This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Severine Eraud (France) claimed an impressive come-from-behind victory to win the junior women's individual time trial at the UCI road world championships in Florence, Italy on Monday.
The 18-year-old narrowly defeated two Australians, beating Alexandria Nicholls by 2.7 seconds and Alexandra Manly by 8.17.
Eraud, the European champion in the discipline, was the last rider to start, and lay in fourth place at the intermediate check, a full 13.5 seconds slower than Nicholls. When she heard the split, she nearly gave up hope of winning the rainbow jersey.
"After the time split I knew I was only fourth fastest and so didn’t think I could win and was aiming for the podium. That made victory amazing and unexpected," Eraud said, crediting her federation for the result.
"There's a lot of development work done by the French Federation, the results the young French professional riders are achieving is proof of that, and I hope it continues in the future."
Nicholls, the very first rider to set off down the start ramp, had set the fastest intermediate check and sat in the hot seat as all of the other 46 competitors tackled the 16.19km course. Thirty minutes later, her compatriot Manly came through with the second fastest time, and it looked as though Australia would take the top two spots rider after rider failed to approach their pace. Only Eraud's late surge relegated Nicholls to second.
"I'm not disappointed, I'm actually surprised by my performance," Nicholls said. "I didn't think I'd be able to get a medal and I even went close to victory."
Manly was pleased to stand on the podium with her teammate. "I really liked the route and it’s great we both finished on the podium. It's a pity it wasn't the top step but we're happy."