September 29, 2007 — Despite a fall in the last lap, Alex Wrubleski of Regina finished ninth Saturday in the 113.7 kilometre women’s elite road race at the world championships in road cycling being held this week in Stuttgart, Germany.
Marta Bastianelli of Italy won the gold medal with defending champion Marianne Vos of the Netherlands second. Giorgia Bronzini of Italy was third. Wrubleski and Erinne Willock of Victoria, who was 17th, were in the same pack within six seconds of the winner.
“˜’With a bit more experience, Alex could have done even better because she was in good position for the sprint. Despite that unlucky fall it’s still a superb result,’’ said Kris Westwood, the Canadian team manager.
In her fall, Wrubleski also brought down former world champion Judith Arndt of Germany as both were among a 15-rider pack.
At that time, Willock made an attempt to catch Bastianelli. The Italian was alone at the front at that point before being caught with a kilometre to go.
Leigh Hobson of Toronto was 32nd (1:09 behind) while Anne Samplonius of Montreal did not finish.
Men’s under-23 race: Surprise Finish
In the men’s under-23 road race, Peter Velits of Slovakia won in a sprint over Wesley Sulzberger of Australia in second and Jonathan Bellis of Britain in third. The top Canadian in the 171.9 kilometre race was Christian Meier of Sussex, N.B., in 37th who finished with the main pack. David Veilleux of Cap-Rouge, Que., was 62nd (1:59 behind) while Keven Lacombe of Amos, Que., was 84th (9:41 behind). Brad Fairall of North Vancouver and Ryan Anderson of Spruce Grove, Alta., did not finish.
Westwood said the Canadian riders tried to set Meier up for a strong finish. “˜’The goal was to have him up front when the attacks started before moving into a breakaway. We were in the mix but the race didn’t unfold to our advantage. It became a defensive race and finished in a sprint.’’
“˜’I had cramps on the last climb in the final lap and I fell behind the pack about 100-metres of the top of the hill. At that point, the lead pack was chasing a breakaway rider and the pace was very fast. I felt good in the pack but I’m disappointed not to finish with the first group,’’ said Veilleux who was pleased with his improvement from last year’s road worlds. “˜’I still have two years to ride in this category and I’ll get better.’’
Competition ends Sunday with the men’s elite road race.