Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands) clinched the first rainbow jersey of this year’s UCI Road World Championships, powering to her third victory in the women’s elite time trial.
The Dutch rider proved her dominance through the winding streets of Wollongong, Australia, clocking an average speed of over 46km/h to replicate her successes from 2013 and 2021.
On home turf, Grace Brown (Australia) claimed a deserved silver medal, having sat in the hot seat for most of the morning. Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) completed the podium, 41 seconds down on Van Dijk.
21-year-old Vittoria Guazzini (Italy) was the fastest rider under 23 to complete the 34.2km course, earning her the first rainbow bands ever awarded in that age category. The FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope rider finished 4th on the day, narrowly missing out on an elite medal.
How it happened
For the first time in history, the women tackled the exact same time trial course as the men at the World Championships. The route consisted of two laps of a snaking 17.1km circuit, starting and finishing by the beachfront in Wollongong.
Fifth down the ramp, Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands) set out to replicate her performance in last month’s European Championships, where she won the under-23 title. The Trek-Segafredo rider went well under the morning Australian sun, laying down an initial time to beat of 47-09-45.
In a matter of minutes, though, Van Anrooij was bumped from the race lead by home favourite Brown. Averaging almost 46km/h, Brown shaved an impressive 2-30 off the Dutchwoman’s time, setting herself up for a lengthy spell in the hot seat.
As the Australian sat smiling on the podium, Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) began turning the cranks around the circuit's wide roads. Despite her blistering form, the Olympic champion appeared slightly off in her pacing, coming in a minute down on Brown at the halfway mark. Van Vleuten lost a further 30 seconds on the run-in to the finish line and rolled home in a provisional bronze medal position.
A podium place, however, looked unlikely for the two-time world time trial champion. Out on the road, it was time for Reusser and Van Dijk to cross swords in what many envisaged would be the battle for the gold medal.
Seven kilometres in and the duel was well underway. Reusser clocked in one second up on Brown at the first intermediate split, before Van Dijk chipped a further seven seconds off the Australian’s time. Still, little separated the two race favourites.
With her back flat to the east coast wind, Reusser thundered through the punchy course, tagging Emma Norsgaard (Denmark), who set off a minute and a half before her. Behind, Van Dijk continued to make headway.
As Reusser approached the line, onlookers were reminded of the high benchmark set by Brown earlier in the day. The clock turned red on the European champion, carrying with it her hopes of a world title.
For Van Dijk, it was a different story. The tall frame of the Dutch rider rose out of the saddle as she lashed down the finishing straight. A bike throw across the line provided the cherry on top of another trademark display from the 35-year-old, who added a third rainbow jersey to her collection.
World Championships 2022 - Women's Elite Individual Time Trial (34.2km)
1. Ellen van Dijk (Ned), in 44-29
2. Grace Brown (Aus), at 12s
3. Marlen Reusser (Sui), at 41s
4. Vittoria Guazzini (Ita), at 52s
5. Leah Thomas (USA), at 1-18
6. Kristen Faulkner (USA), at 1-25
7. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned), at 1-43
8. Georgia Baker (Aus), at 1-46
9. Lotte Kopecky (Bel), at 1-50
10. Anna Kiesenhofer (Aut), at 1-56
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