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Villumsen Awakens Worlds Dream

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Sept 22, 2015 – Danish-born New Zealander Linda Villumsen, five times previously on the podium without a victory, broke through on Tuesday to win the women’s individual time-trial at the World Road Cycling Championships.

AFP/Richmond 2015-Casey B. Gibson

The 30-year-old Kiwi, who won last year’s Commonweath Games time-trial, captured the world crown by completing the 29.9km (18.5 miles) course in 40mins 29.87secs. Dutch star Anna Van der Breggen was the runner-up, 2.54 seconds back, with 2014 world champion Lisa Brennauer of Germany third, 5.26 off the pace.

“I just can’t believe it. I really can’t believe it,” Villumsen said. “Everything has turned out my way. It’s incredible.”

Villumsen, who became a New Zealand citizen in 2009, was third in 2009, 2010 and 2012, and second in 2011 and 2013. She was also fourth in the 2012 London Olympics, missing a medal by less than two seconds. “I don’t really know how I did it,” she said. “I could only think: ‘go as fast as I can.'”

German-born Australian Katrin Garfoot was fourth with two-time reigning Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong, a 42-year-old American and two-time world champion back from retirement, fifth. Armstrong was the second of 44 riders on the course, leaving nearly 2 1/2 hours before last-out Brennauer.

Armstrong attacked the longest women’s world time-trial course in 20 years and had the time to beat entering the final wave of riders. Drama built as Villumsen, third out in the final wave, reached 7km 6.43 seconds ahead of Armstrong, and Van der Breggen trimmed that interval best by four seconds.

From there, Villumsen set the pace all the way to the finish. Van der Breggen, 25, added to a season that saw her win the Women’s Giro d’Italia and La Course by Le Tour as well as the Dutch time-trial title. Brennauer, 27, claimed the last podium spot only two days after helping Velocio capture a fourth consecutive women’s team time-trial crown. Armstrong finished just ahead of compatriot Evelyn Stevens, who was second in 2012 and third last year.

Neither claimed the podium spot that would have secured a berth at next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where Armstrong hopes to “Three-peat.” Armstrong is already the oldest women’s Olympic time-trial champion and the event in Rio is scheduled to be staged on the eve of her 43rd birthday.

Results Worlds Elite Women ITT

1. Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) 0:40:30
2. Anna Van Der Breggen (Netherlands) 0:00:03
3. Lisa Brennauer (Germany) 0:00:05
4. Katrin Garfoot (Australia) 0:00:09
5. Kristin Armstrong (United States Of America) 0:00:21
6. Evelyn Stevens (United States Of America) 0:00:27
7. Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands) 0:00:55
8. Alena Amialiusik (Belarus) 0:01:06
9. Ann-Sofie Duyck (Belgium) 0:01:19
10. Trixi Worrack (Germany) 0:01:19