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DOHA, Qatar (VN) — It didn’t work out quite the way the American women’s team hoped in Doha Saturday as Danish sensation Amalie Dideriksen surprised the favorites to take the stripes — but it wasn’t for lack of trying that Team U.S.A. had to settle for a mere top-20 result.
Coryn Rivera, riding in her second elite world championship road race, was the highest-placed American on the leaderboard in 16th. After being led out by Carmen Small, the 24-year-old Rivera seemed to get caught in traffic and couldn’t open up her sprint. Dideriksen surged past Dutch pre-race favorite Kristin Wild on the finishing straight to take gold.
A strong American squad was active throughout the race, however, with recently crowned world time trial champion Amber Neben lighting things up with an attack a little over 40km to go.
“We wanted the podium today, but Coryn is so good. She’ll be back to get her chance again,” Neben said. “My move took the pressure off us so we could set up the sprint for Coryn. I knew I would get caught, and it was just about staying out there as long as possible. It worked, but it just didn’t come together in the finish.”
The Americans and Wild’s Dutch team were the most active in the hot, intense race around the Doha Pearl course. Neben said she was surprised no one followed her surge with about 45km left to race.
“I was hoping that one of the Dutchies would go with me. We went for it today,” said Neben, who won her second world time trial title Tuesday. “It was cooler today than the time trial. I think I did a good job preparing before coming in. You could feel the heat just sucking the power out of everyone.”
In fact, Wild said the Dutch team’s tactic was to try to blow up the peloton, and use their strength in numbers to out-gun their rivals. No one would let the Dutch team ride away, and when Neben attacked, none of the Dutch riders followed right away — but a strong tempo in the pack eventually saw Neben pulled back.
In the end, Wild couldn’t fend off two-time junior world champion Dideriksen.