Thu, Sep 30, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Karin Thuerig wins elite time trial and now eyes Ironman

AP , BARDOLINO, ITALY

Olympic bronze, a world title, then back to Ironman.

Switzerland's Karin Thuerig emphatically won the elite time trial at the road cycling World Championships Tuesday, then quickly shifted her focus to her next Ironman triathlon.

"My next Ironman is in the middle of October. I don't know if it's a good idea, but if I get a spot in the first 10 then I have a spot next year in Hawaii, which is my goal for next year," Thuerig said, referring to the mother of all Ironman races.

"But I also want to do road races, I want to do it all."

Bronze medalist in the time trial at the Athens Olympics, Thuerig has been doing well in just about every race she's entered lately.

She passed the Athens silver medalist, Dede Demet-Barry, shortly after the midpoint of Tuesday's race despite starting 1 1/2 minutes after the American in the individual race against the clock.

moving right along

She completed the 24.05km course along the shores of Lake Garda in 30 minutes, 53.65 seconds at an average speed of 46.7kph.

Judith Arndt of Germany came in second, 51.78 seconds behind, and Russia's Zoulfia Zabirova was third, 56.35 seconds back.

"I started very aggressive, that was my plan, but I thought after five or six kilometers that I was going too fast because my legs were already starting to hurt," Thuerig said.

"But after the halfway point, I had 16 seconds advantage and I saw Dede in front of me and I caught her. I knew the second half was better for me.

"I'm sure I won't sleep tonight. It was the same in Athens, so many things are going through my head."

Thuerig could not say which medal meant more to her.

"I think it's hard to decide which is more valuable for me," she said.

"The Olympics was so exciting and I also had a good race there, but here I was the fastest and that is always nice."

For Arndt, second place followed her silver medal in the Athens road race.

"Karin was 52 seconds faster than I was, so I don't know if I could have done better," Arndt said.

"I wish I could hear the German national anthem, but I'm always second."

Spain's Joane Somarriba Arrola, the defending champion, came in fourth, 1:15.73 behind, and will now likely have to alter the rainbow design on her bike that honored her world title.

up and coming

Earlier Tuesday, Germany's Patrick Gretsch showed his versatility by winning the gold medal in the junior time trial, following his bronze at the track worlds two months ago.

The 18-year-old covered the same course that the women used in 30 minutes, 29.37 seconds at an average speed of 47.3kph.

Roman Kreuziger of the Czech Republic came in second, 15.53 seconds behind, and another German, Stefan Schaefer, took the bronze medal, finishing 16.33 seconds back.

In midsummer, Gretsch finished third in the 3,000m individual pursuit at the junior track worlds in Los Angeles and he said most of his preparation for Tuesday's race also took place on the track.

"I'm very surprised by this result," Gretsch said.

"Normally I ride on the track, so I was only hoping for a top-10 finish, I didn't think it was possible to win."

Kreuziger also has experience in other variations of the sport, placing second in the junior race at the cyclocross worlds in Pont-Chateau, France, in January.

Slovakia's Simon Spilak, a pre-race favorite and the last rider to hit the course, finished a disappointing 13th, more than a minute behind.

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