the 124km race under cloudy skies in Mendrisio.

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Armstrong fourth in women’s road race

By Andrew Hood

World Women's Road Championship: Tatiana Guderzo scores a win for Italy.

World Women’s Road Championship: Tatiana Guderzo scores a win for Italy.

Photo: Graham Watson

Kristin Armstrong’s farewell race ended with an exclamation point as she powered into the winning, four-rider move in Saturday’s elite women’s road race.

Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) – a bronze medalist in the road in the Beijing Olympic Summer Games – attacked on the final lap and soloed to victory 19 seconds clear of a three-rider chase group featuring Armstrong in the 124km race under cloudy skies in Mendrisio.

“After the Olympics, I have come back to realize my dream,” Guderzo said. “There were two of us in the final group of four. When I attacked, I believed I could win. Thanks to the team who helped me so much. This medal needs to be divided by six.”

A winner of the gold medal in the women’s time trial Wednesday, Armstrong didn’t quite have the kick in a three-up sprint to claim a medal and took fourth in her final race of her career.

World Women's Road Championship: Cantele was more than happy to leave chasing duties to Armstrong and Vos.

World Women’s Road Championship: Cantele was more than happy to leave chasing duties to Armstrong and Vos.

Photo: Graham Watson

“I am pleased with my performance, but it was the wrong kind of situation to be in,” Armstrong said. “I tried to get away on the last climb, but it flattened out. I tried in the sprint, but I knew it would be difficult. We’re pleased because this is one of the best results in a long time for the women’s team.”

The fourth-place capped a strong performance by the U.S. women’s team, who put three riders into the top 20. Evelyn Stevens was 15th in a group at 1:07 back and Mara Abbott was 18th at 4:51.

Marianne Vos (Holland), the 2006 world champion, sprinted to her third consecutive worlds silver medal and Noemi Cantele (Italy), silver medalist in Wednesday’s TT, hung on for bronze.

Amber Neben, one of the top options for the U.S. squad, crashed out early and did not finish.

Breakthrough for Guderzo
Guderzo has been one of the most consistent riders in international competition, yet had never won a major title. Once she hit the final climb, her 20-second gap was more than enough to carry her to the rainbow jersey.

“Today was something like a dream. We demonstrated from the first lap that we were going to control the race,” Guderzo said. “I was strong, and so was Noemi, so the key was to be at the front in the final lap. We agreed that we would work for the one that was feeling better. She tried, then I went, and I was the lucky one.”

It wasn’t a great day for everyone. Reigning Olympic champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) abandoned five laps into the nine-lap race.

World Women's Road Championship: Defending world champion Nicole Cooke finds herself in trouble.

World Women’s Road Championship: Defending world champion Nicole Cooke finds herself in trouble.

Photo: Graham Watson

With the Italians controlling an early breakaway, a group 20 riders pulled clear with two laps to go. The U.S. team was well-represented within the elite group, placing Armstrong, Mara Abbott and Evelyn Stevens.

The Italians – with their fingernails painted blue of the Italian national team color – were active throughout the race and Cantele opened up a 20-second gap after attacking on a downhill, putting pressure on the other teams to neutralize the potentially dangerous dig with one and a half laps to go.

“The first climb is steep, but it’s not very long. The descent is quite technical and there’s not a lot of time to recover,” Cantele said. “There is almost no time to eat on the course. It’s very important to be on the front, especially on the downhill.”

World Women's Road Championship: Cantele leads on a steep and technical descent.

World Women’s Road Championship: Cantele leads on a steep and technical descent.

Photo: Graham Watson

Judith Arndt (Germany) and Emma Pooley (Great Britain) accelerated on the second climb, but the Americans helped cover the moves. Cantele tried yet again, with Vos and Armstrong marking her wheel, but it all came back together with about a baker’s dozen hanging on for the bell lap.

Nicole Brandli (Switzerland) took a dig on the Acqua Fresca climb, the first of two climbs featured on each lap, but it was Guderzo who made the winning move near the top of the climb.

