Germany’s Judith Arndt successfully defended her women’s elite time trial title at the UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands yesterday.
Arndt, who had announced she will retire after the championships, completed the 24.3-kilometre route in Limburg in 32 minutes 26.46 seconds. Evelyn Stevens of the United States was second in 33mins 00.23secs, with New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen third in 33:07.03.
Great Britain’s Emma Pooley, the 2010 world champion, had to settle for fourth place in 33:15.79, with her compatriot Wendy Houvenaghel finishing in 34:43.97 to place 14th.
Britain’s Elinor Barker took gold in the junior women’s time trial. The 18 year old from Wales covered the 15.6km course in 22 minutes 26.29 seconds, 35 seconds clear of the field.
Meanwhile, Alex Dowsett will hope using Bradley Wiggins’ Olympic-winning wheels will help him to a strong performance in the men’s elite time trial today.
Dowsett will be Great Britain’s sole representative in the 45.7km race against the clock after Wiggins, who won the Tour de France in July and Olympic gold on 1 August, opted out of individual competition and Chris Froome this week withdrew from the time-trial following a rigorous schedule.
Dowsett, 23, from Essex, knows being the flagbearer carries a certain responsibility after a year of success for Britain. He said: “I’m on the wheels Bradley won the Olympics on. I’m getting all the best treatment and that means I put the pressure on myself. There’s no pressure from staff or management or anything like that. Just with how Great Britain have done this year as a whole, you always have that pressure on you to perform.”
Dowsett’s own season has been marred by illness and injury. The 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist won the British time-trial title earlier this month and hopes to put a fraught campaign behind him with a strong showing today.
“I had a really good start to the season then just had a period of being off the bike, with a broken elbow and then the infection I had with it.
“I feel like I’ve been playing catch-up the rest of the season.”
Dowsett was part of the Team Sky squad which was ninth in the trade team time trial on Sunday and believes that race provided an indication he is finding some form at the right time. He said: “I surprised myself. I’m not in bad shape. I don’t know how it’s going to go. I’ll just get out there and ride as best as I can. That’s quite often the way with time trials. All I can do is go out and do the best performance I can and see what happens at the finish line.”
There was a mix-up in the team race with two Team Sky riders labelled Dowsett. Geraint Thomas travelled without kit and Dowsett said: “I had to lend him one of my skinsuits, which had Dowsett down the side. We all had our position in the line and Ian Stannard got confused coming down the line seeing a Dowsett and turning to pull in but it being the wrong Dowsett.”
German Tony Martin is the favourite today in the absence of Wiggins and Swiss time-trial great Fabian Cancellara.