Norway’s Foss wins cycling world time-trial crown

Norway’s Foss wins cycling world time-trial crown

Norway’s Foss wins cycling world time-trial crown

Norway’s Tobias Foss pulled off a huge upset to dethrone two-time defending champion Filippo Ganna and claim a maiden time-trial title at cycling’s road world championships in Australia on Sept. 18.

The 25-year-old conquered the 34.2-kilometer circuit in 40 minutes 02.78 seconds to edge Swiss powerhouse Stefan Kung by 2.95 seconds.

Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel, fresh from winning the Vuelta a Espana Grand Tour this month, was 9.16 seconds adrift in third on the opening day of the championships at Wollongong, 80 kilometers south of Sydney.

Italy’s Ganna, the current standard bearer in time-trial racing, could only finish seventh, 56 seconds off the pace.

Slovenia’s two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar, who is not a pure time trial specialist, came sixth.

Foss won the Tour de l’Avenir in 2020, but was not among the favorites and he was stunned by the win.

“This is some kind of dream, I don’t believe it, it’s so unreal,” he said.

“My legs were really good ... I was confident I was in good shape, but this is more than I can dream for.”

Kung, who was fifth at the world titles last year, was fastest through both the first and second time checks and looked destined to win. But he lost 13 seconds over the final phase.

Home favorite Lucas Plapp set the early pace before European champion Stefan Bissegger went faster, the first rider to average more than 50 kilometers per hour, until his time was shattered by Foss.

Britain’s Ethan Hayter looked destined to go close to Foss, but disaster struck mid-race when his chain came off forcing him to change bikes and he finished fourth.

Last year’s runner-up, Wout van Aert of Belgium, was a notable absentee.

Van Aert has opted to focus on the elite road race next weekend where he aims to topple French two-time champion Julian Alaphilippe.

In the women’s race, Dutch ace Ellen van Dijk successfully defended her crown for her third career title, outpacing Australia’s Grace Brown and European champion Marlen Reusser.

The 35-year-old was the final rider down the ramp and chased down Brown’s blistering early pace to win by 12.73 seconds in 44 minutes 28.60 seconds and clinch another title, having also won in 2013. Switzerland’s Reusser was third, 41.68 seconds adrift.

In a major upset, two-time title holder and Olympic champion Annemiek van Vleuten failed to make the podium, with the Dutchwoman managing only seventh, a huge 1 minute 43.02 seconds behind Van Dijk.

“I never expected to win. I didn’t think it was a perfect course for me but I had a good mental and physical approach with my coach,” said Van Dijk.

“I just thought I would give it my all today, a podium spot would be nice, but if it’s not, it’s not, I still had a great year. I never thought I would win today.”