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UCI Road World Championships: American Artem Shmidt shines in junior men’s TT

The 18-year-old hits sixth in the longest time trial of his young career.

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WOLLONGONG, Australia (VN) — Artem Shmidt (United States) notched up the biggest result of his career riding to sixth place in the junior time trial at the UCI Road World Championships.

Shmidt led out the final group of riders on the two laps of the circuit around Wollongong, gradually climbing up the standings as he hit the time checks. He would come in with a provisional second fastest time, before being bumped down a few places as the final riders completed their efforts.

After making his worlds debut in the road race last year, it was Shmidt’s first crack at the TT worlds. It wasn’t only his biggest result, but it was the longest TT for the 18-year-old at 28.8km, the same distance covered by the more experienced U23 men the previous day.

“It was very difficult, and it was 35 minutes. The longest TT I’ve done as a junior is 25 minutes, so to do 10 minutes more is quite tough, but I made the best of it and I finished top 10, which is good,” Shmidt told VeloNews. “It was a great experience [in the hotseat] and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t get to sit there for long, but I made my time of it for sure.

“It is the first time for me in the TT so it’s definitely a new experience. For the road race, I know what to expect, I raced against the guys already so I think I should be ready.”

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Shmidt has been working on specific efforts in training in recent months with Tuesday’s TT in mind and he went in confident that he would be able to pace himself better than some of his rivals over the extra-long course.

The American seemed to fare better in the second half of the lap, which was much less technical than the first part.

While he lost a bit of ground early on, he made that up as he hit the finish line for the first time. He was slightly slower once again as he rounded the course toward the third time check but he had the energy still in the bank to claw that back as he finished his run.

“I knew since the TT was long that I was going to have to reserve energy. I knew a lot of guys were going to go fast in the beginning and probably die at the end because nobody in the junior ranks is known to do a 35-minute TT. I was told to keep it easy in the first half and then give it all in the second half,” he said.

Shmidt will have another opportunity to race this week with the junior men’s road race coming up Friday morning. The riders will tackle 10 laps of a course around Wollongong, which is slightly longer than the one they faced Tuesday.

It features two climbs on each lap, Mount Ousley followed by the steeper Mount Pleasant. Shmidt contested the road race last season where he finished … and he is hoping that he can use the form he had in the TT to improve on that.

“A lot of these guys are strong and in really good shape, I’m in really good shape, too. I think the road race should be really good. The road race you can’t really predict it but I’m hoping to go top 10,” he told VeloNews.

Shmidt is in his second and final season as a junior and he will be stepping into the U23 ranks from next year with the Hagens Berman Axeon team, where he’s hoping to add to his growing palmarès.

“When I was 17, I went over to Europe for the first time and spent half a season there winning a couple of European races, and this season I spent most of my season in Europe since February pretty much. I’m really enjoying the sport,” he said.

“All the good racing is there and if you want to make it as a cyclist then you’ve got to be in Europe and that’s what I was told. So, I went over to Europe with my team Hot Tubes. I am looking forward to racing again in Europe next year.”