Dutch cyclist Van Dijk defends world time-trial title
Dutch pro cyclist Ellen van Dijk defended her world time-trial crown at the UCI World championships on Sunday beating Australia's Grace Brown and European champion Marlen Reusser
The 35-year-old title holder was the final rider down the ramp and smashed Brown's blistering early pace to win by nearly 13 seconds in 44m 28s to clinch another world title, having won in 2013.
Switzerland's Reusser was third, 42s behind at the opening event of the eight-day road world championships in Wollongong, a coastal city 50 miles south of Sydney.
Two-time world time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten only managed seventh place, a huge 1m 43s behind Van Dijk.
"I never expected to win. I didn't think it was a perfect course for me but I had a good mental and physical approach with my coach," said Van Dijk, "I just thought I would give it my all today, a podium spot would be nice, but if it's not, it's not, I still had a great year. I never thought I would win today."
"I wanted to focus completely on myself, but I was so surprised to cross the finish line first," she said.
This year, women covered the same distance as the men, 21.2 mile route of two laps on a technical and twisting circuit with a small climb around Wollongong.
Australian and Commonwealth Games time-trial champion Grace Brown was among the first riders in the hot seat until Van Dijk's went faster.
Switzerland's Reusser setting a faster pace through the first split, but faded as Van Dijk, who started after her went faster and said "Van Dijk had a phenomenal day. She's a seasoned time-trialer and she deserved the win."
In another first, women competed in their own U23 world championship time-trial as part of the same race with Italy's Vittoria Guazzini taking gold.
VIDEO: 2022 World Championship Women's Elite ITT Replay
2022 World Championship Women's Elite ITT
01 NED Ellen van Dijk Netherlands 44:28 - Gold
02 AUS Grace Brown Australia + 13 - Silver
03 SUI Marlen Reusser Switzerland + 42 - Bronze
04 ITA Vittoria Guazzini Italy + 52
05 USA Leah Thomas USA + 01:19
06 USA Kristen Faulkner USA + 01:26
07 NED Annemiek van Vleuten Netherlands + 01:43
08 AUS Georgia Baker Australia + 01:47
09 BEL Lotte Kopecky Belgium + 01:50
10 AUT Anna Kiesenhofer Austria + 01:57