The Shot: Worlds individual time trial

2017 UCI Road World Championships: Elite men’s time trial

The elite men’s time trial at the road world championships is arguably the most important time trial of the year. The winner, of course, gets the much sought-after gold medal. But they also get the honor of the wearing the arc-en-ciel for the following season as well as the privilege of bearing those famous stripes on their team jersey for the rest of their career.

The race typically follows a traditional format. A relatively flat course of around 40-plus kilometers tours the host city but can vary from a more urban feel to the open roads of adjacent countryside. This year’s event erred on the urban side with a couple of intriguing twists including a dramatic uphill finish on Mount Fløyen. The climb was so challengingly steep that the UCI and race organizers offered riders the option of a bike exchange at the bottom of the climb. There they could switch from ultra-aerodynamic (slightly heavier) time trial machines to traditional superlight road bikes.

This course created a photographer’s dilemma: What do we shoot? What serves our clients and the viewers best? What tells the story of the day? It was, after all, a traditional flat TT course, save for the über dramatic climb of Fløyen. Plus, the unconventional bike exchange was a curious element. Again, the question of the day was, what to shoot?

An extensive course recon yielded a couple of unique locations that varied from the iconic and colorful waterfront with row houses and tall ships in the harbor to a unique tunnel to the cobbled section that hosted the bike exchange. And, of course, there was the infamous climb of Mount Fløyen.

We decided to shoot a mix of locations traversing the course over the full run of 64 elite men. We started at the aforementioned tunnel apprehensively seeking more artistic images balanced with clean action and commercial/editorial composition. The image we selected struck balances those factors while showcasing the rider, bike, and the effort and precision of the time trial.

It didn’t scream Norway, crowds, flags. There were no identifying elements normally associated with the actual event and location. But it did say time trial … 100 percent.

Key image specs:

Canon 1DX
Canon 35mm f/1.4L II USM
1/1250 sec @ f/1.6 ISO 8000
Focal Length: 35mm
File format: RAW
Profile shot from inside a tunnel in the at approximately 2km into the time trial circuit