Fourth straight time trial medal for Villumsen

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 07:29 19/09/2012
Linda Villumsen
Getty Images

POWERING ON: New Zealand's Linda Villumsen on her way to bronze in the women's time trial at the world road cycling championships in the Netherlands.

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New Zealand cyclist Linda Villumsen has stood on the podium at the world road cycling championships for the fourth year in succession.

Denied a medal at the London Olympics by less than two seconds, the Danish-born Kiwi wrapped up the bronze medal on the 24.1km course near Limburg in the Netherlands.

Villumsen also claimed bronze medals in Mendrisio 2009 and Melbourne 2010, to go with a silver medal in Copenhagen last year.

Judith Arndt of Germany, Villumsen's professional teammate, successfully defended her individual time trial title.

Arndt, 36, the silver medallist in the Olympic time trial in London who plans to retire at the end of the season, finished the race in 32 minutes 26.46 seconds, an average speed of 44.6kph.

Villumsen was 40s back in third, and 7s behind second-placed American Evelyn Stevens.

The New Zealander was on track to top Stevens until she faded on the famous Cauberg hill climb near the finish.

"Naturally to get on the podium at a world championship is great," Villumsen said.

"But I would like to swap it for the top spot on the podium."

The 27-year-old remains the only New Zealand rider to win an elite medal at any road world championships.

"It is a matter of hitting the form," she said.

"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."

The men's individual time trial that features the Olympic medallists Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley and many of the sport's big names, including recent Vuelta a Espana winner Alberto Contador and defending champion Tony Martin, is tomorrow.

Four-time champion Fabian Cancellara and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins are not racing.

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