Johan Price-Pejtersen Brings Home Another U23 Title to Denmark
Johan Price-Pejtersen continued his storming form of late, beating silver medalist Luke Plapp by a margin of 10 seconds to add to his recent European title, as 2021 continues to be a fruitful year for the Dane.
He follows in the footsteps of fellow compatriot Mikkel Bjerg, who won the U23 time trial title in 2017, 2018, and 2019. It also means Denmark have produced five of the last six winners in this particular event, which Price-Pejtersen went on to comment on after claiming victory.
“In the past, I’ve been in the shadows of Mikkel because he’s been better than me and he’s also older than me.” Price-Pejtersen said.
“I could beat him sometimes but he was the best at the Worlds (Championships), so without him here I had a clear shot this time. I’m really satisfied I could step up and win.
“It’s good that Denmark won again, we’ve won five out of the last six World Championships and that’s important for the national team.”
With the eventual victor last to ride out of the competitors, it was looking like a hotly contested time trial as talented riders such as Ineos Grenadiers newest recruit Magnus Sheffield and eventual silver medalist Luke Plapp registered impressive times early on. The former got off to a surging start and registered a faster time after 13km than the latter, only for the American to fade as the course progressed.
Plapp’s time of 34:39 proved to be the one to beat throughout the day, with a host of riders including New Zealand’s Finn Fisher-Black and Great Britain’s Ethan Vernon failing to break the 35 minute mark.
After Belgium’s Wout Van Aert narrowly missed out on the gold medal in the senior men’s time trial earlier on, the anticipation started to build amongst the Belgian crowd when Florian Vermeersch stepped up to take on the 30km course.
After clocking in just two seconds slower than Plapp at the first checkpoint, his momentum started to fade and subsequently found himself seven seconds behind after 21km. However, he dug deep to register an incredible time of 34:41, just 1.15 seconds slower than Plapp which would see him secure a place on the podium come the end of proceedings.
Johan Price-Pejtersen was the last to ride, and it quickly became clear the 22-year-old would contest Plapp’s earlier ride as he finished second fastest at the first time split after 13km. However, it was in the final kilometres where the Dane really pushed hard and showed his undoubted class, eventually finishing 10 seconds ahead of the Australian to snatch the gold medal.
“At the European championships I exploded a bit in the finish, so I thought it was better to do a controlled ride, with a negative split in the first section,” said Price-Pejtersen as he explained his strategy.
“I had the advantage of starting last so I could see where my effort put me. I was told I was third and not far from the fastest time, so I knew I had to pick up the pace. I then gave it everything from the hard second split and pulled hard all the way to the end.”