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Lyne Lamoureux

‘It was just one lap too long’ - Elise Chabbey reeled in after long Worlds break

Cheered by the crowd, Elise Chabbey (Switzerland) went on another long-range solo attack

With five laps to go in the elite women’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships Elise Chabbey attacked and immediately went all in, increasing her gap slowly on the finishing circuits. The Swiss rider played a masterful game of catch me if you can, keeping a steady pace and putting in minor accelerations when the group behind her got too close.

“I'm actually super tired but it was really amazing this atmosphere on the course. Alone in the front, the supporters really cheered on me and they were screaming, I could really enjoy every minute there,” Chabbey said after crossing the finish line.

Buoyed by the cheering crowd, Chabbey kept pushing, keeping consistent lap times.  Her gap continued to grow from 14 seconds one lap later, to 1:30 after another lap of racing. Behind her, the cooperation was almost non-existent in the select group of chasers which contained most of the favourites including her teammate Marlen ReusserLotte Kopecky (Belgium) and Dutch riders Demi Vollering and Annemiek van Vleuten.

But, it was not to be for Chabbey who was reeled in at the start of the bell lap. She tried to stay with the group but could not follow the accelerations to the finish line, where ultimately Kopecky took the win. 

“I didn't really think about it [making it to the finish] because I just based my effort and I just tried to go as far as I can anyway. I was done anyway. I knew that if it was coming back I couldn't do much anymore,” said Chabbey who spent 58 kilometres off the front in a solo flyer. 

“When they came back I was a bit done. I couldn't do anything more for Marlen but I think she did fourth so, I mean, as a Swiss team, I think we can be proud, you know, sort of.”

Chabbey had already expended energy in the first move of the race which formed in the initial 15 km, only to be caught on the outskirts of Glasgow.

“I was already in the first breakaway of the day and it didn't really work together and nobody was really working and then I spent also quite a lot of energy there and then when it all came back together, I spoke with Marlen and she told me that she was feeling really good. So I was like I already spent a bit of energy so why not try again and do something for her?”

And so Chabbey put in her move with 74 kilometres to go, but she had not planned to go it alone. 

“When I went away, I was hoping that somebody was coming with me. But nobody was there and then I had a bit of a gap, so I just kept going at pace and I think it was just one lap too long,” said the 30-year-old Canyon-SRAM rider.

It’s not the first time this year that Chabbey was caught close to the finish after a long solo breakaway. After spending most of the 56-km first stage off the front, she was reeled in with 3km to go at the Tour de Suisse in June.  There again, she had not planned on going solo. 

“Actually, I prefer being with people," said Chabbey. "I mean, it's more fun but nobody came with me, so I had to deal with that.”

Chabbey crossed the line in seventh place, her highest finish in the elite women's road race at the World Championships, while her teammate Reusser finished fourth, 12 seconds behind the winner.

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