Great Britain's Josh Tarling crushed his competition to win the elite men's individual time trial at the European Championships on Wednesday by a margin of 42 seconds, at just 19-years-old.
The Welshman was the favourite for the race in Emmen, The Netherlands, being the only podium finisher from the World Championships last month to take to the start line, and well and truly lived up to his top billing, setting an average speed of 56.762km/h over the 29.8km course. His finishing time was 31-30.01.
Stefan Bissegger of Switzerland finished second, 42.92 seconds behind Tarling, with Belgium's Wout van Aert third by a two tenths of a second. Having won the British National Time Trial Championships last month, Tarling will now forego the red, white and blue bands in time trials for the next year in favour of the blue and white bands of European champion.
On a flat course reminiscent of a British out-and-back time trial, Tarling always looked strong. He was fastest at the first time check, four seconds ahead of Van Aert and nine seconds ahead of Switzerland's Stefan Küng. At the second time check, he was ahead of the pair by 28 and 29 seconds respectively, before extending that lead by the end.
Küng looked set for a good time, but a crash in the final couple of kilometres saw him drop out of contention, and cross the finish line bloodied.
Tarling, already a winner at WorldTour level after winning a stage of the Renewi Tour last month with Ineos Grenadiers, will now head into 2024 with his position as a pre-eminent time triallist intact.
"It was hard," the Welshman said. "I felt weaker today than I did in the worlds. The wind was really hard. Originally it was a lot of over and under with the crowsswind, but it changed to more steady cross both ways, with no tailwind or headwind. It was just about holding high power all day, and it was really hard."
He will now head to Cro Race next week before riding the Chrono des Nations time trial next month alongside his brother Finlay Tarling.
Tarling was Great Britain's third medallist of Wednesday, following Zoe Bäckstedt's triumph in the under-23 women's individual time trial, and Anna Henderson finishing second in the elite women's ITT.
Switzerland's Marlen Reusser won the elite women's race to take her third consectuive title, with Henderson finishing 43 seconds behind. The latter finished narrowly off the podium at the World Championships last month, so a silver medal will be a confidence boost heading into the off-season.
In fact, Henderson beat the woman who knocked her off the podium by two seconds at the Worlds, Christina Schweinberger of Austria, by one second to seal second place.
"It was four straight lines really," she said post-race. "The Netherlands put on a really tough course. Technically maybe not so hard, but mentally and physically really hard. It was a time triallist's course. I was really happy with my ride, I tried to pace it well. The wind was really hard, but I think I put up with it quite well."
"I set the goal of top five today, so to make it on the podium would be really special."
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