A rapid and measured ride by Leo Hayter gave Great Britain its first medal of the World Championship, as he fended off multiple late bids to claim bronze in the under-23 time trial in Wollongong. Hayter took the hot seat after posting the fastest times at all three checks along the city-based course, but it wasn't to be as Norway's late starter Søren Wærenskjold finished fast to knock Hayter off his perch and ultimately take gold.
Hayter was also bested by first-year senior Alec Segaert of Belgium, who took silver.
The Brit's bronze saw him go one better than his brother Ethan Hayter, who finished fourth in the elite TT after a dropped chain.
Wærenskjold says he got into cycling because he wanted to eat ice cream, and reckons a solid diet of F1 on the Playstation gives him the edge in the corners. So it proved on what was a very technical route. He stormed round the lumpy 28.8km course in a time of 34.13, for an average 50.492kph. The 22-year-old, who is Norway's current U23 road champion, finished 17 seconds ahead of Segaert and 25 ahead of Hayter, adding a second gold to his nation's medal haul after Tobias Foss took a surprise victory in the elite time trial on Sunday.
With several riders starting after Wærenskjold, he had to endure a tense wait and some concerted attempts to knock him off the top spot.
Belgian first-year senior Segaert in particular put in a valiant bid for gold. The 19-year-old, who won the junior Worlds ITT last year, made a fast start, sweeping through the first time check seven seconds ahead of Wærenskjold's time. At the second check seven kilometres later, he had slowed to just three seconds ahead, and by the time he went through the final time check nine seconds down on Wærenskjold, he looked to be fading. Segaert held on for an impressive silver though.
New Zealand's Logan Currie, who is the current Oceania U23 time trial champion, also made a concerted assault on the podium. Riding with a home advantage of sorts, Currie got faster throughout the race, going through the checks in fifth, fifth and fourth, and eventually crossing the line eight seconds behind a relieved Hayter.
Wærenskjold's joy was unbound as he learned he had won, his demeanour changing from head-in-hands anxious to thigh-slapping, air-punching happiness. For the next day or two, at least, he can eat all the ice cream he likes.
Results: World Championship U23 time trial (men's)
1. Søren Wærenskjold (Nor) 28.8km in 34.13
2. Alec Segaert (Bel) at 17sec
3. Leo Hayter (GBr) at 25sec
4. Logan Currie (NZl) at 33sec
5. Michel Hessman (Ger) at 39sec
6. Carl-Frederik Bévort (Den) at 40sec
7. Eddie Le Huitouze (Fra) at 51sec
8. Raúl García Pierna (Spa) at 1.03
9. Mathias Vacek (Cze) at 1.04
10. Lorenzo Milesi (Ita) at 1.05
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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields.
Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.
A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now in the past, although that doesn't stop him banging on tirelessly about "that one time" he nearly rode a 20-minute '10', and planning the big comeback that everyone knows will never actually happen.
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