2023 World Championships Individual Time Trial – Report

How the race finished

Chloé Dygert (USA) took home her second title in the Elite Women’s Time Trial Championships, four years after her first win in the discipline. Matching her result in last year’s championships, Grace Brown (Australia) took home silver, with just 6 seconds separating the pair at the finish line. Christina Schweinberger (Austria) put in the ride of her life to take bronze. 

In eleventh place overall, Antonia Niedermeier (Germany) won the Under 23 world champion title, just edging out Cédrine Kerbaol (France). Julie de Wilde (Belgium) completed the U23 podium.

Full results are available below.

How it happened

Two weeks after we last saw many of these women in action on their time trial bikes during the recent Tour de France Femmes, the women competed against the clock for the ultimate result, a chance to wear the rainbow stripes for the next year.

The 36.2 kilometre long course was the longest in recent history, and while relatively flat, the steep, cobbled climb up to the finish at Stirling Castle would test pacing and limits.

Starting early, Lotte Henttala (Finland) led through the first time checks, setting a barometer for future performances, and unfortunately coming down on the final climb with a pedal strike on the curb as she tried to find the smoothest line to the edge of the cobbles. Shortly after, Eugenia Bujak came through the succession of time checks in first place, and took her place on the hot seat. 

With many of the big name favourites starting toward the end of the afternoon, Chloé Dygert was an odd one out, starting roughly midpack. After winning the Individual Pursuit on the track earlier in the week, Dygert had struggled with illness, but took to the start nonetheless. By the first time check, a quarter of the way into the race, she had already made her mark, crossing almost a minute ahead of the previous fastest time. By the finish line, Dygert was over 3 minutes ahead of the closest finisher. 

After many riders struggled to get close, Anna Hendersen (Great Britain) came through the first intermediate in second, at 25 seconds behind Dygert’s time. Shortly afterwards Christina Schweinberger (Austria) came through at 34 seconds back. Through each split the pair continued to lose time on Dygert, and Schweinberger got the better of Hendersen on the final climb, to come through for a provisional second place.

Cédrine Kerbaol (France) and Antonia Niedermaier (Germany) started one after the other, both vying for the U23 jersey. Kerbaol had the measure of Niedermaier in the first half, but Neidermeier also came back on the climb, piping Kerbaol by only 7 seconds on the line. Agnieszka Skalniak-Sojka (Poland) and Georgina Howe (Australia) both put in strong rides, finishing in the top ten.

The big names started towards the end of the roster, and it seemed that for many, two weeks recovery after the efforts of the Tour de France Femmes was perhaps not quite enough. Vollering, an outsider for the win after showing her time trialling prowess in the Tour, found herself already 42 seconds down at the first time check. She continued to lose time from there, eventually managing fifth place on the day. 

Vollering’s teammate Marlen Reusser (Switzerland), the major favourite for the day, looked focused on the startline. It was a surprise to see her come through the first time check in third position, behind Dygert and Henderson. It clearly wasn’t Reusser’s day, and before reaching the second time check she stepped off the bike, abandoning her dream of the rainbow jersey. 

Grace Brown (Australia), who started just after Reusser, must have been shocked to see the favourite stopped on the side of the road as she came through. Brown had passed through the first time check at 17 seconds behind Dygert, and looked, conversely to Reusser, to be on a great day. By the second check, however, Brown had lost more time, sitting a full half a minute behind Dygert at that point on the road. By the third intermediate check she had started to pull back time, but still had 25 seconds to make up if she wanted the win. Brown gave it everything she had on the final climb to the finish, roaring up the cobbled climb and pulling back an unbelievable amount of time – but in the end, she was six seconds short. 

Results

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