Tasmania’s next up-and-coming hopeful Madeleine Fasnacht was on the end of a luckless ride, but still stands in a strong position during the 2017 UCI world road championships.
The time-trial bronze medallist finished 14th in the junior women's road race after being in serious medal contention in the Norwegian city of Bergen.
Fasnacht headed into the final kilometre close before a touch of wheels with Ukrainian Olha Kulynych caused the Hobart Wheelers rider to drop dramatically before quickly remounting to claim a solid top-15 finish.
Overcast conditions would greet nearly 100 of the leading female cyclists, as they rolled out together for the 76.4-kilometre race with the bunch remaining together for the first half of the opening lap of four.
Dane Emma Jorgensen was the first rider to gain an advantage on the bunch soloing off the front on the descent of the Salmon Hill climb, opening a 44-second advantage before being closed down early on lap two.
On the third ascent of Salmon Hill, Fasnacht followed a move by Brit Sophie Wright and Italian Letizia Paternoster before countering the attack and going solo herself.
Fasnacht's acceleration blew the race apart, forcing a selection of around 15 riders from the rest.
But on the descent, another Italian – Elena Pirrone – stole a march on the group, putting teams on the back foot as they set off in pursuit on the fast descent towards the start/finish line.
Rain started to fall as the bell sounded, with Pirrone holding a narrow 14-second advantage with the chase group – including Fasnacht – bearing down with speed.
Attacks were thick and fast on the final climb, with Fasnacht quickly reducing the group to just seven riders.
Despite the best efforts of the chasing group, Pirrone was able to maintain her advantage on the run in to the finish to claim gold.
Behind Fasnacht looked set to sprint for silver and bronze from a 13 rider group before a touch of wheels took her down. Jorgensen claimed silver and Paternoster bronze.
Notwithstanding the heartache of the crash when the 17-year-old felt that she had the legs to be there at the end, Fasnacht earned praise for her courageous ride and showed her strength in several attacking hill climbs.
“I didn’t want it to come down to a sprint, so with two laps to go, some girls attacked and I went with them,” Fasnacht said.
“But then they were just sitting up, so I kept going. I reached them, and then went again.
“I was hoping some girls would come with me but they didn’t, and then it just split up the field heaps and dropped the non-climbers. I wish there was more climbing and less descending.”
The road races continue over the weekend (Monday AEST) when the championships conclude on Sunday with the elite men’s race.
The world title races in Norway are an integral part of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association’s Gold Coast gold 2018 team preparation program ahead of next March’s event.
I wish there was more climbing and less descendingTasmanian cyclist Madeleine Fasnacht