At 5-foot-3, she’s a spindly climber, but also has a strong track record in time trialing, winning two Italian national TT titles since 2005. She powered away from the leading chasers and the 25-year-old Guderzo opened up a promising 10-second lead.

Cantele was obviously sitting in, leaving the work of trying to reel in the attack to Armstrong and Vos.

Vos has a strong finishing kick, but she knew that she and Armstrong were out-numbered by the Italians.

“Italy was very strong, when we came up in the last lap with four, and two Italians were there, I knew it would be difficult to win,” Vos said. “They would attack one by one. Tatiana attacked so strong and she held it so long.”

Photo Gallery

Results

World Championship Road Race – Women


1. Tatiana Guderzo, Italy, 124.2km in 3:33:25 (34.917kph)
2. Marianne Vos, Netherlands, at 0:19
3. Noemi Cantele, Italy, at 0:19
4. Kristin Armstrong, U.S.A., at 0:19
5. Diana Ziliute, Lithuania, at 1:07
6. Judith Arndt, Germany, at 1:07
7. Erinne Willock, Canada, at 1:07
8. Nicole Brändli, Switzerland, at 1:07
9. Grace Verbeke, Belgium, at 1:07
10. Catherine Cheatley, New Zealand, at 1:07
11. Emma Johansson, Sweden, at 1:07
12. Ruth Corset, Australia, at 1:07
13. Edita Pucinskaite, Lithuania, at 1:07
14. Emma Pooley, Great Britain, at 1:07
15. Evelyn Stevens, U.S.A., at 1:07
16. Linda Melanie Villumsen, Denmark, at 3:02
17. Paulina Brzezna, Poland, at 3:31
18. Mara Abbott, U.S.A., at 4:51
19. Claudia Häusler, Germany, at 5:51
20. Ana Garcia Antequera, Spain, at 5:54
21. Andrea Bosman, Netherlands, at 6:54
22. Ludivine Henrion, Belgium, at 6:54
23. Chantal Blaak, Netherlands, at 6:54
24. Julia Martisova, Russian Federation, at 6:54
25. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau, France, at 6:54
26. Edwige Pitel, France, at 6:54
27. Elizabeth Armitstead, Great Britain, at 6:54
28. Sharon Laws, Great Britain, at 6:54
29. Trixi Worrack, Germany, at 6:54
30. Fabiana Luperini, Italy, at 6:54
31. Karine Gautard-Roussel, France, at 9:52
32. Rasa Leleivyte, Lithuania, at 10:11
33. Kaytee Boyd, New Zealand, at 10:11
34. Carla Swart, South Africa, at 10:11
35. Sophie Creux, France, at 10:11
36. Monika Grzebinoga, Poland, at 10:11
37. Marissa Van Der Merwe, South Africa, at 10:11
38. Verónica Leal Balderas, Mexico, at 10:11
39. Christiane Soeder, Austria, at 10:11
40. Tara Whitten, Canada, at 10:11
41. Olena Oliinyk, Ukraine, at 10:11
42. Regina Bruins, Netherlands, at 10:13
43. Irene Van Den Broek, Netherlands, at 10:13
44. Julie Krasniak, France, at 10:13
45. Loes Gunnewijk, Netherlands, at 10:13
46. Monia Baccaille, Italy, at 10:18
47. Luisa Tamanini, Italy, at 10:18
48. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, France, at 12:09
49. Oxana Kozonchuk, Russian Federation, at 12:46
50. Eivgenia Vysotska, Ukraine, at 12:46
51. Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet, Mexico, at 12:46
52. Tiffany Cromwell, Australia, at 12:46
53. Alona Andruk, Ukraine, at 12:46
54. Patricia Schwager, Switzerland, at 12:46
55. Lieselot Decroix, Belgium, at 12:46
56. Daniela Pintarelli, Austria, at 13:02