Aussie Garfoot second in women's road race

Aussie Garfoot second in women's road race”

Chantal Blaak of the Netherlands claimed gold in the women's road race in the World Championships in Bergen as Great Britain's Hannah Barnes saw her courageous bid for a medal end in disappointment. Home favourite Susanne Anderson was the next to try her luck solo at the midway point of the race. She'd hit the deck and believed her race was over when precious minutes ticked away as she tried to free herself from the jumble.

Her kit and skin were torn but her spirit undeterred.

Van der Breggen and van Vleuten were two of the biggest engines in the group, and when Garfoot, third in the time trial earlier in the week, refused to drive the group, Blaak was always in the drivers' seat. And so she attacked, sneaking away while others gambled.

Every domestique has her day, they say, and today it was Blaak's day to be rewarded for her years of domestique duties. I crashed and was in a lot of pain and thought my race was over.

The 2017 Road World Championships concludes on Sunday with the elite men's road race. Unfortunately I didn't pick the right one. The peloton came back together behind her and Garfoot still had enough energy to outsprint Dideriksen for second place.

The group's numbers were boosted by another rider as the Czech Republic's Karel Vacek worked hard to get across and join them - but that move seemed to inspire the peloton to take up the chase themselves. It's not a particularly steep climb - the average gradient is just 6.4% -but eight times would prove challenging for many riders.

Chantal Blaak in the rainbow jersey after winning the 2017 elite women's road race. By the second of five laps three other riders had bridged over.

With a little less than 100kms to go, Dutch rider Lucinda Brand attacked on the cobbles, bridging over to Lowther. The newly formed hybrid group failed to work together, and were caught by the bunch with around 23km to go.

The Netherlands fielded the strongest team at the start with four riders - Annemiek van Vleuten, Anna van der Breggen, Marianne Vos and Ellen van Dijk - in the top four of the world rankings.

But as they neared the final lap, this breakaway, too, was reeled back in and immediately followed by a new breakaway. Team U.S.A. drove the peloton.

Hoping to make the bridge, Australian Sarah Roy took on a solo chase, riding in no man's land in between the breakaway and the chasing peloton. Guarnier was forced to abandon and the trio's gap increased.

In the peloton, nations started scheming, perhaps anticipating a potential mass sprint after all.

On the final climb of Salmon Hill, the trio were joined by van der Breggen, van Vleuten, Australia's Katrin Garfoor and Poland's Katarzyna Niewiadoma. But while the other riders in the group tracked Van der Breggen, Blaak pounced.

Ten kilometres to go and the race defining breakaway was formed. "We were seven, and three of us, so we knew we should attack", Blaak said of the decisive break. Behind them, the peloton had several chase groups at least 40 seconds down from the leaders.

Van Vleuten had to settle for fourth with Van der Breggen eighth.

Blaak, who was caught up in a crash early in the 152.8km race, produced a perfectly-timed break with seven kilometres remaining and crossed the line 28 seconds ahead of the chasing pack.

"I gambled", Garfoot admitted.

"The odds were just stacked against me". When Chantal went I thought if she's gone maybe Vleutie (Van Vleuten) or Van der Breggen want it more and (will) chase her, hopefully. "I didn't work, because I had made a decision to gamble". I wanted to work and they were all settling for second place.

Donovan was sat in the chasing group - themselves around 30 seconds clear of the peloton with just over 10km remaining, but they had no answer to Johansen's attack which secured him the title by 51 seconds.

Australia's Katrin Garfoot took silver with last year's champion Amalie Dideriksen of Denmark in bronze.

"I didn't even realise we were caught", Garfoot commented. "People were probably shouting at the telly not to do that [and to save her legs for the final sprint for silver]".

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