Russian Aigul Gareeva is the new female junior time trial world champion despite taking a wrong turn in the closing kilometres.
After posting fast times at the intermediate checks, Gareeva looked locked on for a medal, despite not being considered a race favourite before the start. As she closed in on the finish, a race marshal signalled for Gareeva to turn right, but she carried straight on, perhaps confused by the advertising hoardings continuing down a dead end.
However, she quickly turned around and carried on, beating Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands) by four seconds.
Brit Ely Bäckstedt was the last rider to set off, and one of the favourites for the title. However, her tilt was almost derailed as she nearly came off her bike speeding round a corner on the wet Harrogate course, somehow managing to stay upright.
She was only a second slower than Gareeva at the intermediate time check, but eventually finished 11 seconds down on the Russian’s time, claiming a second bronze medal for Britain after yesterday’s mixed relay team time trial.
Speaking after being confirmed as world champion, Gareeva was philosophical about her win, saying: “To be honest, to be world champion is not that important, but to make people believe that you can live better lives and make mistakes but then achieve better results and achieve something in this life, that matters.”
Gareeva seemed to still be processing exactly what happened with her wrong turn, just grateful that it hadn’t cost her the world title.
“I knew that I was the best but still kept going despite the time loss, there was a kind of mess in my head but I kept going.”
“People were showing me the way, to turn right, and I don’t know what happened really.”
UCI Road World Championships 2019, women’s junior time trial: Harrogate to Harrogate (13.7km)
1. Aigul Gareeva (Russia), in 22-16
2. Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands), at four seconds
3. Elynor Bäckstedt (Great Britain), at 11s
4. Camilla Alessio (Italy), at 15s
5. Wilma Olausson (Sweden), at 17s
6. Leonie Bos (Netherlands), at 21s
7. Zoe Ta-Perez (USA), at 26s
8. Sofia Collinelli (Italy), at 36s
9. Megan Jastrab (USA), at 45s
10. Ella Wyllie (New Zealand), at 51s