Road World Championships 2021: Denmark’s Johan Price Pejtersen storms to gold in under-23 time trial

Australia’s Lucas Plapp had a long wait in the hot seat, only to be beaten by the final rider on the road

Johan Price Pejtersen at the 2021 World Championships
Johan Price Pejtersen at the 2021 World Championships
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Denmark have taken gold once again in the under-23 time trial at the 2021 Road World Championships, as Johan Price Pejtersen put in a storming ride. 

Price Petjtersen was the last rider to hit the 30km course in Flanders on Monday (September 20), matching the pace of his rivals in the opening section and then turning up the power in the final third of the route. 

Australia’s Lucas Plapp was one of the first riders to take the course and set the early benchmark, holding the hot seat for most of the race, before he was finally beaten by Price Pejtersen by 10 seconds.  

Florian Vermeersch of Belgium took the final medal spot, 11 seconds behind the winner. 

The winner follows the success of his fellow Dane Mikkel Bjerg, a former three-time victory in the U23 category. 

How it happened 

The men’s under-23 time trial returned for the 2021 Worlds, having been abandoned last season due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Riders tackled a 30.3km-long run from Knokke-Heist to Bruges, with barely any climbing on the route. 

Early in the day, it was Magnus Sheffield (USA) and Lucas Plapp who were the strongest contenders, with Plapp eventually setting the fastest time of 34-39, with an average of 52km/h, while Sheffield did enough to take a provisional podium spot. 

Belgium’s Florian Vermeersch put in a staggering ride, leaving Plapp looking nervous in the hot seat as he finished his run, but Vermeersch finished one second behind Plapp, putting him provisional second as Sheffield gradually moved down the rankings. 

It was a long wait for Plapp, but as the final rider took to the course his time suddenly looked under threat, as Price Pejtersen was the fastest rider at the second time check by six seconds.  

The 22-year-old Dane, twice a winner of the under-23 European Championships, smashed through the final part of the course to beat Plapp into second place by 10 seconds.  

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Britain’s Ethan Vernon put in a strong ride, eventually finishing in seventh place, 43 seconds down on the gold medal. 

Racing continues at the World Championships with the women’s elite time trial on Monday afternoon. 

Road World Championships 2021, under-23 time trial: Knokke-Heist to Bruges (30.3km)

  1. Johan Price Pejtersen (Denmark), at 34-29
  2. Luke Plapp (Australia), at 10s
  3. Florian Vermeersch (Belgium), at 11s
  4. Søren Wærenskjold (Norway), at 13s
  5. Mick van Dijke (Netherlands), at 24s
  6. Dan Hoole (Netherlands), at 39s
  7. Ethan Vernon (Great Britain), at 43s
  8. Michel Hessman (Germany), at 48s
  9. Filippo Baroncini (Italy), at 57s
  10. Magnus Sheffield (USA), at 58s 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.