WENDY Houvenaghel finished in 14th place in the Road World Championships Time Trial in the Netherlands yesterday but afterwards said she was happy with the way she competed.
“I was pleased with that performance because I just didn’t know where I was going to feature so I went out there and gave it everything I had and I couldn’t do any more at this point in time and that was that and I’m just pleased to have been able to take to the start line this season so it was good.”
The Upperlands rider went into the event after winning her fourth National time trial title and the Chrono Champenois in France ten days ago but over the 24.1km course from Eijsden to Valkenberg which featured two significant climbs; the first around 5kms from the start and the second, the more famous Cauberg climb near the end, she ended up two minutes and seventeen seconds behind winner Judith Arndt in a time of 34:43.97.
The German, who has announced she will retire after the championships, completed the course in 32 minutes 26.46 seconds to claim victory by 33 seconds from Evelyn Stevens of the United States and so successfully defend her title. New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen was third with Houvenaghel’s team mate Emma Pooley, the 2010 world champion, having to settle for fourth place.
“There’s no disappointment, I had to be realistic about how my performance would go. I was coming up against seasoned road riders who have been doing this for years and my own specialty has been track orientated work so the demands for both the track and road are very different and what I’ve been able to do over the last four weeks was to convert the fitness I had from the track to the road but I was coming up against seasoned road riders like Judith Arndt and Evelyn Stevens and it showed and I’m not going to be beating myself up about that. It was pretty decent given the quality of the field and I’m going to go away now and chill out with my family and friends and just start enjoying life,” added the Beijing Olympics silver medalist.
She will now take the next few months to consider her future. This was the first time she’d competed for Great Britain since missing out on the Olympic gold medal in London last month but she has plenty of options to mull over.
“I just want to step outside the whole situation that I’m in at the moment over the next little while because for the last six years I’ve been competing intensively both on the road and predominantly on the track and I’ve been selected for two Olympics and now I need to reassess just where I am and how it’s best to move forward. I’m keeping my options open and I just need a little bit of time now to work out what’s best for me and obviously I want to see how things unfold in terms of the UCI’s decision making process in regards to what events will be available at the Olympics. I also have aspirations to go back to dentistry as well so there are quite a few options for me to consider before I commit to anything.”