Dutch courage on day one
There was a world first on day one of the 2019 UCI Road World Championships as the Netherlands were crowned the first ever Team Time Trial Mixed Relay world champions.
The event, that had first been seen in action at the European Championships last month, saw some of the biggest names in cycling head over to Harrogate to take part. The start list included a heap of talent that included 4-time world ITT champion Tony Martin, reigning European road race champion Elia Viviani, Amy Pieters (of the reigning European Road Championships Mixed Team Relay team) and Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini.
The race saw six riders, three male and three female, take on the 27.6km course. The three male riders set off first and tackled one lap of the Harrogate circuit, once the second of the male riders crossed the finish line, the female riders then set off to take on their lap. The team’s overall time was then taken when the second female rider crossed the finish line.
It was a damp day in Harrogate, making the twists, turns and climbs on the fabled Harrogate circuit even more tricky and technical which just added to the excitement of this new world championship spectacle.
The UCI WCC team set of first, with favourites Germany and The Netherlands scheduled for the final two outings off the ramp.
Spain and Belgium added their times to the board, but a surprise package came in the form of Great Britain. The team of Lauren Dolan, Anna Henderson, Joscelin Lowden, John Archibald, Dan Bigham and Harry Tanfield electrified the home crowd from the start and by the third time split had blitzed the competition with their closest competitors at the time, Belgium, 50 seconds down; by the time they finished their race, Great Britain was in the lead by 1.41 over their Belgian rivals.
Slovenia, Switzerland, France and Denmark set off next, but all handed over to their female riders with a time deficit on Great Britain. A wheel change for Denmark spelled the end for them before Switzerland suffered some horrendous misfortune of their own, as Elise Chabbey had to swap bikes on the run in to the finish and then suffered a slight crash into the barriers meaning they crossed the line in second, despite a great showing throughout.
France capitalised on the Swiss’ misfortune and edged them out by just under four seconds, to go second with Great Britain still sitting pretty on the hot seat.
It was soon edge of the seat time for the Brits though as Italy, Germany and Holland all took to the course.
Italy had a great start but saw Elisa Longo Borghini, arguably their strongest female rider dropped after a mechanical and she exerted a lot of energy trying to ride back on, however this proved fruitless as the team faded to third fastest.
The favourites Germany and The Netherlands showed their strength and justified their early backing as Germany went 28 seconds up on Great Britain before The Netherlands, made up of Lucinda Brand, Riejanne Markus, Amy Pieters, Koen Bouwman, Bauke Mollema and Jos van Emden, put in a fantastic ride to cross the line 22.75 seconds up on Germany and 51.27 seconds ahead of the long-time leaders Great Britain.