France's Severine Eraud lived up to her favourite status today at the Florence World Championships. The 18-year-old won the junior time trial gold medal ahead of two Aussies, Alexandria Nicholls and Alexandra Manly.
Clear skies, sun and cheers - and time checks - spurred her on. She started the along the Arno River last, raced up and down it and through the city - 16.19 kilometres in 22-42 minutes. "I heard I was fourth best at the time check," she said. "I gave it my all from that point. It worked."
Nicholls, out of 47 scheduled riders, was first off at 10:00. Without references, she clocked a time that stood nearly all day - at least until Eraud arrived. The 22-45-minute ride was 2.69 seconds shy of a win.
"A gold medal would have been nice," Nicholls said, "but I'm pretty happy with silver."
Eraud's gold adds to her national and European time trial gold medals won in the last two months. Elinor Barker won the world title last year and signed for Wiggle-Honda over the winter. Great Britain did not field a rider this time around.
Junior women's individual time trial
1. Severine Eraud (Fra) 22-42
2. Alexandria Nicholls (Aus) 22-45
3. Alexandra Manly (Aus) 22-50
Severine Eraud tops the podium
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