September 23, Women's Elite Individual Time Trial: Mendrisio 26.8km
Olympic Champion Kristin Armstrong (USA) won her second time trial World Championship gold medal on Wednesday in Mendrisio, Switzerland. She rode the 26.8-kilometre course in a time of 35:26.
Noemi Cantele (Italy), Italian national champion in the time trial, placed second with a time of 36:21, 55 seconds behind Armstrong, a result unexpected and extraordinary in her first World's time trial. Linda Melanie Villumsen (Denmark) rounded out the women's podium in third, 58 seconds behind Armstrong.
At the first timing point, after 6 km, Cantele was fourth at 22 seconds behind Kristin Armstrong. Then second in the next two intermediate timing points behind Armstrong. At the finish a silver medal.
This is only the second time that Italy has won a medal in this specialty, the first having been a bronze medal by Alessandra Cappellotto in Lugano in 1996.
Of her silver medal performance Cantele, who races for the Bigla squad, said, "I did not know what were my feelings in the race. I could not believe the times I heard over the last five kilometers. I was delighted. And, you think this is my first World Cup. The idea came after I won the tricolor jersey. I said to myself "why not think about doing the race in Mendrisio?".
"I left the start without a heart rate monitor, no odometer, and I decided to give up on the radio. The information they gave me was from the megaphone but with the roar of people I could not hear anything. Perhaps before today I had it all wrong."
With the gold medal, American Kristin Armstrong closes her career after also winning the Olympic title in Beijing in 2008 and another World Cup 2006 in Salzburg. "It does not matter what year and how many time you are world champion, it is always the best feeling in the world," she said.
Photos (by Bettini and Sirotti): Armstrong, Cantele, Villumsen; with their medals