Van Dijk Victorious as Dutch Claim Gold and Silver
Ellen Van Dijk claimed her second time trial world title in Belgium, an incredible eight years after winning her first back in 2013, in a hotly contested battle that featured a strong pool of riders.
The 34-year-old finished just over 10 seconds ahead of silver medalist Marlen Reusser, while fellow compatriot, two-time winner of this event and most recently Olympic champion Annemiek van Vleuten failed to match her feat in Tokyo just a few months ago, as she rounded off the podium in third.
The 30.3km course, which runs from Knokke-Heist on the Dutch border and finishes in the centre of Bruges, proved to be the perfect match for Ellen Van Dijk. With just a 54m elevation gain, the powerful sprint specialist rolled off the starting platform shortly after fellow Dutch rider Riejanne Markus had set a respectable benchmark time of 38:05.
However, it quickly became clear that Van Dijk would set a new time to beat as she passed through the two intermediate checks in a blistering position. She crossed the line with a time of 36:05, averaging a staggering speed of just over 30mph (50kph).
The leader faced a long wait to find out if she would clinch the gold medal as a string of notable competitors lined up to try and knock her off her perch. Another former world champion Lisa Brennauer (Germany) also posted fast time checks at just under 30mph, but she was not fast enough to overtake Van Dijk, finishing with a time of 37:35, and in fifth place.
It wasn’t until eventual silver medalist Marlen Reusser took to the start line that Van Dijk’s leading time may be considered in danger. The Swiss 30-year-old, who won silver in this event in 2020 and in the Olympics in Tokyo, passed through the first time check three seconds ahead of Van Dijk, while she was also quicker through the second by just two seconds. However, she failed to maintain that unbelievable speed in the final 10 kilometres, eventually finishing ten seconds behind the gold medalist.
Wednesday sees the team time trial mixed relay take place along a similar route to the individual time trials, with hosts Belgium along with Italy and the Netherlands among the nations favoured to take the gold medal.