World Time Trial Silver Medalist Linda Villumsen won the third stage time trial of the Giro del Trentino. The stage win secured her overall victory at the two-day, three-stage race in Italy. It is the second time trial win for Villumsen this season. The Danish-born Kiwi won the Emakumeen Euskal Bira time trial earlier this month. Defending Giro del Trentino Champion and World Time Trial Champion Judith Ardnt finished second on the stage.
“We had a double day today with a short morning road stage followed by an afternoon time trial,” explained Sports Director Dave McPartland. “Linda started the double day in second overall but on the same time as race leader Noemi Cantele (Be Pink). We were confident in her time trial abilities in the afternoon, so we were most focused on the morning stage.”
ORICA-AIS had identified Emma Pooley (AA Drink-leontien.nl), tied on time with Cantele and Villumsen, as the main threat in the morning road stage.
“We were concerned about Emma on this particular course,” noted McPartland. “We opted to be less aggressive ourselves and instead stay around Linda to support her. Our plan worked out really well. Other teams raced aggressively, but their attacks never eventuated into anything until a group without any overall contenders got away.”
Fabiana Luperini (Faren Honda) went on to take the stage win.
“It was perfect for us because we could then concentrate on the overall,” said McPartland. “Luperini was not a general classification threat. We came to the line, and Linda finished on the same time as the other overall contenders. We didn’t lose time or gain time. We had the luxury of knowing that Linda was one of the strongest time trials in contention for the overall.”
“I was nervous about the race this morning,” admitted Villumsen. “There were eight riders tied on time, and three of the others are good time trialists. We couldn’t let them gain any time. The team was amazing this morning. They did everything for me. They all worked hard and helped me whenever they could. This allowed me to save some energy for the time trial this afternoon.”
The five kilometer individual time trial took riders uphill on a country road before directing them to a bike path for the second half of the race. Cantele remained the race leader heading into the final stage with four riders, including Villumsen, tied on time.
“On paper, the time trial looked mostly uphill and not technical at all,” said Villumsen. “When I actually saw it, I realized that the first 800 meters were hard, and then the course turned very technical. That suited me perfectly.”
Villumsen covered the course in a blistering pace of 7:53:14. Arndt finished four seconds back. The ORICA-AIS duo were the only two to break the eight minute mark. Claudia Häusler gave the team three riders in the top four, narrowly missing the podium and an ORICA-AIS sweep.
“I had a bit of bad luck with some illness at the beginning of the season,” said Villumsen. “I struggled for two or three months. Things have definitely turned around for me now, and I’m especially happy with how it’s been going this last month. My trainer, Marco Pinotti, understands what is needed for optimal time trial training. He’s also good at making my form peak at the right moment. I hope things continue this way, and we keep it up heading towards the Olympics.”