This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Oskar Svendsen (Norway) claimed the junior time trial crown at the world championships in Valkenburg, 14 years after Thor Hushovd won the U23 title in the same discipline. The 18-year-old put in a well-paced performance that Hushovd would have been proud of, improving steadily throughout the race to win by 7 seconds from Matej Mohoric (Slovenia) and Maximilian Schachmann (Germany). Defending champion Mads Schmidt (Denmark) finished in 8th in the 26.6 km race.
Svendsen, who came into the race with hopes of only a top ten place, set off conservatively, posting the 9th fastest time at the first time check. He was 6th fastest at the second check but timed his race perfectly, zipping up the Cauberg to win the title in a time of 35:34:75.
“Winning was a really big surprise. I had high hopes for the top ten. I did the Europeans and was 11th and I was sick this week. I could never imagine winning,” Svendsen said at the finish.
“The race went well from the start. I tried to save some of my power for the hills and for the last 10 kilometres I left everything I had out there.”
Mohoric raced a similar tactic. The Slovenian took even longer to warm up, coming through the first time check in a lowly 28th place. However he gradually began to find his legs and despite being 30 seconds off lead at the second check, he too used the final third of the race to move onto the podium.
“I knew I could do a good time trial as my level has been high recently,” Mohoric said.
“I was very excited about the race and the time trial. When I came to the last two climbs I still had something left in the tank and I went hard,” he added.
Schachmann on the other hand was consistent throughout and but for a mechanical in the final kilometre he could have finished higher than third but at the top of the Cauberg he was unable to change gear and forced to spin a lighter gear than his rivals in the final 1.7 kilometres.
With the Sibbegrubbe and Cauberg both coming within the final 7 kilometres of the race, a paced effort on the course was key. Mathias Krigbaum (Denmark), Ryan Mullen (Ireland) and Jan Brockhoff (Germany) were among the fastest at the first time check but all faded in the second half.
Krigbaum had dropped from first to third and would eventually finish fifth, while Brockhoff and Mullen would have to settle for 9th and 16th respectfully.
Twelve years after Hushovd’s win the U23 time trial at the Valkenburg Worlds, Svendsen who was six in 1998, said that the Norwegian professional had been an obvious inspiration.
“It’s been really inspiring to see that a Norwegians can do so well. We don’t have many top cyclists but the ones we do are some of the best in the world. Thor and Edvald Boasson Hagen are both so inspiring.”