Anna van der Breggen has been crowned world time trial champion after Chloe Dygert crashed out in Imola.
The Dutch rider set off just ahead of reigning champion Dygert in the elite women's TT at the 2020 World Championships, determined to better her second place from Yorkshire last year.
At the mid-way point, the dream appeared to be slipping away from Van der Breggen as Dygert had put 30 seconds into her after 15km of racing.
But shortly after the halfway point, Dygert ran wide on a rapid right-hand turn and flew into the crash barrier at the side of the road, which sent her into the field below.
Van der Breggen reached the finish on the famed racing circuit with a time of 40-20, 15 seconds ahead of silver medalist Marlen Reusser.
The Netherlands' Ellen van Dijk took the final podium spot, with a 40-31.
Both brits in the race, Lizzy Banks and Alice Barnes, finished outside the top-10, in 15th and 19th place respectively.
How it happened
The 2020 World Championships got underway in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy on Thursday, with the women’s elite time trial starting and finish on the Imola motor racing circuit.
Riders faced a mostly flat 31.7km out and back circuit, with a straightforward out leg, followed by slightly more challenging final 8km.
The closing section of the course was winding with plenty of tight corners, and at 26km the course turned upwards slightly with a 400 metre climb, averaging six per cent gradient, before finishing on the iconic racing circuit.
Britain’s hopefuls, Lizzy Banks and Alice Barnes, were both out on the course early in the day, with Banks the first to cross the line.
The 29-year-old set a strong benchmark time of 42-43, averaging 41.3km/h and took the provisional lead.
But it wouldn’t last for Banks, as her Équipe Paule Ka team-mate Denmark’s Emma Cecilie Norsgaard was on her heels and finished the course before Banks to even reached the hot-seat
Norsgaard’s new fastest time was a 41-42 (41.8km average) which kept her in the lead late into the day, but with the favourites still to come the result was far from sealed.
As Anna van der Breggen and reigning champion Chloe Dygert hit the course, Australia’s Grace Brown finished with the provisional fastest time of 41-21 to usurp Norsgaard, but the top two riders were already smashing times in the early part of course.
At the 14.9km timing check, Dygert was a massive 26 seconds faster than her nearest rival at that point on the course, Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser, with Anna van der Breggen third at the mid-way point, 36 seconds off the pace of Dygert.
But disaster struck for Dygert not long after the half-way point when she ran wide on a rapid right-hand turn and crashed over the barrier at high speed, taking her out of the race.
Van der Breggen then crossed the line to secure her first World Championship TT, to add to her new European title won last month.
For the Brits, the result was on par as Banks finished in 15th place, 2-23 down on the winner, with Alice Barnes 19th, 2-33 off the win.
Imola 2020 World Championships, elite women's time trial: Imola to Imola (31.7km)
1. Anna van der Breggen (Ned), in 40-20
2. Marlen Reusser (Sui), at 15
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned), at 31s
4. Lisa Brennauer (Ger), at 45s
5. Grace Brown (Aus), at 1-01
6. Amber Neben (USA), at 1-20
7. Emma Cecilie Norsgaard (Den), at 1-22
8. Mieke Kröger (Ger), at 1-31
9. Lauren Stephens (USA), at 1-43
10. Vittoria Bussi (Ita), at 1-46
15. Lizzy Banks (GBr), at 2-23
19. Alice Barnes (GBr), at 2-33
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