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Dideriksen upsets the Dutch to become world champion in Doha

Numainville ninth, Kirchmann 14th in fine Canadian display

Dane Amalie Dideriksen upset the Dutch dominance of the Doha 2016 elite women’s road race on Saturday to take her first rainbow jersey. The Dane won a thrilling bunch sprint after a prolonged solo attack from American time trial champion Amber Neben in the latter half of the race. The Canadian squad did very well to deliver Joëlle Numainville to her best Worlds road race placing and had three riders in the top-23.

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The riders faced a 28-km ride through Doha to reach the Pearl circuit that has featured in every competition at the world championships so far. There, the field had seven circuits to ride for a total of 134.5-km.

Soon after the gun Japan’s Eri Yonamine attacked, leading solo through Doha. She didn’t get a huge gap as Great Britain, Canada, France and Germany were present at the front of the peloton. The Netherland’s Kirsten Wild crashed and the team sent a rider back to help bring her back.

In the 35-degree heat grabbing water bottles and ice bags was essential.

With six laps to go a Swiss rider joined the Japanese leader but their time in front was doomed, as many attacks flared from the bunch. Neben, Dutchwoman Amy Pieters, her compatriot and three-time champion Marianne Vos and the wonderfully named Paz Bash of Israel all had a go. The Dutch seemingly took turns dashing off the front.

The race came back together with 4-laps remaining and with 58-km to go Vos bolted again, causing the Australians to yank her back. The Dutch continued to test the Italians, Belgians and Brits with thrusts and general accelerations.

Amber Neben went again on the third from last lap and both the Dutch and the Belgians mobbed the front of the field to collect her. The teams’ concern grew with her lead. Entering the penultimate lap, Neben held a 45-second gap. Her squad didn’t have to work and could protect Coryn Rivera for the sprint. Australia couldn’t get Britain to contribute to the pursuit.

Heading into the bell lap Neben was controlled and everyone took a big breath, a gel and a drink before the final showdown. Just on the other side of the finish line the American was brought to heel and Brit Dani King immediately scampered up the road. Her compatriot Hannah Barnes then rushed away once King was returned to the field.

But the Dutch kept the race intact, with the Americans and Germans lurking. Leah Kirchmann and a couple of Canadians were ready. Surely they would launch Numainville.

Wild has won ten stages of the Tour of Qatar while taking four GC triumphs. Her team had seven riders at the pointy end of the race. Canada moved up with 3.5-km to go.

The orange riders kept up front but Italy came forward. Joëlle Numainville was position five going under the red kite.

Vos led out Wild but it was the powerful Dideriksen who came around Wild and then surged by, holding off the Dutch favourite. Her teammates were ecstatic, nearly unbelieving of the 20-year-old’s triumph. Denmark was now won two championships at Doha 2016 and have three medals. The Netherlands also had a silver medalist in the elite women’s time trial.

Numainville’s Cervélo-Bigla teammate Finn Lotta Lepistö was thrilled with her bronze. Last year’s champion Lizzie Deignan (Great Britain) finished just off the podium.

Numainville hung tough and placed ninth, her best every world championship result. She took a bronze in the team time trial as well. Kirchmann was 14th and Alison Jackson 23rd.

Doha 2016 UCI Road World Championships Elite Women’s Road Race 134.5-km

Gold: Amalie Dideriksen (Denmark) 3:10:27
Silver: Kirsten Wild (The Netherlands) s.t.
Bronze: Lotta Lepistö (Finland) s.t.
9) Joëlle Numainville (Canada) s.t.
14) Leah Kirchmann (Canada) s.t.
23) Alison Jackson (Canada) +0:04
71) Karol-Ann Canuel (Canada) +0:22
91) Sara Bergen (Canada) +1:00