Specialized-Lululemon won the team time trial in the World Championships for a second year running. Its six riders - with Katie Colclough closing her career - rode the 42.79-kilometre course in 51 minutes today in Florence. Rabo, at one minute back, finished the closest.
"Now we have a double rainbow," American Evelyn Stevens said in a press conference. "It's amazing."
RusVelo set the fastest times early on the clear and calm Tuscan course. Specialized, going last as defending champion, zipped through the long stretches between the Pistoia start and Florence. They went better than RusVelo and the new best times that Team Rabo and Orica-AIS clocked.
"We had the first 30 kilometres on the straight roads and 'The Animal' Ellen Van Dijk took long pulls," Great Britain's Colclough explained. "We knew we had an advantage heading into town."
The event kicked off the week of World Championship events, ending with the men's road race next Sunday. Each event begins in a different Tuscan city but all finish under the shadow of the duomo and along the River Arno in Florence.
"You can't win it in the city, but you can lose it there," Colclough told Cycling Weekly afterwards. "We didn't want to take the risk of losing large amounts of time there."
Van Dijk, Trixi Worrack, Evelyn Stevens helped win last year in Valkenburg, The Netherlands. They returned this year with Colclough, Carmen Small and Lisa Brennauer.
"I definitely felt pressure since I wasn't in the team last year," Colclough added. "I didn't want to let everyone else down; you want to help retain the title."
Colclough joined the team three years ago but over the years, she helped Great Britain win three team pursuit gold medals at the European Championships. She proved herself to Specialized in the Boels Rental Ladies Tour two weeks ago. The team time trial was one of three the team won in the last month.
"I wasn't sure how I was going to go in that, it was a real test event for me," explained Colclough. "Everyone thought I did better than expected."
The gold medal today sends England's 23-year-old away from cycling with a smile. Today's win closed her three-year Specialized chapter; all that remains is the road race with the national team on Sunday.
"I wanted to change, I've done this since I was at school," she said. "It is time to try something new and different. I'm not sure what I'll do."
UCI Road Cycling World Championships 2013: Women's team time trial
1. Specialized-Lululemon in 51-10
2. Rabo Women at 1-11
3. Orica-AIS at 1-33
4. Rusvelo at 2-02
5. MCipollini Giordana at 2-18
6. Wiggle-Honda at 2-33
7. Argos-Shimano at 2-50
8. Optum/Kelly Benefit Strategies at 3-03
9. Sengers Ladies at 3-05
10. Boels Dolmans at 3-33
Dani King leads Wiggle-Honda
World champions Specialized-Lululemon
Women's team time trial photo gallery
Road World Championships 2013: Coverage index
World Championships 2013: Team time trial preview
Five stages that could shape the Tour de France 2022
Just five of the 21 days of racing which could see the fight for yellow tipped on its head
By Tim Bonville-Ginn •
US amateur rider handed four-year doping ban after winning cat three race
The 49-year-old was tested after his win in the Arizona State Championships this summer
By Alex Ballinger •