An American won the women’s time trial at the World Championships but to the surprise of many it was not Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong who took the gold medal but her team-mate Amber Neben.
Neben scorched round the 25.15km course to stop the clock in a time of 33-51. She finished seven seconds faster than Christiane Soeder of Austria, the only other rider to break the 34-minute barrier. Germany’s Judith Arndt was third at 21 seconds.
Armstrong was the huge favourite to win but lost time on the climb in the first six kilometres and never got it back, finishing outside the medals in fifth place.
Britain’s Emma Pooley, silver medallist at the Olympic Games last month, was eighth, just as she was last year in Stuttgart. The other British rider, Sharon Laws, was 19th in her first world championships.
Neben spent a long time in the leader?s hot seat as the big favourites tried and failed to beat her time. When last rider Armstrong crossed the line in a slower time, she began to celebrate with tears rolling down her face after pulling on the rainbow jersey.
?I don?t know what to say, I?m so excited, so happy, I honestly can?t speak now. It?s a dream come true,? Neben said.
?There were 13 riders behind me so I knew the only way to have chance was to have to the best time when I finished. I got first position and had to sit there, and with no TV I didn?t have a good feeling of what was going on in splits. I knew who had to come in and so you?re not going to get too excited until the big names have finished. I was just hoping and praying.?
Her prayers were answered as the other riders all failed to beat her time and she was given the rainbow jersey and the Star Spangled Banner rang out across Varese.
On Thursday it is time for the Elite men?s time trial with hopes that God Save the Queen will also be heard after a British success.
Photos by Graham Watson
1. Amber Neben (USA) 33min 51sec
2. Christiane Soeder (Austria) 33min 58sec
3. Judith Arndt (Germany) 34min 13sec
4. Tatiana Antoshina (Russia) 34min 14sec
5. Kristin Armstrong (USA) 34mins 16sec
6. Karin Thürig (Switzerland) 34min 21sec
7. Susanne Ljungskog (Sweden) 34min 48sec
8. Emma Pooley (Great Britain) 34min 48sec
9. Charlotte Becker (Germany) 34min 54sec
10. Linda Villumsen (Denmark) 34min 56sec
11. Anne Samplonius (Canada) 34min 59sec
12. Christine Thorburn (USA) 35min 08sec
13. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) 35min 11sec
14. Emma Johansson (Sweden) 35min 17sec
15. Diana Ziliute (Lithuania) 35min 27sec
16. Vicki Whitelaw (Australia) 35min 27sec
17. Julie Beveridge (Canada) 35min 44sec
18. Martina Ruzickova (Czech Republic) 35min 53sec
19. Sharon Laws (Great Britain) 35min 54sec
20. Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands)
21. Regina Bruins (Netherlands) 36min 05sec
22. Pascale Schnider (Switzerland) 36min 06sec
23. Bridie O’Donnell (Australia) 36min 08sec
24. Alexis Rhodes (Australia) 36mins 12sec
25. Kirsten Wild (Netherlands) 36mins 18sec
26. Edwige Pitel (France) 36min 28sec
27. Grete Treier (Estonia) 36min 31sec
28. An Van Rie (Belgium) 36min 41sec
29. Jarmila Machacova (Czech Republic) 36min 37sec
30. Marta Viajosana (Spain) 36min 43sec
31. Trine Schmidt (Germany) 36min 50sec
32. Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria Mazaga (Spain) 36min 55sec
33. Alexandra Burchenkova (Russia) 37min 06sec
34. Daiva Tuslaite (Lithuania) 37min 11sec
35. Anna Zugno (Italy) 37min 32sec
36. Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan) 37min 22sec
37. Elena Berlato (Italy) 37min 46min
38. Bogumila Matusiak (Poland) 38min 13sec
39. Olivia Dillon (Ireland) 38min 16sec
40. Hanna Talkanitsa (Belarus) 39min 01sec
41. Kathryn Bertine (St Kitts) 39mins 11sec
42. Heather Wilson (Ireland) 39min 13sec
43. Polona Batagelj (Slovenia) 42min 26sec
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|AS IT HAPPENED|
Scroll down and read upwards to see how the women’s time trial unfolded.
14.58pm NEBEN WINS GOLD MEDAL
USA’s Amber Neben is the new world time trial champion as Kristin Armstrong comes home outside her time.
Olympic champion Armstrong finished just outside the medals.
Christiane Soeder into second place behind Neben. Just Armstrong to go now.
Can Amber Neben’s time stand the test of Kristin Armstrong?
With six riders still to finish, the question is whether Pooley will improve on the eighth place she took in the World Championships last year. Currently she is fifth.
At the second check point Amber Neben is still top of the pile. Her USA team-mate Kristin Armstrong failed to beat her time and lies in second place.
Jeannie Long-Ciprelli, who will turn 50 years old next month, turns in a remarkable time of 35min 11sec.
14.42pm FOURTH BEST TIME FOR POOLEY AT THE FINISH
No medal for Emma Pooley, but a strong ride on a course that doesn’t suit her quite as much as the Beijing one did.
14.41pm POOLEY WILL BE NEXT TO FINISH
Outside Neben’s time… Outside Arndt’s time…
Judith Arndt is second fastest at the finish.
14.35pm FIRST CHECK POINT
With all the riders through the first checkpoint, the order is:
1 Amber Neben
2 Judith Arndt
3 Emma Pooley
4 Kristin Armstrong
14.32pm NEW BEST TIME
USA’s Amber Neben is the first rider under 34 minutes. 33min 51sec and that should be enough for a medal, maybe even gold.
