Canada's Hughes & Whitten big wheels at worlds
A couple of big questions were answered for the Canadian cycling team today at the world road championships in Copenhagen as they look towards the 2012 London Olympics.
Question No. 1: Can Clara Hughes contend for the podium in London after not having competed in cycling at this level since 1999?
Answer: A definite yes as she finished fifth in Tuesday's time trial after going out early in the rain and setting a pace that only the very best could handle?
Question No. 2: What event besides the omnium -- in which she's a two-time defending world champion -- should Tara Whitten race at the London Games?
Answer: Definitely looks like the time trial on the road as she finished a strong fourth in front of Hughes and just off the podium.
Canada actually had three racers in the top-10 as Rhae-Christie Shaw finished seventh behind winner Judith Arndt of Germany, a perennial bridesmaid at this event who finally got to stand on the top of the podium.
“It has been a goal for me for a very long time,” said Arndt. “I can't tell you how happy I am.”
Hughes looked disappointed in the aftermath as she held the lead for the longest time, but it was a great performance for an athlete in the first year of her cycling comeback. As she'd said Monday in this space, she was very nervous to see how she stacked up against the best in the world after being away for so long.
"Believe me, I'm so nervous right now because this is such an unknown for me."
The unknown has been removed. She's fully in the mix and has 10 and a half months with her coach Chris Rozdilsky to get ready for London now. It's her rivals who should be worried now.