A courageous lone attack 18 kilometres from the line gave Italian Marta Bastianelli Italy?s first gold medal of the 2007 World Championships, with her team-mate Giorgia Bronzini?s third place the icing on the cake of the female squadra azzurra.
Bastianelli tore off the front on the first steeper climb of the final lap of the 133.7 kilometre race and then fended off the field – in which Britain?s Emma Pooley took a highly active role trying to pull back the gap – for a lone win by barely a dozen seconds.
Second at approximately six seconds was last year?s World Champion, Holland?s Marianne Vos, who used her sprint to outgun Bronzini. Pooley finished in the same leading group of chasers.
The silver medallist in the junior women?s road-rac in Verona in 2004, third in the GP Ouest France a few weeks back and youngest rider in the Italian team this year, Bastianelli went one better in Stuttgart despite her chain coming off and almost jamming during her solo effort.
“I attacked just to split the group but I was out front, kept going and went for it. I can’t believe I’ve won such an important race, but I’ve got to say my team-mates did an exceptional job.”
The tough climbs and a major pile-up caused when a barrier keeled over in strong winds effectively neutralised the race for over 100 kilometres.
With the course effectively closed down, it was only just before Bastianelli made her move that the a group of some 35 stronger riders sheered off the front of an overly large peloton.
But despite a couple of courageous counter-attacks, notably by Canadian Erinne Willock and a gap that never rose above 30 seconds, Bastianelli?s move carried her all the way to the line for a surprising but richly deserved lone triumph.
Marta Bastianelli wins the women’s road race. Photos by Andy Jones
World Road Championships Elite Women 133.7km
1 Marta Bastianelli (Italy) 3-46-34
2 Marianne Vos (Holland) at 6sec
3 Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
4 Svetlana Bubnekova (Russia)
5 Noemi Cantele (Italy)
10 Emma Pooley all st
30 Catherine Hare at 30sec
57 Rachel Heal at 5-36
dnf: Helen Wyman
dnf: Tanja Slater
dnf: Elizabeth Armistead
2007 ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS NEWS
2007 ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE
2007 ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS PHOTO GALLERIES
2006 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Official 2007 Road World Championships website: www.radwm2007.com.
Union Cycliste Internationale: www.uci.ch.