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Ellen van Dijk put in a dominant ride to claim her second time trial world title Monday.
Van Dijk spent much of the day in the hot seat after setting a crushingly fast time early in the race and had to endure a tense wait as Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) came close to toppling her mark.
Reusser was unable to repeat her recent European championship victory over van Dijk and finished second, while van Vleuten made it a Dutch one-three on the podium.
The win was van Dijk’s second world title after also winning in 2013. The 34-year-old Trek-Segafredo rider has enjoyed a stellar late-summer, winning the European road race title and placing second to Reusser in the Euros TT.
“It’s so emotional, it’s been a dream so long to get that world title again,” van Dijk said.
“Everything felt so good this year, but there was Marlen Reusser, so strong, so strong. I knew I had a really good level, but I knew also she was super strong. The last couple of weeks she (Reusser) beat me in every time trial and I knew it would be super-difficult to win – I would have to race the best ever time trial.”
Now with 32 individual and team time trial victories over a 15-season stretch, van Dijk is undoubtedly one of the dominant time trialists of her generation.
“This is my discipline, and this was a really good course for me, and I put everything into it,” she said. “It’s really a dream come true.”
Van Dijk set a staggeringly fast mark toward the start of the day and was the first rider to cover the 30km course at a pace faster than 50kph. Van Dijk topped countrywoman Riejanne Markus’ early ride into the hotseat by two minutes, and her spot at the top of the scoresheet went untroubled for some time afterward.
Van Dijk’s time looked unstoppable until the final flurry of riders rolled down the ramp in Knokke-Heist. The American veteran Amber Neben was in the final five starters and pushed out a strong opening half of the course and hung tough through the final to post a time that left her fourth at the end of the day.
As expected, Reusser was the first serious threat to van Dijk’s gold medal position and went a fraction faster than the Dutchwoman through the first section of the course. Van Vleuten followed soon behind Reusser but was lagging 16 seconds back on her Swiss rival after the 14km time check.
Reusser held her form through the final stretch of the course but was unable to match van Dijk’s red-hot finish, crossing the line 11 seconds down on the Dutchwoman to finish second.
Like Reusser, van Vleuten was unable to hit the finishing speed of van Dijk and finished third, 24 seconds back. Van Dijk burst into tears when her countrywoman came to the finish in the realization that she had scored her second rainbow jersey after an agonizingly long wait in the race-leader’s chair.
Californian rider Leah Thomas was among the first batch of starters and posted a strong ride that left her 14th overall. She will now recover and refocus on the road race Saturday.
Defending champion Anna van der Breggen and 2019 rainbow jersey Chloé Dygert did not race.
World Championships WE - ITT Results
|1||VAN DIJK Ellen||Netherlands||36:05|
|3||VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek||Netherlands||0:24|
|4||NEBEN Amber||United States||1:24|
|8||LOWDEN Joscelin||Great Britain||1:59|
|14||THOMAS Leah||United States||2:50|
|22||VAN DE VELDE Julie||Belgium||3:07|
|25||GEORGI Pfeiffer||Great Britain||3:18|
|30||VAN DE VEL Sara||Belgium||4:08|
|34||HERNÁNDEZ Lina Marcela||Colombia||4:22|
|37||BJORNSDÓTTIR Agusta Edda||Iceland||4:54|
|38||JANSE VAN RENSBURG Frances||South Africa||5:16|
|40||PREEN Hayley||South Africa||5:36|
|42||COLMENARES Yeny Lorena||Colombia||6:15|
|44||GUNNARSDÓTTIR Bríet Kristý||Iceland||7:07|
Results provided by ProCyclingStats.