Stuttgart, Germany (September 26, 2007)—Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho/Team Lipton) earned her third consecutive world championship medal in the elite women's time trial on Wednesday and the United States placed three athletes in the top five as the 2007 UCI Road World Championships opened in Germany.
The defending world champion, Armstrong placed second to Hanka Kupfernagel (GER) to add a silver medal to the bronze she captured in Madrid two years ago and the gold she won last year in Austria.
Teammates Amber Neben
(Irvine, Calif./Flexpoint) and Christine Thorburn
(Sunnyvale, Calif./Webcor Builders) also turned in strong performances, placing fourth and fifth respectively while newcomer Alison Powers
(Boulder, Colo./Colavita-Sutter Home-Cooking Light) placed 20th in her first world championships.
One of the heavy favorites to claim this year’s rainbow jersey on a hilly and technical 25-kilometer course, Armstrong finished 23.47 seconds off the pace of Kupfernagel’s winning time of 34 minutes, 43.79 seconds.
“After having the world championship jersey, getting second place isn’t easy,” said Armstrong after her third-straight world championship podium appearance. “It was a difficult day and it’s hard to be world champion every year. Yesterday I told my teammates the strongest girl will win today because of the technical part and the flats. There wasn’t any time to rest during the course. I knew Hanka was a dark horse coming in because she doesn’t typically race with us all year, but I knew she was a strong girl.”
Starting tenth out of 49 riders, Kupfernagel set an early standard that would not be matched as the remaining 39 riders failed to surpass her mark. As the 19th rider to complete the course with a time of 35:46.58, Neben sat in second place until eventual bronze medalist Christiane Soeder (AUT) eclipsed her mark with a 35:25.32, temporarily bumping Neben into the bronze-medal position. As the last rider to finish, Armstrong fell just short of becoming the first two-time world time trial champion in American history. Just nine seconds behind Neben, Thorburn, a bronze medalist in 2006, clocked a time of 35:54.87 to place fifth and narrowly miss joining Armstrong as the only other American ever to win multiple medals in the elite women’s time trial world championship.
After a breakthrough season in the international peloton this year and earning her start in Stuttgart as the 2007 Pan American Time Trial Champion, Powers finished with a time of 37:05.93 to finish 2:22.14 off the pace of Kupfernagel in her world championship debut.
With her third career world championship medal, Armstrong becomes one of only two Americans to win three or more world championship medals on the road, joining Greg LeMond who captured four road race medals in his career (gold in 1983 and ’89 and silver in ’82 and ’85).
With her silver-medal performance on Wednesday, Armstrong also met the first automatic nomination standard for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. With only Saturday’s elite women’s road race left on the calendar for the 2007 season, Armstrong is already looking forward to an eventful 2008.
“I’m looking forward to going for it (world championship) again next year and also in Beijing” (at the Olympic Games), said Armstrong. “I’ve defended my national title for three years now and have been on the podium of the world championships for the last three years. As long as I’m healthy and injury-free, I feel pretty good about my shot.”
For a photo gallery of the world championships, visit www.usacycling.org/gallery.
A live broadcast of the 2007 UCI Road World Championships is also available at WCSN.com
2007 UCI Road World Championships
September 26-30, 2007:
Elite Women’s Time Trial
1. Hanka Kupfernagel (GER) 34:43.79
2. Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho) +23.47
3. Christiane Soeder (AUT) +41.53
4. Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif.) +1:02.79
5. Christine Thorburn (Sunnyvale, Calif.) +1:11.08
20. Alison Powers (Boulder, Colo.) +2:22.14
About USA Cycling
Recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling promotes American cycling through its 60,000 members and 2,500 annual events. USA Cycling associations include the BMX Association (BMX), National Off-Road Bicycle Association (mountain bike), U.S. Cycling Federation (road/track), the National Collegiate Cycling Association and the U.S. Professional Racing Organization (professional men’s road). For more information, visit www.usacycling.org or contact USA Cycling Director of Communications, Andy Lee at 719-866-4867.
This Article Published 2007-09-26 11:40:18 For more information contact: [email protected]