Future stars showcase their talent on day three
They say that Yorkshire roads forge champions and today was a day that made that statement ring true; as inclement weather struck day three of this year’s world championships.
Today’s action began with the Men Under 23 Individual Time Trial and despite the rain, the crowds turned out in force in Ripon. The weather, which would go on to be described as ‘biblical’, played a huge part in proceedings as the race saw thrills, spills and the confirmation of a star rider by the name of Mikkel Bjerg.
All eyes were on the young Danish rider who was on a hat trick, having won this race in both 2017 and 2018, and he would not disappoint manoeuvring his way through treacherous conditions to take the title.
It was clear that Bjerg was the hot favourite, but there were plenty of strong riders in the field that would give him a run for his money; one of which was fellow countryman Johan Price-Pejtersen who had beaten his compatriot at both the Danish National Championships and the European Championships.
This battle for time would be, unfortunately, short lived as Price-Pejtersen suffered a heavy crash and came in over 11 minutes down.
Another Dane, Matthias Jorgensen held on to second place for a while but Bjerg’s biggest threats came from an American duo, Ian Garrison and Brandon McNulty.
McNulty finished last year but couldn’t do enough to beat teammate Garrison, finishing in Harrogate a second down.
Despite being the last rider of the ramp in increasingly worse conditions, Bjerg showed his class and put on a dominant display to take his third world title in as many years and truly put his stamp on world cycling at such a young age.
The Elite Women ITT was expected to see history repeat itself and see yet another hat trick of rainbows, this time for Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands.
However, a dominant performance, one unrivalled at this level, saw 22-year-old American, Chloe Dygert finish almost two minutes in front of returning favourite van Vleuten and a minute and a half in front of runner up, Anna van der Breggen.
The early pace came from Belarusian Alena Amialiusik, but the real story of the day would come from Dygert, who passed no less than eight riders on her way to victory.
It’s becoming a case of always the bridesmaid and never the bride for Anna van der Breggen, as the reigning road race world champion finished second for the fourth time in five years.
She put in a great ride and set a fantastic time that on any other day would’ve seen the Dutch rider finish first overall, but it was not to be and her eyes will now be on retaining Saturday’s road race crown.
With van der Breggen sat in second place behind Dygert, only van Vleuten could change the standings, but the 37-year-old could only finish with a bronze medal after the two dominant displays ahead of her.