The new queen of Dutch women’s cycling has claimed the world time trial championship.
Ellen Van Dijk (Netherlands) smashed the opposition to record a winning margin of 24.10 seconds over a pan flat 22.5km course in Florence.
Van Dijk, whose successful 2013 campaign brought her third overall in the UCI Women’s Road World Cup, had far too much power for her rivals on a course that rewarded rhythm and watts.
British riders were absent from the field, but a world class line up delivered a thrilling finish, thanks largely to accurate seedings.
Trixi Worrak (Germany) produced a heroic effort to post the fastest time some 7.85 seconds faster than Denmark’s Annika Langvad, but her tenure at the top of the time sheets was short lived, with Carmen Small (USA) going three seconds quicker soon afterwards.
Out of the course, two of the pre-race favourites, Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) and Evelyn Stevens (USA) continued their relentless march to the finish, with Villumsen encumbered with the knowledge that she had been 20 seconds slower than Stevens at the first time check. Would she have a fast enough finish?
Olga Zabalenskay who bagged a bronze medal in the elite women’s time trial at the London Olympic Games, crossed the line fourth fastest, but with the big guns still out on the course, the Russian would see her position fall to seventh.
Villumsen, the reigning New Zealand champion, and previously a silver and bronze medalist in the 2010 and 2009 world time trial championships, had to settle for silver again.
Villumsen’s effort in clawing back her early deficit to Stevens was a fine achievement. Stevens also lost out to her team-mate, Carmen Small, who finished third.
Van Dijk, however, had the greatest reason to celebrate, and after toiling for so long in the shadow of her incomparable countrywoman, Marianne Vos, enjoyed her day in the Florentine sun.
UCI Elite Women’s world time trial championships – result
1) Ellen Van Dijk (NED) – 27.48.18
2) Linda Villumsen (NZL) +24.10
3) Carmen Small (USA) +28.74
4) Evelyn Stevens (USA) +28.78
5) Trixi Worrack (GER) + 31.66
6) Annika Langvad (DEN) +39.51
7) Olga Zabelinskaya (RUS) +40.30
8) Ganna Solovey (SWE) +42.48
9)Tatiana Antoshina (RUS) +42.57
10) Emma Johansson (SWE) +52.98