Armstrong opens UCI Road World’s with time trial gold
Mendriso, Switzerland (September 23, 2009)—The 2009 UCI Road World Championships started off with a bang for the United States with Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho/Cervelo-Lifeforce) earning her second world title in the women’s time trial on Wednesday. Armstrong’s time trial gold gave the United States its third world championship in the event in the last four years. Defending world champion Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif./Equipe Nürnberger) finished sixth while Jessica Phillips (Aspen, Colo./Team Lip Smacker) was 14th. Tejay Van Garderen (Superior, Colo./Rabobank Continental) was the top American finisher in the U23 men’s time trial in 13th while Peter Stetina (Boulder, Colo./Garmin-Felt-Holowesko) was 20th.
“This is exactly what we expected,” stated Jim Miller USA Cycling’s Director of Athletics and the women’s team director for the road world championships. “It’s not easy to win world titles, there were 4-5 women who had a great chance of winning today. It comes down to who has prepared the best, and who has it on the given day. Today that was Kristin.”
Armstrong recorded a time of 35:26.09 over the 27-kilometer course to post the fastest time of the day by more than a minute. As the seventh seed however the Olympic gold medalist still had to endure six of the world’s best, including her American teammate and defending world champ Neben. Armstrong’s time did in fact hold more than 51 seconds ahead of silver medalist Noemi Cantele of Italy and nearly a minute better than the bronze medal mark set by Linda Melanie Villumsen of Denmark. Neben’s time of 36:55.83 put her in sixth place, while Phillips, after holding the top slot for much of the contest, finished in 14th.
Arguably the most decorated female cyclist in history, Armstrong added her second world title to an Olympic gold medal. Armstrong remains the fourth American ever to win an elite women’s time trial world title, joining Amber Neben (2008), Mari Holden (2000) and Karen Kurreck (1994). Her victory also pushes the United States past France for the most world titles in the event with five since it was made a world championship discipline in 1994. The 36-year-old Armstrong confirmed she will retire following the race.
“I can’t think of any better way of saying goodbye to the sport,” Armstrong said. “I had a little bit of motivation today. Now I hope another American can come out on top on Saturday.”
Armstrong’s victory marks the third world championship title for Americans this year. She joins Taylor Phinney (pursuit) and Donny Robinson (BMX) as a world champion in 2009.
“Kristin is the leader of this team, she’s the most decorated American woman cyclist in history, and when you have your leader win, it starts the week off on a good foot,” stated Miller. “We have unfinished business with the road race. This was the best possible way to start the week for the women’s team.”
In the U23 men’s time trial, Van Garderen recorded a time 42:09:08 over the 33.5-kilometer course to finish 1:24.29 off the winning pace in 13th. Stetina, who finished sixth in last year’s contest, posted a time of 42:28.92 which put him in the 20th spot.
Jack Bobridge of Australia earned the U23 men’s world title with a time of 40:44.79. Completing the podium were silver medalist Nelson Oliveira (POR) and last year’s silver medalist Patrick Gretsch (GER).
The last American U23 time trial world title was in 2001 when Danny Pate brought home the gold.
Van Garderen and Stetina are just two of the latest American U23 athletes to illustrate their potential at the world-class level. Just a couple of weeks prior, Van Garderen placed second overall at Tour de L’Avenir as a member of USA Cycling’s National Development Team.
The 2008 UCI Road World Championships continue on Thursday with the elite men’s time trial. Representing the U.S. in the 50-kilometer race against the clock will be Tom Danielson (Durango, Colo./Garmin-Slipstream) and Tom Zirbel (Boulder, Colo./Bissell), the silver medalist from this month’s USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championships.
2009 UCI Road World Championships
For full results, click here.
Elite Women’s Time Trial
1. Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho) 35:26.09
2. Noemi Cantele (ITA) +0:55.01
3. Linda Melanie Villumsen (DEN) +0:58.25
6. Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif.) +1:28.27
14. Jessica Philips (Aspen, Colo.) +2:11.43
U23 Men’s Time Trial
1. Jack Bobridge (AUS) 40:44.79
2. Nelson Oliveira (POR) +0:18.73
3. Patrick Gretsch (GER). +0:27.66
13. Tejay Van Garderen (Fort Collins, Colo.) +1:24.29
20. Peter Stetina (Boulder, Colo.) +1:43.23
To view photos from the event visit the USA Cycling photo gallery, here.