Kiwi Villumsen finally claims time trial gold

Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:16pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) - New Zealand's Linda Villumsen powered to victory in the road cycling world championship individual time trial on Tuesday, claiming the title that had always eluded her.

Twice runner-up and three-times a bronze medalist, Villumsen finally got to the top of the podium with a time of 40 minutes 29.87 seconds over the challenging 29.9 km course.

Dressed all in black and riding a stealth black bike, Villumsen had looked set for a commanding victory until Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen provided a late fright, crossing 2.54 seconds behind to take the silver.

Defending champion Lisa Brennauer of Germany had to settle for the bronze.

"I was getting used to being second and third and fourth and fifth but then it was just a day where everything went my way and I started to believe maybe halfway through," said Villumsen.

"I just gave what I could and felt really good all the way. I felt maybe this was my day."

Danish-born Villumsen won her first bronze medal competing for Denmark at the 2009 worlds and the next four years won medals for New Zealand, silver in 2011 and 2013 and two more bronze in 2010 and 2012.

The 30-year-old signaled her gold medal intentions early. going out in the last wave, Villumsen went on the attack and by midway had the best time by nearly 11 seconds.   Continued...

Linda Melanie Villumsen from New Zealand competes during the women's elite time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Valkenburg September 18, 2012.   REUTERS/Michael Kooren