Individual Time Trial World Championships: Elite and Under 23 Races
How the race finished
Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) rode a strong race to win her third individual time trial world champion title, with home favourite Grace Brown (Australia) finishing second at +12 seconds, and Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) in third at +29 seconds. In fourth place overall, Vittoria Guazzini (Italy) took home the inaugural Under 23 world champion title, with Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands) and Ricarda Bauernfiend (Germany) rounding out the Under 23 podium.
How it happened
Competing across the same distance as the men for the first time, the women took on two laps of a technical course in Wollongong. The loop took them through a series of technical turns past the Botanical Gardens, before returning via a straighter yet windier route along the coast.
Leading the first wave of riders off, Ricarda Bauernfeind (Germany, U23) set a strong early indicator of the pace possible on the course. Her time stood until van Anrooij (Netherlands), also competing for the Under 23 title, put in a solid ride to finish 29 seconds faster. Her time in the hot seat would not last long though, as local favourite Grace Brown (Australia) showed that her recent wins in the Commonwealth Games ITT and Ceratizit Challenge were not pure luck. Brown crossed the finish line more than two minutes faster than her nearest rival at that point, to the cheers of the home crowd.
In the second wave of riders, the performances of potential contenders Kristen Falkner (USA), and previous world champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) were not enough to unseat Brown. Their times across the finish line were eventually enough for 6th and 7th overall respectively.
The major title prospects, Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) and Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser left as part of the third and final wave of riders. With the pair out on the course, Brown’s position in the hot seat began to look more at risk. Reusser came through the first time check a little faster than Brown, setting the stage for a tense finale. Shortly after, van Dijk flew through the same check faster again. Meanwhile, Vittoria Guazzini (Italy) was the first rider to come across the finish line less than a minute down on Brown, cementing a strong ride for the up and coming time trialist that would see her take home the first ever U23 women’s world title in the discipline. Leah Thomas (USA) also put in a solid ride to come home in 5th place.
Through the second half of the course, Reusser managed to catch and pass Denmark’s Emma Norsgaard. Despite doing so, she lost time in the second half, slipping from a few seconds up on Brown to finish behind her. Still in the hot seat, Brown watched as van Dijk powered her way through the closing minutes. Riding based on intuition and not letting up on her pace, van Dijk led at every intermediate time check and came across the line 12 seconds faster than Brown to take the win. Brown had to settle for second place, with Reusser in third, Guazzini in 4th and Thomas in 5th.