RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — At roughly 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, USA’s Kristin Armstrong hit the Women’s Elite Time Trial course second following German’s Corinna Lechner.
The crowd surrounding the start ramp was roaring as the count down for Armstrong begun.
Armstrong would go on to finish with a time that proved to be the best against 37 other riders until the last wave of women came in and absolutely demolished it.
Linda Villumsen of New Zealand has been on the podium five times in time trial races, but until today has never taken home the gold.
From the start ramp to the finish line; people yelling, cow bells ringing, and fencing lines being pounded on is all you can hear while every rider passes by.
“When a rider comes by everyone’s cheering but then it goes quiet when they pass.” said Chuck Wandling of Hanover, Virginia. “It’s like surfing and waiting for the next big wave to come.”
From the locals of Richmond to those who have traveled the globe to come watch, there was a constant crowd of people waiting to cheer on the women as they accomplished this grueling course.
For many people this was their first professional bike race, and to see what goes into getting these riders on course was foreign to a lot of people.
“It was very exciting, I was amazed at the speed and the entourage of vehicles with the riders.” said Nalini Premkumar of Henrico.
At the finish line of the Women’s Elite Time Trial stood Hermann Pruisken and Martine ole Wit of Rotterdam, catching the eyes of many, dressed head-to-toe in orange holding a huge flag of the Netherlands.
Pruisken said they were there supporting Anna Van Der Breggan, who finished second, and Ellen Van Dijk, who finished seventh. Both riders were representing the Netherlands in the individual time trial.
Pruisken and Wit travel the world supporting these two women.
“We’ve been to I don’t know at least 50 races this year,” said Prusiken.
As the last wave of riders entered the course commentators were already calling the race, saying that Armstrong would stay in the lead and take home gold.
That all went downhill as four of the six riders in the last group demolished Armstrong’s time – something which no one had come close to throughout the race.
Linda Villumsen beat Armstrong at every time check of the race. She stayed at a steady pace and beat Armstrong’s time by 20.58 seconds to win her first gold in Women’s Elite Time Trials.
After her confirmed win, Villumsen was still very clearly in shock.
“I just can’t believe it,” she said.
Finishing in third place was Lisa Brennauer who was the defending national champion coming out of Germany. She was the last rider to go of the 44 riders.
Bike racing may not be the most coveted sport here in the U.S, however bringing a world championship race to the City of Richmond has sparked some interest.
“I’ll definitely be back to watch more of the races,” Premkumar said.
Wandling added, “I’ve never been to a biking event but it was quite fascinating. I’ll be back.”
The action for Tuesday finished up around 4:50 p.m., but the races start up again at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday with the Men’s Elite Individual Time Trial starting in Doswell, Virginia.