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Linda Villumsen second in Route de France prologue time trial

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Linda Villumsen finished a close second in yesterday’s opening prologue time trial of the Route de France, in the northern city of Soissons. The New Zealand time trial champion completed the technical 3.8km course in a time of five minutes, 8.66 seconds, to come within less than three-quarters of a second of stage winner Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS).


“Linda was a little bit disappointed that she didn’t win,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope. “Obviously it would have been nice to win, but I said – a bit jokingly – that at least we don’t have to ride tempo today!

“The course hit a stretch of cobbles within the first kilometre and the bikes were moving everywhere,” he explained. “You could see the back wheels moving. Then it went up a cobbled drag that was really tough, and you lost so much speed. Then the finishing straight was on cobbles too, the last 150 metres were taking the best part of 15 seconds.

“Linda gave it 100% everywhere, so you can’t ask for any more than that.”

“It’s good to get on the podium, and we’ll see what today holds,” Cope said. “Everyone will be looking at us for the sprint, but Orica-AIS has got the jersey so it’s down to them to control it.

“It’s going to be an interesting race,” he added. “Nearly every day is flat, but the wind is getting up and with the terrain we’re going to be riding on it’s going to be quite open. You don’t have a lot of hedges in France.

“We’re going to ride for Giorgia Bronzini in the final, but we’re going to try to get Charlotte Becker up the road early on.”

1. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
2. Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Amy Pieters (Ned) Argos-Shimano

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