Oakley Riders Dominant at 2012 UCI Road Cycling World Championships
The UCI Road and Time Trial World Championships were held over the past week in Holland and Oakley athletes topped the podiums of multiple events. Cyclists across both genders in team and individual competitions claimed the title of “World Champion” after some stunning performances.
The women’s Team Time Trial World Championship went to Team Specialized-lululemon who narrowly beat out Orica Green Edge for the title. The newly crowned World Champions finished in an overall time of 46:31, which was 24 seconds faster than runner-up, Orica Green Edge. This was the first year of Women’s Team Time Trial World Championship competition and Team Specialized-lululemon was thrilled to take the first ever crown.
“We’re very excited,” said Team Director Ronny Lauke. “This has been a goal for us since it was announced last year and it’s really nice that we have been able to make it happen.”
On the men’s side of the Team Time Trial competition, Omega Pharma Quick-Step took top billing, finishing in a time of 1:03.17. They completed the 53.2km course just before the BMC Racing Team and had to watch anxiously as the boys in red and black tried to top their leading time. Ultimately OPQS finished 3.23 ahead of Team BMC, capturing the title. Finishing with all six riders, including Peter Velits, Sylvain Chavanel, Tom Boonen, Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra and Kristof Vandewalle, Omega Pharma-Quick Step rode beautifully and in unison, as noted by many spectators and race commentators.
“I put this victory near my biggest, along with the Classics and the Road World Championship,” Tom Boonen said. “I didn’t expect to win a race like this, first of all because it never existed before and in the past it wasn’t our discipline. We worked a lot and now we are there. It’s a team victory even for the staff. It’s really a change of mentality going on.”
On both sides of the Individual Time Trial competitions, Oakley athletes led the way. Judith Arndt of Germany successfully defended her World Championship from last year. She completed the 24.1 km course in 32:26, a staggering 34 seconds quicker than the second place finisher. Arndt reached a rapid pace of 45 km per hour during her winning ride. American Evelyn Stevens finished behind Arndt as her teammate Linda Villumsen of New Zealand finished third. This was Arndt’s third World Championship title, adding to her Time Trial Championship from last year and the Road World Championship in 2004. Arndt retired after the competition ended in Holland.
“I am very proud of today’s race,” said Arndt. “I tried to do a perfect race, and it pretty much worked out as planned. I wanted to start fast as that has been a weakness of mine in the past. Today’s race was quite short and had a tailwind, so a fast start was critical.”
The men’s Individual Time Trial World Championship race was much more tightly contested. Tony Martin had the most impressive ride of the day as passed Alberto Contador, a rider who started two minutes before him. Fellow Oakley rider, Taylor Phinney set an outstanding mark to beat and Martin looked up to the challenge. He finished just 5.37 seconds faster than the youngster, Phinney, repeating as UCI World Time Trial Champion.
“There was a lot of pressure on me to win again,” Martin said. “I said I just have to ride, but it was not so easy to win. Sometimes you have the power in your legs and sometimes you do not for a race like the World Championship that is just one day. I happened to have good legs. This course was harder than I expected, but I did my best to win for the team despite such a hard final. I had nothing left at the end. I also have to give credit to Taylor, who rode the perfect race today. I am so happy for my victory and to be World Champion again."
Finally, the men’s Road World Championship also went to an Oakley rider as Philippe Gilbert of Belgium proved to be the top cyclist on the day in Valkenburg. With the wind at his back, Gilbert made his move on the final climb of the day, finishing five seconds ahead of the pack behind him. The 267km course through the Netherlands featured a very hilly landscape, proving costly for some riders. Fellow Oakley rider Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway finished second.
“It’s hard to realize I’m the World Champion,” Gilbert stated. “I’ll be wearing the jersey for the first time in Piemonte. That’s going to be a great moment.”
The competition in Holland was a huge success as thousands of fans came out to support the riders, witnessing some amazing displays of endurance and determination. Congratulations to all of the newly crowned UCI Road and Time Trial World Champions.