Posted by Editoress on 09/26/09
Canadian Erinne Willock finished a career-high seventh in the 124.2 kilometre women's road race on Saturday at the Road World Championships. Willock finished in a group sprinting for fifth place, one minute and seven seconds behind Tatiana Guderzo of Italy. Marianne Vos of the Netherlands took the silver medal and Noemi Cantele the bronze. Tara Whitten was Canada's only other finisher, in 40th place. In the Under-23 Men's 179.4 kilometre race, David Veilleux was Canada's only finisher, in 62nd place, 9:32 behind winner Romain Sicard of France.
Coverage of the 2009 World Championships made possible with the support of Shimano
The women's nine lap race was one of attrition, with Willock consistently staying near the front of the field as it was whittled down. In the final kilometres, Willock tried to attack the group she was with, but was chased down, setting the stage for a sprint finish for fifth, with Willock third in the group.
"It was a great ride for me, I'm super pleased," commented Willock. "I was really struggling on the first steep climb each lap, but was able to hang on as the group got smaller and smaller. The second climb was better for me. But the course and the way it was raced today suited me; it was full throttle, hard all day. I tried something in the final kilometres, but they were on me right away." (See our video interview below)
The women's race started with wet roads, and on the tricky descent after the first of the two climbs the riders faced each lap a number of riders crashed, including defending champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain), who later abandoned.
Germany's Ina Teutenberg tried to stir things up in the first few laps, but no one was biting, and the field began to lose riders as the pace gradually picked up. Julie Beveridge and Alison Testroete were the first to drop back and out of the race, followed by Heather Logan. Joelle Numainville was struggling to stay on, but eventually was dropped on the fifth lap.
Tara Whitten was being dropped on the climbs and then powering back up to rejoin the bunch by the end of each lap until the sixth, when she was dropped for good.
The Americans were setting a hard tempo, led by newcomer Evelyn Stevens, who was working for time trial world champion Kristin Armstrong. Judith Arndt (Germany) attacked on lap six, shattering the field, but it all came back together by the end of the lap.
It was on lap seven, with less than 50 kilometres remaining that the decisive moves began to happen. Cantele, the silver medalist in the time trial, launched an attack, gaining 20 seconds. Armstrong and Brit Emma Pooley led a select group across, including Willock, but the group was down to 20 with under two laps remaining.
After Cantele was caught and the group sat up, Guderzo launched a perfectly timed counter attack. Armstrong reacted, as did Vos, with Cantele marking them. Armstrong did the early chasing, but then forced Vos to help. However, the pair were making no dent in Guderzo's lead, and the Italian cruised in with 19 seconds to spare for the world title. Women's results
The men were racing 13 laps, so there was no real hurry to light things up. A group of four formed over the first lap and a half, but never made much headway, and the peloton was back together by the end of the second lap.
On lap three the first serious effort to get away succeeded when Austrian Martin Schöffmann got away solo, and by lap five nearly 90 seconds in hand. Riders were going off the back of the bunch in trickles at this point.
It was on lap five that four riders bridged up to Schöffmann - David Veilleux (Canada), Michael Matthews (Australia), Nico Keinath (Germany) and the rider wearing #1, Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Colombia).
This was a more serious effort, and the group went more than two minutes clear by the seventh lap, as the Australians and Germans set tempo at the front of the peloton, subtly helping the break. The Italians finally decided that they had had enough, and sent two riders to the front on lap nine, with the break pulled back by the start of the next lap, with four laps to go. That was it for Veilleux, and he gradually slipped off the back as the pace went ever higher.
"When I started the race, I didn't feel really good, "admitted Veilleux. "it was pretty quiet at beginning. I saw some guys attack over the first climb, so I thought it was my chance. I just tried something to try and be there for when the other riders caught us at the end. It's a really hard course, not really anywhere to recover."
"The TT was my real objective, and I'm really satisfied with my tenth place there. I knew that I probably couldn't do too much in the road race, but I wanted to try, and I did my best." (See video interview below)
Attacks were made in both the 11th and 12th lap, with the first of five riders being chased down, but the second with only two - Sicard and Michel Kreder (Netherlands) - slowly opening up a few seconds for the start of the final lap. The pair were assisted by no one taking charge of the chase, and opened up a gap 30 seconds on the first climb, with Sicard then attacking and getting away on his own. Kerder was absorbed by a chase group, from which two riders went clear - Betancur Gomez Carlos Alberto (Colombia) and Egor Silin (Russian Federation). This pair would stay away to take second and third behind Sicard. Full results
Erinne Willock Interview:
David Veilleux Interview:
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