On Sunday, Judith Arndt (GreenEdge Cycling), won the Ronde van Vlaanderen for the second time in her career illustrious career; the first coming in 2008.
Coincidentally, both victories would come at the expense of Kristin Armstrong (Team USA), who once again watched as her breakaway companion surged ahead of her in the closing meters of the finale. And, if not for a late charge by Canadian Joelle Numainville, the 2008 podium would have been intact as Kirsten Wild (AA Drink - Leontien.nl) was narrowly pipped in the bunch sprint.
Results - 9th Ronde van Vlaanderen voor Vrouwen
1. Judith Arndt (Ger) Greenedge-Ais - 3:19:05
2. Kristin Armstrong (USA) USA National Team - 0:00:02
3. Joelle Numainville (Can) Canada National Team - 0:00:30
Although many stories were born out of today's Arndt, Armstrong tete-a-tete, perhaps the biggest was the overall display by the Americans.
There was a time, in the not so distant past, where the opportunities for an American woman to race in Europe were few and far between, and the American "contingent" in the European peloton often consisted of one or two riders (in 2006, only Amber Neben and Kim Anderson were in the Ronde van Vlaanderen field). But in recent years, USA Cycling's efforts to develop the women's program have paid handsome dividends.
In addition to Armstrong, 13 other Americans, across 4 teams, started today's race. And while that fact alone is impressive, none were merely content to simply participate. Under the direction of Jackson Stewart, Team USA was either on or off the front the entire day.
Throw in the monstrous efforts by 2012 Women's Tour of New Zealand victor, Evelyn Stevens (Specialized - Lululemon) and Andrea Dvorak (Team USA), whose work in the chase group with Emma Johansson (Hitec Products-Mistral Home), belies their actual placings, and it is easy to see that the upward trajectory of the American women is still on the rise.
4. Kirsten Wild (Ned) AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team
12. Emma Johansson (Swe) Hitec Products-Mistral Home Cycling Team
13. Carmen Small (USA) USA National Team
21. Megan Guarnier (USA) Tibco-To The Top
28. Andrea Dvorak (USA) USA National Team
30. Tayler Wiles (USA) USA National Team
32. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Team Specialized-Lululemon
34. Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team
35. Emma Pooley (GBr) AA Drink-Leontien.nl Cycling Team 0:00:54
38. Samantha Schneider (USA) Tibco-To The Top
41. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Canada National Team
43. Kristin Mcgrath (USA) USA National Team
48. Lauren Hall (USA) Tibco-To The Top
57. Amanda Miller (USA) Tibco-To The Top
Photo: GreenEdge Cycling
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