Italian women sprint to cycling team title by a wheel’s length
After five tough events, the women’s team cycling competition came down to a thrilling sprint finish in Laoshan.
Italian Sofia Beggin came in third after a bunch sprint on a sweltering Nanjing day. A narrow wheel length over their opponents from the Czech Republic and Denmark was enough to gain her team 65 points, and win them the overall gold medal.
Italy finished with a total score of 248. Czech Republic claimed silver with 230 and Denmark took bronze with 225.
Beggin and her team-mate Chiara Teocchi had not realised they would be standing on top of the podium until they were informed by the Youth Information Service.
After much jubilant screaming and leaping about, Teocchi expressed her delight. “We can’t believe it, we are so happy,” she said. “Our team is strong in a lot of different areas so we cover for each other. She [Beggin] is a road woman and I’m more of a mountain biker.
“Sofia is a very good sprinter, so she did just enough today to get the win. It is a very tough event and the course today was extremely hard. But we kept working together and encouraging each other,” she added.
“Sofia was brilliant and we are really proud of each other. Italian cycling is on a high at the moment with Vincenzo Nibali winning the Tour de France.”
Denmark had led the event after four races, but fell short in the bunch sprint. It was almost too much to take for an upset Pernille Mathiesen.
“I’m very disappointed,” she said. “Today was so hard, a really hard course and so hot. “But we tried our best. We lost it right at the end.”