The Specialized-Lululemon women’s team and the men’s BMC Racing Team were crowned the first world champions of the 2014 UCI World Road Race Championships, after they dominated the team time trial events on Sunday.
Specialized-Lululemon was the favourite to take a third consecutive women’s world title and lived up to expectations with a power and confident performance on the 36km course. The six riders worked smoothly together, finishing 1:17 ahead of Orica-AIS and 2:19 better than the Astana-BePink team. Evelyn Stevens, Carmen Small, Trixi Worrack, Chantal Blaak, Lisa Brennauer and Karol-Ann Canuel were fastest at all the time checks and took an emphatic victory. The US-based team will be able to wear the special world time trial champion’s logo on their jersey during the 2015 season.
“There’s nothing more special than getting to win together,” Stevens, part of all three winning teams said. “It gives me goose bumps. I said at breakfast this morning that it feels like Christmas – it’s such a special event and it’s the highlight of the year.”
Orica-AIS was down to the minimum of four riders in the final kilometres, with Emma Johansson and Valentina Scandalora doing some huge turns on the front. However they found the speed to secure the Australian team a silver medal.
“To get everything right is the difference between taking a medal or not and we pulled out a really good ride and got everything right, so it was nice,” Johansson said of her performance.
The Rabo-Liv was expected to fight for a medal and was second fastest at the intermediate times. However the Dutch’s performance was derailed by a late crash and the loss of team leader Marianne Vos. Annemiek van Vleuten crashed into the barriers while exiting a roundabout and took her three remaining teammates down with her. Anna van der Breggen was the worst affected, and was unable to remount and complete the race. Vos caught and finished with her teammates but Rabo Liv was classified last, more than ten minutes behind Specialized-Lululemon.
BMC Racing Team take the men’s world title
The Omega Pharma-Quick Step team beat Orica-GreenEdge by less then a a second in 2013. This year the BMC Racing Team beat them both, and by a significant margin, to be crowned world champions.
BMC set a time of 1:03:29 for the 57km course, setting the best time at all three intermediate time checks thanks to the balanced and efficient work of Tejay van Garderen, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato, Rohan Dennis, Silvan Dillier and Peter Velits. Orica-GreenEdge won the silver medal, 31 seconds slower than BMC, with Omega Pharma-QuickStep combing back from a slow start to finish third at 35 seconds. Team Sky finished fourth at 37 seconds despite riding with only four riders for the second half of their race. Tinkoff-Saxo finished fifth at 46 seconds.
The Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Orica-GreenEdge teams were slowed slightly by light rain on the final decent to the finish but BMC won by a significant margin and deserved their world title.
“It feels incredible. The team was confident but nervous coming into this. Now we’re world champion,” team leader Tejay van Garderen said after hugging his BMC teammates in celebration.
“A couple of years ago we were two seconds off the win and we had that in the back of our minds. We knew we had a strong team and that everything had to just fall into place. We just stayed calm and did our thing.”
The racing continues at the UCI World Road Race Championships in Ponferrada on Monday with the Women’s Junior Individual Time Trial (13.9km) and the Men’s Under 23 Individual Time Trial (36.15km).
Watch all races live on tv.uci.ch