• Elizabeth Armitstead (L) passes Anna Van Der Breggen (R) and Megan Guarnier (C) to win the women's elite road race (Sirotti)Source: Sirotti
Great Britain's Elizabeth Armitstead waited until the final metres to claim the elite women's road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Cycling Central
27 Sep 2015 - 7:03 AM  UPDATED 27 Sep 2015 - 2:01 PM

Armitstead finished ahead of Anna van der Breggen (NED) and Megan Guarnirer of the USA to close out an exciting day of racing over a wet 129.8km course. 

The Australian women's team of Amanda Spratt, Katrin Garfoot, Tiffany Cromwell, Rachel Neylan, Loren Rowney, Lizzie Williams, Gracie Elvin, and Lauren Kitchen were aggressive throughout.

The course featured repeating cobblestone climbs, a 200m test at Libby Hill and a shorter but steeper rise at 23rd Street, and a 300m climb just ahead of the final turn for the finish.

Numerous solo riders attempted to escape as the race wore on but none had an impact until Australia's Neylan broke ahead with 28km remaining and sparked the first multi-rider breakaway.

Nine riders charged ahead by 30 seconds with 24km remaining as several favorites lingered behind, stretching the margin to 60 seconds after the penultimate Libby Hill climb.

In fact the Australians were in a medal winning position until the final two kilometres with Neylan and Kitchen in a break.

But a depleted peloton rich in talent, including past world champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA), Armitstead, van der Breggen and Guarnirer, would not be denied.

The leading break was swept up in the final kilometre as the leading group settled in for a sprint finish, with van der Breggen going first before Armitstead took control of the race just before the line.

Cromwell (17th) ended the race as the best placed Australian followed closely by Neylan (19th), Williams (20th) and Kitchen 28th.

“As we entered two laps to go, we had a team plan to get someone up the road before the favourites went,” Kitchen said. “Rach (Neylan) attacked, which was perfect, and she got away solo. I followed the next girls that made it across.

“It was the right combination of nations. All the major nations were represented. We were the only nation that had two.

“It was a great situation for us, but we had to work out what we were going to do,” Kitchen added. “I think we were a little unsure for a few kilometres until we established that we needed to attack and take control again.”

 Austria win gold in the under 19 men's race

Earlier in the day Austrian Felix Gall won the junior men's road race ahead of Frenchman Clement Betouigt-Suire and Dane Rasmus Pedersen. Australia's Michael Storer finished 16th and Samuel Jenner finished in 54th place while Harry Sweeny abandoned after a mechanical.

"Heading in to the second last time up the hills that is when all the moves went and I was close enough to the front,"  Storer said. "When the group joined up again on the flat I was right in the mix.

"Quite a lot of people attacked off the front and I thought everyone would follow and the group would jump across but they all sat up and the then the gap was too big.

"The Polish team tried to chase it down but it was bit too late. Up the last climb all the groups formed and I went with that group to the finish.

"The climbs were really hard with the very narrow roads and the steepness and slippery cobbles.

"The team rode really well. Sam was right in there and Harry had a bit of bad luck with a mechanical."

Preview: world championships women's road race
Eight circuit laps and a total of 129.8 kilometres of racing around the Richmond CBD is all that stands between the elite of women's cycling and a rainbow jersey as the first rider over the line.

More to come.

SBS will broadcast the elite men's road race on Sunday 27 September from 10:50pm AEST on SBS/HD with streaming available right here on the Cycling Central website.