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Defending champion and last rider off Karin Thuerig of Switzerland denied host nation a dream start to the 2005 world road championships in Madrid when she edged local favourite Joane Somarriba out of the gold medal position in the women's time trial event this morning. The Swiss, who had been just a second ahead of the Spaniard at the halfway point, edged out to a five-second advantage by the finish. The USA's Kristin Armstrong was third, 39 seconds down.
On a course based on the Spanish capital's Casa de Campo park and containing one long climb, the 33-year-old Thuerig, who recently completed the Zurich Ironman in 14th place overall, began as the favourite. But the few fans who turned out to support the race were mostly backing Somarriba, who is retiring after these championships.
"A silver medal won at home feels like a gold because the riders here are the best in the world and the level in women's racing is very high now," said Somarriba. "I'm delighted with the medal because I knew it would be hard to finish on the podium.
2003 world time trial champion Somarriba admitted that she didn't like the Madrid circuit all that much, mainly because it was so hard. The long hill had everyone struggling, while the descent back down into the start/finish area was quite technical and tricky.
1 Karin Thuerig (Switzerland) 21.9km in 28.51 (45.54kph)
2 Joane Somarriba (Spain) 0.05
3 Kristin Armstrong (United States) 0.39
4 Judith Arndt (Germany) 0.56
5 Amber Neben (United States) 0.57
6 Zulfia Zabirova (Kazakhstan) 1.01
7 Mirjam Melchers (Holland) 1.02
8 Christine Thorburn (United States) 1.13
9 Svetlana Bubnenkova (Russia) 1.38
10 Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania) 1.41
14 Oenone Wood (Australia) 2.00
19 Sue Palmer-Komar (Canada) 2.28
21 Sara Carrigan (Australia) 2.36
26 Melissa Holt (New Zealand) 3.06
28 Felicia Greer (Canada) 3.11
Thuerig denies local hero JoaneClose
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