Karlijn Swinkels grabbed the first rainbow jersey at the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016 winning the Women’s Junior Individual Time Trial title yesterday.
The 17-year-old crushed the field finishing in 18:21.77 with an average speed of 44.764 km/h. Italy’s Lisa Morzenti finished second in 18:29.12 and French Juliette Labous secured the bronze in 18:43.12.
Germans Marco Mathis and Maximilian Schachmann pulled off a dominant time trial performance and went one-two in the Men’s Under-23 Time Trial.
Swinkels, who was sixth in the Individual Time Trial at the European Championships, became the first Dutch woman to take the women’s junior title in this event.
“I’m very proud. I did not expect it at all. It’s a dream come true. I can’t describe how I feel.”
Talking about her race tactics she said, “We came here on Thursday. On Friday we did very low pressure training because we had to acclimatise. But on the second day we trained on the track and I did every turn at least ten times, so I knew it perfect. The race’s first kilometres were very hot, because you do the warm-up in a very cold room, but after two kilometres I just did not think about it, just ride.”
Swinkels was second in the Netherlands’s junior national time trial championships earlier this summer. She has three other podium finishes in 2016 Nations Cup races.
Two Americans rode to top-five finishes in the individual test: Skylar Schneider was fourth, and Hannah Arensman was fifth. Three Italians also finished among the top 10.
Schneider rode a fast time late in the order, 18:51.80. The American was only bettered by Swinkels and Morzenti, who had started fourth and second to last. Only Labous remained on course, and Schneider seemed to be set for a bronze medal. But, Labous closed fast to finish in 18:43.12, stepping up from her fifth-place in Richmond last year.
“I’m very satisfied. I did not know what to expect from the race. Finishing first is always difficult but I’m happy with the silver,” Morzenti, who came into the race as European champion, said.
Commenting over Italians’ success in time trialling she said, “We have been training together for weeks, both for the European Championships and the World Championships. We’ve gotten close together and the good relationship we have really helped us perform well in this race.”
Labous, who finished fifth last year, sounded satisfied with her show. “My aim was to win, but coming third is also good. It’s a medal and I’m happy with a medal. Last year I was disappointed, but here I’m happy,” she said.
“I went full gas from the beginning, but I knew that at the end it would be very hard with the heat, so that was mentally hard. I gave everything in the end, because I knew that this was the place to make the difference.
“We have the road race ahead. We have a strong team so we want to win this race. My season is already good, because I signed a contract with Team Liv-Plantur, so I will be a professional rider and that was my aim of the season.”
Elena Pirrone was the first rider to leave the start ramp at The Pearl-Qatar. She finished in 19:05.44 and stayed in the hot seat only until the eleventh starter Franziska Brausse became the first rider to beat the 19-minute barrier on the 13.7-kilometre loop when she finished in 18:56.03.
Pirrone was quite satisfied with the conditions: “It was not as windy as I expected to be. I improved my position, so I’m generally very happy with how I did today. It was hot, but that was really OK.”
The South American riders were not able to get anywhere near the podium with Pan-American champion Tatiana Duenas ending up as best South American in 19th place. The Colombian was satisfied however: “I’m quite happy because this is only my second year of competition and first World Championships. I hope my country gives even more support to women’s cycling in the future,” she said.
In the men’s section Mathis, 22, claimed the world championship title in the under-23 time trial race, finishing ahead of his teammate Schachmann, who was also second in the 2015 worlds U-23 time trial.
“It was my course, absolutely flat and technical,” Mathis said.
The win was even sweeter for the Germans as another teammate, Lennard Kamna, last year’s bronze medallist in the race, finished fourth.
Mathis was one of the early starters and put down a time that was not to be bettered by other 72 riders in the category.
“I badly wanted to win and I really went all out,” said Australian Miles Scotson, who finished third. “It was a tough race, but a good race for me.”
Neilson Powless, US team’s best hope for a medal at the Worlds, could only manage a sixth place, 54 seconds behind, and just nine seconds ahead of his teammate Geoffrey Curran.
Defending champion Mads Wurtz Schmidt had a forgettable outing. The Dane could only manage 21st place, more than two minutes behind. Another pre-race favourite, Italian Filippo Ganna, world pursuit champion, finished 14th.
Time trial races continue today with the junior men’s and the elite women’s events.
Women Junior Individual Time Trial
1. Karlijn Swinkels (NED) 18:21.77
2. Lisa Morzenti (ITA) +7.35
3. Juliette Labous (FRA) +21.35
4. Skylar Schneider (USA) +30.03
5. Hannah Arensman (USA) +34.05
6. Franziska Brau?e (GER) +34.26
7. Simone EG (DEN) +38.41
8. Alessia Vigilia (ITA) +42.13
9. Madeleine Fasnacht (AUS) +43.60
10. Elena Pirrone (ITA) +43.67
Men’s Under-23 Individual Time Trial
1. Marco Mathis (GER) 34:08.09
2. Maximilian Schachmann (GER) +18.63
3. Miles Scotson (AUS) +37.98
4. Lennard Kamna (GER) +42.30
5. Kasper Asgreen (DEN) +50.58
6. Neilson Powless (USA) +54.17
7. Geoffrey Curran (USA) +1:05.45
8. Tom Bohli (SUI) +1:16.24
9. Eddie Dunbar (IRL) +1:21.59
10. Callum Scotson (AUS) +1:22.30
Karlijn Swinkels (also inset) of the Netherlands crosses the finish line to win the Women’s Junior Individual Time Trial event at the 2016 UCI Road World Championships yesterday. (AFP)