Ellen van Dijk ends long wait for second world championship time trial title

  • Dutch racer wins in Belgium eight years after first success
  • Van Dijk endures ‘nerve-racking’ wait before securing win

Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands endured a long and painful wait for her second world time trial title, eight years after she won for the first time at the 2013 championship in Tuscany. On Monday the Dutch racer set a blistering time after starting 19th in the 50-rider field and had to endure almost an hour’s wait before her teammate, the Olympic champion Annemiek van Vleuten, approached the finish line and it finally became clear that Van Dijk had won gold.

One of the enduring images of world championships this week will be the 34-year-old’s sudden transition to a state of tearful joy as Van Vleuten had 300 metres to go and the clock made it clear that Van Dijk’s time of 36min 05sec for the 30 kilometres would stand.

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Filippo Ganna edges out Van Aert to win world championships time-trial crown

  • Italian defends title by beating home favourite by 5sec
  • Evenepoel takes bronze medal, Ethan Hayter is eighth

The Italian Filippo Ganna broke Flemish hearts on the opening day of the world road race championships in the Belgian cycling heartland by taking a narrow victory in the elite men’s time trial. Ganna pushed the home favourite Wout van Aert into second by only five seconds – “A silver too many,” the Belgian said – with the youthful Flemish hope Remco Evenepoel taking the bronze medal.

The specialists in the field were favoured by a pan-flat course that began with a start ramp on the beach at Knokke-Heist on the North Sea coast, closing among the canals and ornate townhouses of Bruges. The defending champion, Ganna paced his effort to perfection over the 43.3km, setting a record speed of over 54km/h for the event, and punching the air as he crossed the finish line just over five seconds faster than Van Aert.

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Lizzie Deignan still Britain’s best hope at Road World Championships

The squads are full of talent but such is the strength in depth of the opposition that success in Flanders is difficult to predict

Great Britain will field some of their strongest teams ever for the Road World Championships this coming week in Flanders. The squads are bursting with youthful talents such as the Olympic gold medallist Tom Pidcock and Pfeiffer Georgi, but such is the strength and the depth of the opposition in the elite events at least that their chances are all but impossible to predict.

The best medal hope lies with the 2015 women’s elite champion, Lizzie Deignan, as it has done for a decade now, apart from her break to give birth to her daughter, Orla. Deignan has yet to hit the heights she achieved in 2020; her only win to date is the Tour of Switzerland, but she now faces a busy end of the season, with the first women’s Paris-Roubaix and the UK Women’s Tour following immediately after Flanders.

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