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WOLLONGONG, Australia — Ellen van Dijk defended his title and won a third time trial gold medal at the opening event of the road cycling world championships on Sunday.

Taking advantage of a technical course in the seaside town of Wollongong, south of Sydney, van Dijk maintained a perfect cadence to beat the Australian Grace Brown for 12.79 seconds to defend the time trial gold she won last year. Swiss rival Marlen Reusser took bronze.

In the men’s event, the unprecedented Norwegian Tobias Foss had a shocking victory for his first world title.

In the women’s event, Brown was an early starter and set an impressive time of 44 minutes 41.33 seconds around the 21.3-mile course, which none of the other 45 players could come close to until van Dijk’s final par. and Reusser both scored faster on the first check.

Reusser then slowed to finish over 41 seconds of Brown’s time, but van Dijk won his third gold medal in a time of 44:28.60 on the two-lap circuit.

“It was the perfect course for me. (But) I never thought I would win today, actually,” said the 35-year-old who won her first gold in 2013. “I had no idea how I was riding… I accelerated my effort really well.

“It was nice to see Reusser a little ahead of me towards the end, so I knew it wasn’t a bad day for sure. But I was so surprised by the ending.”

The US has gone three straight years without a women’s time trial medal for the first time since 2002-04.

Lia Thomasthe only US Olympian between the men’s and women’s races, and Kristen Faulkner were fifth and sixth, respectively.

Chloe DygertAmerica’s top road cyclist has lost worlds after last month undergoing surgery on her third left leg as a result of her horrific accident in the September 2020 World Championships time trial.

Olympic time trial champion and two-time world champion Annemiek van Vleuten finished seventh, more than 90 seconds behind compatriot van Dijk. Van Vleuten, 39, said in June that he plans to retire after the 2023 season.

Foss clocked 40:02.95 on the same course for the biggest win of his professional career and capped off a notable surprise at the end of the opening day of the road world championships.

Most expected a gold medal showdown between the two-time world champion Italy Filippo Ganna and rising star Remco Evenepoelwho last week became the first Belgian in 44 years to win a Grand Tour by winning the Vuelta a Espana.

But Evenepoel only got bronze, 9.16 seconds off the pace, while the Swiss Stefan Kung was second at 2.95 behind Foss, who could be seen shaking his head in apparent disbelief as the more imagined rivals failed to improve on his time.

Ganna finished seventh, 55.32 seconds behind Foss, with the Slovenian Tadej Pogacartwice champion of the Tour de France, in sixth.

Magnus Sheffield, a 20-year-old American, took fourth place in the last intermediate division, about 15 miles into the 21-mile course. He then crashed over a barrier and came back to finish 17th.

“I got a little greedy in one of the corners, but I think I let it all out,” Sheffield said, according to SBS in Australia.

british knight Ethan Hayter kept the lead at the first checkpoint, but had to change bikes when he dropped the chain and finished fourth in 39.95 seconds.

Foss’s only previous professional wins were two Norwegian time trial championships and the national road racing title, but he showed his emerging potential by winning the 2019 Tour de l’Avenir.

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