Ellen van Dijk's silver medal was tinged with a bit of disappointment after she came so close to a second rainbow jersey in the elite women time trial at the UCI Road World Championships. Van Dijk (Netherlands) missed out by just six seconds to another former world champion in Amber Neben (United States).
"I wouldn't say I'm happy with it, but I can say that I'm satisfied. I went full gas out there, and silver is still silver, and Amber was simply better out there," Van Dijk said after collecting her silver medal.
It is the second time in recent months that van Dijk has left a major competition not entirely happy with her result. A mistake during the time trial at the Olympic Games in Rio, which saw her run off the road, ended up with her finishing just outside the medals in fourth place. This time, however, she does leave with a medal around her neck, to add to the gold that she won at the European Championships last month.
"Two times that I didn't get it but yes it is a silver medal," she said. "In Rio I was close to gold I think, but I screwed it up myself. I would have loved to take the rainbow stripes but I couldn't. It's a time trial, and I love time trialling because it is such an honest discipline because the best one wins, and today it was Amber. I have to settle for the second place.”
Van Dijk was the final rider of the third group to leave the start ramp just before 3 p.m. local time. Her first split was almost six seconds slower than Neben, but she had turned that around by the end of the first lap, posting the fastest time at that point. She forged on and passed an ailing Audrey Cordon but lost ground to Neben on the second go around the Pearl.
Van Dijk, who won gold with her Boels Dolmans team in the team time trial, had been one of the major favourites going into the event. She said afterwards that there was nothing more she could have done to take home the rainbow jersey.
"I think when you look at us you can see the difference. It's funny because you can see that a lot of different body types can do well on this course," van Dijk explained. "She did a very impressive ride; I don't know the difference. The difference was six seconds.
"There are all these things that you can improve all these corners were not perfect, but it's not that I did something wrong. This was it for today."
Van der Breggen unable to carry Olympic form into Worlds TT
On paper, the Dutch certainly had the strongest team with Annemiek van Vleuten and Olympic road race champion and time trial silver medallist Anna van der Breggen in the line-up for Tuesday's time trial. Van der Breggen went off last but immediately looked in trouble and eventually came home in 13th place. There was a short moment of concern when a bike moved across her as she was taking a roundabout, but the Dutchwoman says it didn't cost her much time.
"It was not the difference between victory and where I finished," she told Cyclingnews. “I knew that it was going to be a hard time trial for me because it is not totally the circuit for me, it has been a long season, but I wanted to try it again here, but maybe it was too long.
"Until here it was really good, but that's also the kind of championships that we have. There the circuit suited me, so I was really motivated but I think here it was maybe a little bit less. Maybe because of this, because it's flat and it's the last race, I think that counts."
The Dutch women will have another shot at a medal in the women's road race with Kirsten Wild and Marianne Vos leading the team.