This has been a great year for Dutch women’s cycling and it reached a climax with a sweep of the women’s Individual Time Trial at the 91st UCI World Road Race Championships in Innsbruck, Austria.
The results were a repeat of 2017, only with three from the Netherlands on the podium instead of two. Annemiek van Vleuten, the overall World Cup leader, won again, ahead of last year’s silver medalist, Anna van der Breggen.
Another former winner from 2013, Ellen van Dijk was third for the Dutch sweep. While this is van Vleuten’s second Worlds Time Trial medal, van der Breggen now has three silvers in the last four years in this race and van Dijk won her third career Time Trial medal and now has one of each color.
The race from Hall-Wattens to Innsbruck had one significant rise of about 100 m in the middle and a modest climb in the final third. Canada’s Leah Kirchmann, riding 13th in the order, made a big impression with a finish time of 35:52.17 and that ended up fourth. She was pushed out of the lead, however, just six riders later as van Dijk, riding 19th, took the lead at 35:50.55.
Van der Breggen didn’t get her chance until the 35th position, but had the fastest split at the first checkpoint and sailed into the lead nearly a minute faster at 34:54.35. That looked like it might hold up, but van Veltuten would have the last chance.
Riding 52nd and last, van Vleuten flew out onto the course and was also 20 seconds faster than van der Breggen at the 18.1 km checkpoint and was going to win if she could stay upright. She also had the fastest finish in the field by 10 seconds and crossed in an impressive 34:25.36, almost a minute in front.
“I had this feeling that it was a game of seconds with Anna, and so I got nervous, and I didn’t know when I passed the finish line that I had won. It was a nerve-racking time trial,” van Vleuten told Cyclingnews. “Time trials are a game of seconds, and you die 10 times, but I think I died 100 times this year. I didn’t want to lose by two seconds, and I was surprised the gap was so big.”
The racing schedule for the rest of the week:
∙ 26 September:
Men’s Individual Time Trial (52.5 km; one major climb)
∙ 27 September:
Women’s Junior Road Race (71.7 km: one lap ~ two major climbs)
Men’s Junior Road Race (132.4 km: two laps ~ three major climbs)
∙ 28 September:
Men’s U-23 Road Race (179.9 km: three laps ~ five major climbs)
∙ 29 September:
Women’s Road Race (156.2 km: four laps ~ four major climbs)
∙ 30 September:
Men’s Road Race (258.5 km: seven laps ~ nine major climbs)
NBC’s Olympic Channel has coverage of the Worlds. Summaries so far:
UCI World Road Race Championships
Innsbruck (AUT) ~ 23-30 September 2018
(Full results here)
Men’s Team Time Trial (62.8 km): 1. Quick-Step Floors (BEL), 1:07:26; 2. Team Sunweb (GER), 1:07:44; 3. BMC Racing Team (USA), 1:07:45; 4. Team Sky (GBR), 1:08:11; 5. Mitchelton-Scott (AUS), 1:08:23; 6. Movistar Team (ESP), 1:08:58; 7. Trek-Segafredo (USA), 1:09:30; 8. Bora-hansgrohe (GER), 1:09:33.
Men’s U-23 Time Trial (27.7 km): 1. Mikkel Bjerg (DEN), 32:31; 2. Brent van Moer (BEL), 33:04; 3. Mathias Norsgaard (DEN), 33:09; 4. Edoardo Affini (ITA), 33:15; 5. Ethan Hayter (GBR), 33:17. Also in the top 25: 7. Brandon McNulty (USA), 33:24; … 23. Gage Hecht (USA), 33:54.
Men’s Junior Time Trial (27.7 km): 1. Remco Evenepoel (BEL), 33:15; 2. Luke Plapp (AUS), 34:39; 3. Andrea Piccolo (ITA), 34:53; 4. Michel Hessmann (GER), 35:03; 5. Soren Waerenskjold (NOR), 35:05. Also in the top 25: 10. Michael Garrison (USA), 35:48; … 19. Riley Sheehan (USA), 36:36.
Women’s Time Trial (27.7 km): 1. Annemiek van Vleuten (NED), 35:25.36; 2. Anna van der Breggen (NED), 34:54.35; 3. Ellen van Dijk (NED), 35:50.55; 4. Leah Kirchmann (CAN), 35:52.17; 5. Leah Thomas (USA), 35:57.75; 6. Lucinda Brand (NED), 36:07.95; 7. Amber Neben (USA), 36:12.87; 8. Karol-Ann Canuel (CAN), 36:41.22; 9. Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA), 36:42.48; 10. Tayler Wiles (USA), 36:56.52.
Women’s Team Time Trial (54.5 km): 1. Canyon SRAM Racing (GER), 1:01;46; 2. Boels-Dolmans Cycling (NED), 1:02:08; 3. Team Sunweb (NED), 1:02:15; 4. Wiggle High5 (GBR), 1:02:44; 5. Mitchelton-Scott (AUS), 1:03:16; 6. Team Virtu Cycling (DEN), 1:03:53; 7. BTC City Ljubljana (SLO), 1:04:55; 8. Valcar PBM (ITA), 1:05:22.
Women’s Junior Time Trial (20.0 km): 1. Rozemarijn Ammerlaan (NED), 27:02; 2. Camilla Alessio (ITA), 27:09; 3. Elynor Backstedt (GBR), 27:20; 4. Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR), 27:24; 5. Simone Boilard (CAN), 27:26. Also in the top 25: Abigail Youngwerth (USA), 28:33.