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Linda Villumsen wins silver in the World Time Trial Championships
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's New Zealand champion Linda Villumsen won the silver medal in the World Time Trial Championships in Florence, Italy. The 29-year-old, who was the second to last rider to start, blasted around the flat 22.1km course around the historic Tuscan city in a time of 28 minutes, 12.28 seconds, to finish 4.64 seconds quicker than previous leader Carmen Small of the United States.
Only Netherlands powerhouse Ellen van Dijk, who set off last as top seed, could unseat Villumsen, crossing the line in 27 minutes, 48.18 seconds, to deny the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling rider the rainbow jersey.
"Ellen deserved to win," Villumsen graciously conceded. "She's been good all season, really consistent, and has won everything else by minutes."
After a fast start saw van Dijk complete the opening 12.5km 20.56 seconds quicker than Villumsen, the New Zealander increased her own pace in the second sector and conceded less than five seconds by the next checkpoint. As the Dutchwoman began to fade in the final kilometres, Villumsen was actually able to close the gap, but there were not enough kilometres remaining to pull back much more than a second before she hit the line.
"Maybe I could have beaten her if the course had had a couple of hills," Villumsen explained, "and maybe if it had been a little longer. I also had a bit of a stressful start, but that didn't make my legs any worse. It did maybe use a bit of emotional energy.
"I hadn't managed to look at the course properly," she explained. "There were a couple of corners in the final four kilometres where I could have maybe gone a bit faster."
As one of the strongest, and most consistent time trial riders in the women's peloton, Villumsen has taken a medal in each of the last five World championships. The Danish-born New Zealander will once again be one of the big favourites at next year's competition in Ponferrada, Spain.
1. Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands)
2. Linda Villumsen (New Zealand)
3. Carmen Small (United States)