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Linda Villumsen on her fourth Worlds TT medal
Sep 19th.12. She would love a World title, but for now NZ's Linda Villumsen is happy to have earned her fouth consecutive medal World Championships TT medal.
The 27 year old Danish born rider, who missed out on an Olympic medal by one place last month, placed third in the elite women's individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in the Netherlands today.
It is the fourth straight year that Villumsen has earned a medal at the World championships in the individual time trial, and she remains the only New Zealand rider to win an elite medal at any UCI Road World Championships.
"When you think of Holland you would not think it is hilly but I think they have chosen the hilliest area of Holland and the hilliest part of that part for the course today," Villumsen said.
"It was pretty hard. It was never any time for any recovery during the time trial. It was up and down the whole time and then to finish up Cauberg which is the hardest hill in the area, that was tough.
"Every time trial is different. Some are flat power courses like London, some are technical with lots of turns and this one was hilly. When you have form, then you have form and I think it does not matter if it is flat or hilly.
"It is a matter of hitting the form. After the Olympics it was it was hard for me because I did not know if I could find the form back after London. I have had nearly two months of work and it was hard not knowing where I stood compared to the others.
"We did some team time trials where I was suffering a lot and it was only the last week that I found my legs again.
"It was hard mentally because in my eyes I saved everything for that performance in London and to come back and train again and know there is another big race at the end of the season. It is difficult when you have just missed out like I did in London and to come back from that."
As much as Villumsen dearly wants a world title, she was thrilled that friend and teammate Judith Arndt (Germany) won the rainbow jersey ahead of her pending retirement from the sport. In a 17 year career, Arndt has claimed national titles, world titles and Olympic medals on both the road and track.
"I am very happy for her. She deserved that. She has been the best of the best for many years in my eyes. She is the best rider and the best teammate that anyone could have and I'm a bit sad that she is not going to be around next year but that means we are all have to step it up."
Just as Villumsen is happy for Arndt, so the German is happy for her Kiwi teammate.
"I'm very happy for Linda," Arndt said. "She's a little superstar and a good teammate."
Villumsen, who has an all-or-nothing approach to time trials, said she held something back early, going through the first time check in second place with only Arndt behind her. She remained second fastest before Arndt set the standard to win in 32:26.46, finishing 34sec ahead of American Evelyn Stevens with Villumsen a further 7sec back in third.
"Well I didn't know. I never want to know my time splits because I go as hard as I can all the time until I cannot go any more. I did go a little slower at first because of the hills but it was so hard and I had nothing left.
"Naturally to get on the podium at a World Championship is great. But I would like to swap it for the top spot on the podium."
Today's bronze adds to the bronze medals Villumsen earned at the World Championships in Mendrisio 2010 and Melbourne 2011 and a silver medal from Copenhagen last year.
The Kiwi will now prepare for the women's road race on Sunday (NZ time) where she will be joined by teammates Emily Collins, Emma Crum and Kate Chilcott.
Tomorrow is the men's individual time trial that features the Kiwis Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley and many of the sport's big names including recent Vuelta Espana winner Alberto Contador (Spain) and defending champion Tony Martin (Germany) although four-time champion Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) are not racing.
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