Remco Evenepoel made good on another of his lifetime goals, becoming the first-ever Belgian winner of the time trial world championship in Stirling today, holding off double-winner Filippo Ganna of Italy and decimating the rest of the field in the process.
Bronze medalist Josh Tarling of the UK, all of 19 years old, set a brilliant standard for the top riders to beat, blowing away much of the day’s competition by more than a minute over then-leader Nelson Oliveira of Portugal. But though it was getting late and Tarling’s performance looked like it would put him on the podium, the two biggest favorites out on the road were putting the young Welshman on notice that he wouldn’t be getting fitted for rainbow stripes just yet. Ganna came into the first time check six seconds faster than Tarling (who owned all of the time checks for a while), and Evenepoel four seconds off Ganna’s pace.
Evenepoel said afterwards that he felt better than he had hoped at that point, and hit the gas. By the second check he had pulled back 16 seconds and now led the decorated Italian, who held the rainbow jersey for two years until Tobias Foss’ major upset last September — seemingly eliminating Tarling from contention 38” back. From there the two were basically even, Ganna pulling back two seconds at the third check but conceding them back at the line, a 12% cobblestone climb that probably did the supersized Ganna no favors.
Evenepoel’s win is the first for a Belgian in the discipline, which did not exist in Eddy Merckx’s day. His countryman Wout Van Aert battled for the honor of setting this mark, but was beaten by the top three and American Brandon McNulty, settling for fifth place. Australian Rohan Dennis saw his shot at a medal fall when he dropped a chain on the final climb and slipped to seventh, just behind Oliveira.
- EVENEPOEL Remco, BEL, 55.19,23
- GANNA Filippo, ITA, 55.31,51
- TARLING Joshua, UK, 56.07,43
- MCNULTY Brandon, USA, 56.46,14
- VAN AERT Wout, BEL, 56.56,46
Men Elite: Stirling 47.8 km
Rouleur showdown day.
Laird of the Day: Filippo Ganna
Men Junior: Stirling 22.8 km
Kiddie racing to start the day.
Wee Laird of the Day: Theodor Storm
The name is very appropriate this week.