Filippo Ganna wins back-to-back time trial world titles

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BRUGGE, Belgium — Defending champion Filippo Ganna of Italy shattered home fans’ hopes of a 1-2 for their riders and retained the men’s time trial title to secure back-to-back gold medals at the road world championships.

On the opening day of the week-long event in Belgium, Ganna won with a small margin of just over five seconds to beat Wout van Aert for the second year running. Remco Evenepoel, another Belgian rider, claimed the bronze medal, 43.34 seconds behind Ganna.

The flat course taking competitors through the cycling-mad Flanders region did not feature any technical difficulty and was perfectly suited to Ganna, a pure specialist of the race against the clock.

As the defending champion, Ganna was the last down the starting ramp. The Italian rider was behind van Aert at both intermediate checks on the 43.3-kilometer (26.9-mile) course between the seaside resort of Knokke-Heist and the picturesque city of Brugge but produced a perfectly paced effort throughout to prevail.

Ganna won in 47 minutes, 47.83 seconds at an impressive average speed of 54 kph.

“I think in one week, my condition (improved) really well. After the short camp at altitude, I did the European Championships but the legs didn’t spin very well,” said Ganna, who finished runner-up behind Stefan Kung in the European championships time trial earlier this month.

“I didn’t know if I could arrive at the world championships with good sensations and good shape but today when I woke up, I had a good feeling in my legs and in my head I just dreamed to win again today,” he said.

Spurred on by the thousands of vocal Belgian fans lining the roads and chanting “Wout! Wout! Wout!” van Aert took all the risks. His back wheel slid into a curve at the first check but the Belgian stabilized his bike to avoid a crash.

Van Aert, a versatile competitor with multiple titles and wins across the sport’s most prestigious events, is also targeting the road race and is among the main contenders for the gold medal in next Sunday’s race.

Olympic champion Primoz Roglic sat out the worlds time trial while Tokyo silver medalist Tom Dumoulin was absent due to a wrist injury.

The women’s time trial is scheduled for Monday.

Norway takes gold-medal lead at world road cycling titles

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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Soren Waerenskjold repeated Norway’s gold medal success at the world road cycling championships a day after Tobias Foss finished first in the elite men’s time trial.

Waerenskjold won the men’s under-23 time trial on the second day of the championships with a dominant performance. He clocked 34 minutes, 13.40 seconds over the 28.8-kilometer course to beat Belgian Alec Segaert by 16.34 seconds.

British rider Leo Hayter, the younger brother of elite rider Ethan Hayter, was 24.16 seconds off the pace for the bronze medal.

Foss beat a strong field to win the elite time trial, the biggest win of his career.

Norway has two gold medals, while Dutch ace Ellen van Dijk beat Australian Grace Brown to take out the women’ elite time trial.

The mixed relay time trial is set for Wednesday. The championships conclude on the weekend with the women’s road race on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday.

Ellen van Dijk defends time trial title at cycling worlds

95th UCI Road World Championships 2022 - Women Individual Time Trial
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WOLLONGONG, Australia – Ellen van Dijk defended her title and claimed a third women’s time trial gold medal at the opening event of the world road cycling championships on Sunday.

Taking advantage of a technical course the Dutch star maintained a perfectly paced cadence to beat Australia’s Grace Brown by 12.79 seconds to defend the time trial gold she won last year. Swiss rival Marlen Reusser took bronze.

Local favorite Brown was one of the early staters and set a blistering time around the 34.2 kilometer (21.3 miles) course at the scenic coastal town center of Wollongong, south of Sydney.

No other in the 45-strong field could get close to Brown’s time of 44 minutes 41.33 seconds until the final pair of van Dijk and Reusser, who claimed silver at last year’s world championships in Belgium, both clocked faster at the first time check.

Reusser then faded to finish more than 41 seconds off Brown’s time, but van Dijk powered on to claim her third gold medal in a time of 44:28.60.

Olympic time trial champion and two-time world champion Annemiek van Vleuten finished seventh, more than 90 seconds behind compatriot van Dijk.

Later Sunday, Vuelta a Espana winner Remco Evenepoel from Belgium, Italian two-time defending world champion Filippo Ganna and two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar from Slovenia headline the men’s event.

Other major races are the mixed relay time trial on Wednesday and the women’s road race next Saturday before the men’s race on the closing day Sunday, with local star and Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley racing the clock to recover from COVID-19 to take his place in the race.