Linda Villumsen backed up a strong showing in the team time trial, with a strong performance in the elite women’s individual time trial.  Villumsen placed sixth against the clock in Bergen, as the Netherlands took first and second on the course courtesy of Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen.

Rain would be a factor as the day wore on in the women’s individual time trial.  The course was 21.1km in length and took in the tough Birkelundsbakken climb before descending its way towards the finish line.  Possibly because of the prospect of rain Anna van der Breggen was only the second rider to go down the start ramp and she immediately set about making her mark on the course, going fastest at each of the time checks and blasting her way through the course to stop the clock in 29.02mins.

That time would hold for the majority of the day with a good hour before anyone was able to challenge the Dutch rider.  Van der Breggen flew over the cobbles and powered her way down the quay side before crossing the line; having really laid down a mighty early gauntlet for the rest to try and match.

By the time Linda Villumsen left the start ramp parts of the course were being impacted by rain.  Annemiek van Vleuten was already out on the course and looking to make it onto the podium that was currently occupied by Van der Breggen, Lauren Stephens of the USA and Pernille Mathiesen of Denmark.  The trio had spent a good amount of time at the top of the leaderboard but that would change eventually.

Villumsen started strongly, going through the first time check 7th fastest, but 14 seconds adrift of Van der Breggen who still held the fastest time at that check.  But up the road there was a new challenger to Van der Breggen, with Annemiek van Vleuten going through the 16.7km time check an impressive 12 seconds up on Van der Breggen.  As she headed onto the cobblestones Van Vleuten held the lead and was determined not to relinquish it.

Annemiek van Vleuten (right) and Anna van der Breggen were unstoppable as they dominated the time trial, photo Sirotti

Heading into the finishing straight Van Vleuten charged down the straight, finally stopping the clock 12 seconds faster than her compatriot in 28.50mins.

Villumsen looked strong on the climb as she approached the 9.6km time check.  At this point the rain was coming down reasonably strongly on the Birkelundsbakken but Villumsen was making a strong move up the overall standings to produce the fourth fastest time up the climb at that stage.  The medals were just out of reach at this point, with Garfoot in third place at the 9.6km check and 20 seconds faster at this point.

The former world champion hit the cobblestones having again gone through 4th fastest, although 48 seconds back on the Dutch leader Van Vleuten.  From there Villumsen continued to empty the tank over the latter stages, grimacing as she went through the final turn and onwards to the finish line.  Provisionally Villumsen slotted into 4th place, 55.73 seconds down on Van Vleuten and with an average speed of 42.5kph.

In the end only two more riders could better Villumsen’s time, with Katrin Garfoot producing a strong bronze medal winning performance, 19 seconds down on Van Vleuten, and Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands slotting into fifth place; the third Dutch rider in the top five.


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