14.31pm POOLEY GOING WELL
Pooley is going very well. Has she paced it right? Has she got something left to finish strongly.
14.22pm POOLEY THIRD FASTEST AT FIRST CHECK
Pooley has gone through the first check third fastest – 15 seconds behind Amber Neben.
Christiane Soeder of Austria is the penultimate rider to start. Only Kristin Armstrong remains, and she sets off in two minutes’ time.
USA’s Amber Neben is 25 seconds quicker than Antoshina at the second time check. She’s flying.
Diana Ziliute of Lithuania knocks Whitelaw out of the bronze medal position by a fraction of a second at this stage. Laws is now down to seventh.
14.15pm NEW BEST TIME
The Russian Tatiana Antoshina has hacked a big chunk off Samplonius’s time, catching Germany’s Trine Schmidt in the process.
Meanwhile, Judith Arndt goes through the first check down on Amber Neben but up on Antoshina.
14.12pm POOLEY ON THE ROAD
Emma Pooley set off a couple of minutes ago, followed by French rider Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, who turns 50 next month.
It’s all go in Varese. No sooner had Beveridge set the second best time than Australia’s Vicki Whitelaw beats it to settle in behind Samplonius.
Back down the course and Amber Neben of USA is setting it on fire, with a blistering time.
14.08pm LAWS KNOCKED OUT OF TOP THREE
There won’t be a medal for Sharon Laws today. Canada’s Julie Beveridge has done a time of 35min 44sec which means it’s a Canada one-two at the moment.
So far, the time of Sharon Laws is the third best so far, which means she gets to sit in the white B&Q chair for a brief chat with Canada’s Anne Samplonius.
Midway round the course the Russian rider Tatiana Antoshina is flying. She’s well inside the time of Samplonius at the second check.
13.55pm LAWS FINISHES ? THIRD BEST SO FAR
Sharon Laws hits the finish line in a time of 35 minutes and 54 seconds, which is third best so far. That could be good enough for somewhere in and around the top 15.
Sharon Laws will be finishing in about eight minutes’ time. Three other riders have to finish before her. The question is whether she can push Samplonius’s time off the top.
13.48pm THE GOLDEN CHAIRS
Always makes me laugh to see three world class elite athletes, tired after giving their all, sitting under an awning on the sort of plastic garden furniture you can get in DIY stores. The idea is that the current three leaders sit there in gold, silver and bronze positions so we all know who they are.
They get a bottle of water and have to sit there, all sweaty, to see if their times get beaten, while the TV cameras gawp at them for our general amusement.
And this adds to the spectacle of cycling?
13.44pm LAWS THIRD FASTEST AT SECOND CHECK
Sharon Laws is doing a decent ride for Great Britain but needs to step it up over the final third of the course to post a time that will stand the test of the big names later. She needs to get close to Samplonius’s time if she can.
First Italy’s Anna Zugno broke Bertine’s time, then 40-year-old Canadian Anne Samplonius broke it by almost two-and-a-half minutes. That will be a good early marker.
The first rider has finished and, naturally enough, has set the fastest time. 39-11 won’t stand for long, though. Probably less than a couple of minutes.
13.32pm LAWS IN THIRD PLACE AT FIRST CHECKPOINT
Britain’s Sharon Laws has just gone through the first check point at 6.7km. Currently she is in third place, 6.16 seconds down on Canada’s Anne Samplonius. Very early stages at the moment though.
13.18 LAWS IN THE START HOUSE
Sharon Laws is in the start house now. This time last year Laws was working as an environmental advisor for the mining company Rio Tinto in Melbourne.
She is a former endurance mountain biker who finished second in the Australian road race championship in January 2008 and the result led to an approach from Dave Brailsford at British Cycling.
Laws joined Halfords Bikehut and her first major race for GB was Flèche Wallonne, the Belgian one-day classic. Talk about in at the deep end. She did very well, though, finishing 31st on the legendary Mur de Huy.
Since then, the 34-year-old has won the national 25-mile time trial championship and rode the Olympic road race at Beijing.
The first few riders are underway. Britain’s first rider is Sharon Laws, who sets off at 1.20pm.
CW‘s Stephen Farrand sat down with both Sharon and Emma before the time trial to discuss the course and their form ahead of the race.
Read CW’s interview with Pooley and Laws here
Welcome to the coverage of this afternoon’s women’s elite time trial in Varese.
|ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2008|
Millar and Cummings ready for Elite men’s time trial
World Champs men’s time trial course notes
Pooley and Laws talk before Worlds time trial
Pooley to use special time trial bars again
British under-23 TT riders finish out of the top 30
Daniel Martin selected for Irish under-23 worlds team
British team heads to Varese with genuine medal hopes
Cancellara to miss World Championships
Swift a close second in final race before Worlds
Rob Hayles on why he’s not riding the Worlds
GB Women’s Worlds team confirmed
British Worlds team starts to take shape
Geraint Thomas called up to Worlds team to replace Cavendish
Mark Cavendish pulls out of Worlds team
2008 WORLD CHAMPS GUIDE
TV coverage guide>>
Brits in the men’s world road race 1998-2007>>
Brits in the women’s world road race 1998-2007>>
Brits in the under-23 world road race 1998-2007>>
Britain’s road world championships medal winners>>