Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Denmark) produced a sensational ride to win gold in the junior men time trial at the UCI Road World Championships. The Dane set the fastest time at all the intermediate splits, finishing in a time of 35:07.68.
He had an anxious wait on the race leader’s hot seat as Australia's David Edwards looked like upsetting the home crowd. However the Australian faded in the closing half of the race, finishing in third place behind James Oram (New Zealand), who had led for most of the competition.
"I just wanted to do my best and do the best time trial I could. It was amazing. This is the biggest moment of my life and it's not sunk in yet. It's the greatest day of my life, it's so amazing. It's going to take some time to sink in," an ecstatic Wurtz Schmidt said at the finish.
"I thought I could do a good time but this an amazing feeling, sitting here in Copenhagen. Sitting there and waiting for the others to finish was extremely hard," he said.
Under grey skies and windy conditions the junior men set out along the 27.8 kilometer course. The first serious time was set down by Oram, who disposed of the early pace setter, Ruben Zepuntke (Germany).
The Kiwi was in the hot seat and remained there for the majority of the race as rider after rider failed to make an impression on his time. Sondre Enger (Norway) Juriy Vasyliv (Germany) both started well but faded, while Casper Von Folsach (Denmark) briefly had the home crowd on tenterhooks as he hung in for bronze.
Von Folsach had come into the race as the nation's main medal hope; no one had been expecting anything from Schmidt, who was competing in the junior ranks at the Worlds for the first time.
But that changed when the 17-year-old burst through the first time check and was 11 seconds faster than Oram. Murmurs that he'd started too quickly were quickly put to bed as he continued to lead through the second time check, although his advantage was down to just over four seconds.
Into the finishing straight and Oram already knew that the writing was on the wall as the Dane closed in on the line, finishing in a time of 35:07.68, four seconds faster.
Collapsing at the line the Danish team almost hesitated before rushing over to help him, so stunned they were with his performance.
"I knew that I was setting the fastest times and I didn't want my pace to drop. I wasn't worried though and I was able to get even quicker as the race went on. At the end I was completely dead though," Wurtz Schmidt said.
He was quickly moved to the hot seat, with Oram moving into the silver position and Sweden's Faglum-Karlsson briefly moving down to third. The baby-faced Dane then had an anxious wait with more than a dozen riders still out on the course. The biggest threat lay in David Edwards, who came through the first time check in second place, only six seconds adrift of Schmidt.
That gap was reduced to four at the second time check and it looked as though the home crowd's hopes would be dashed but as the clock ticked down it was clear that the Australian was losing ground and suddenly he was battling to keep a place on the podium.
Schmidt was able to peak up at the clock just as the Australian crossed the line and although several riders were yet to cross the line, he knew, or at least the crowd did, that gold was a certainty.
Oram, took defeat admirably though, accepting that he'd been beaten by the better rider on the day.
"To be in the hot seat pretty much all day and still end up on the podium is amazing, I couldn't have asked for more," he said. "I'm over the moon actually. I came to the Worlds with the expectation of being extremely happy to finish in the top five."
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.