Cycling: Villumsen disappointed with silver

By Daniel Gilhooly

NEW DELHI - Adopted New Zealand cyclist Linda Villumsen was a picture of disappointment after riding her way to a silver medal in the women's road time trial today.

Denmark-born Villumsen, who gained New Zealand citizenship in December, finished less than five seconds outside the gold won by Tara Whitten, of Canada

Whitten, 30, clocked 38 minutes 59.30 seconds over the flat, out-and-back 29km course on a stretch of motorway on the outskirts of New Delhi, just enough to beat Villumsen's 39min 04.15sec.

"Silver is good but I really wanted to win this one," Villumsen said.

"I'm a bit disappointed in myself."

She was second at the halfway point of the ride, just under 7sec down on Whitten.

She clawed back a small time chunk on the return journey but not enough to threaten the veteran world points race champion from Edmonton.

Villumsen told NZPA before the race that she wanted to win to thank her new country for opening its doors to her.

The 25-year-old insisted her performance wasn't affected by a hectic schedule in recent weeks, having fully rested over the last two days.

She finished third in the time trial at the world championships last month in Melbourne and was an aggressive performer in the Games women's road race on Sunday before fading to finish in the middle of the pack.

She found today's course far from her liking, having predicted it would suit power cyclists such as Whitten rather than those who favour variety and technical skill.

"Some corners would be good," she said of the lonely vigil on the motorway.

"You see everybody in front but you don't know if you're losing time or gaining time. It's just a long, long time when it's that way."

England's Julia Shaw won the bronze medal, 10.22sec behind Whitten, while two other New Zealanders in the field earned top-10 finishes in the 28-strong field.

Melissa Holt was fifth, 23.66sec off gold and Alison Shanks 10th 1min 31.41sec off the pace.

England's world champion Emma Pooley could only manage ninth in the taxing heat.

New Zealand will field three riders in the men's 40km time trial later today.

They are Gordon McCauley, who won bronze at the Melbourne Games four years ago, Jack Bauer and Jesse Sergent, the winner of two track pursuit silver medals at the Games velodrome last week.

- NZPA

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