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Road Championships: Linda Villumsen Takes Gold in Elite Individual TT

British Hayley Simmonds 26th in her first World Championships after taking up cycling four short years ago

Photo: UCI – Graham Watson

Last night we were gripped to the TV as we watched New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen power to the finish and claim gold in the women’s Elite Individual Time Trial at the UCI Road Championships in Richmond Virginia.

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The 30 year old finished  the 30 km course in a time of 40:29 thanks to a constant speed that averaged over 44 kmh. Following suit was Dutch national time trial champion, Anna Van der Breggan who crossed the line 2.5 seconds after Villumsen. Last year’s individual time trial champion, Lisa Brennauer chased her way into bronze position, just five seconds down on Villumsen.

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All in black, Villumsen was consistently strong throughout the entire race showing an admirable display of skill and determination. However, in her post-race interview afterwards she thanked others for her win:

In a race like this you go out and you give it everything you’ve got…I knew I had the best team support I could ask for and my motivation was very good. It’s amazing, unbelievable.

Another notable performance came from Kristin Armstrong, a former double World Time Trial winner who returned from retirement this year who clocked a powerful time of 40-50. Her time was the fastest performance of the first three waves of riders and the one to beat in the fourth and final.

British Personal Triumph

We were also excited to see British National Champion Hayley Simmonds take to the ramp, finishing in 43:24.28 to take 26th place.

We interviewed Simmonds early this year  and her story of perseverance from overweight ex-rower to National Champion is an extraordinary one. Not only does she have a lovely, down-to-earth, chatty character –  it’s not often we get to see an adult amateur climb the ranks to the World Championships over four short years.

She said after the event: “I would have liked to have done a bit better but I couldn’t have got anything else out today and it was a massive learning experience for me coming here.”

She added: “It was really tough actually. The wind over the bridge was really hard coming back so it felt fast over the James (river) and then as soon as you came up the chicane and back onto the bridge it was brutal headwind so that was a really tough slog.”

Simmonds will be supporting Lizzie Armitstead in the road race on Saturday – and we wish the team all the best. You can find more about the UCI Road World Championships here.

Watch the highlights of the women’s elite individual time trial

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