TOSCANA, Italy – The road world championships continued Tuesday under more clear skies and warm temperatures as the time trials for the juniors men and elite women rolled through the streets of Florence.
It proved to be a successful day for the American team as it placed all four riders in the top 10 and came away with two bronze medals.
Carmen Small improved on her 16th-place at last year’s world championships to win the bronze medal, just 0.04 seconds faster than her compatriot and reigning silver medalist Evelyn Stevens (Dennis, Mass.), who finished a heartbreaking fourth.
“I’m pretty surprised,” said a beaming Small, a Durango High School alumna and Durango native. “I didn’t expect to actually podium, I thought top five would be a really good ride for me. Jim Miller (USA Cycling vice president of athletics) and I met before, and I really wanted Jim in the car talking to me because he was in the car at nationals with me when I won.
“I just buried myself in the last 500 meters. I knew it was going to hurt, but it hurts for everyone. With 100 meters to go I wanted to quit, but I did one more click down on my gears, and I just counted the pedal strokes to get me to the finish. This hurt worse than I’ve ever hurt before.”
The bronze medal was the second medal of the week for Small, after having won a gold in the team time trial Sunday with her Specialized-lululemon team. Of course, the medal Tuesday was bittersweet for Small as her U.S. and Specialized-lululemon teammate Stevens missed the podium by the smallest of margins.
“She had a great ride as well so it’s really, really difficult,” Small said. “She’s my teammate and my friend, so it’s hard.”
The Durango Herald contributed to this report.