Australia scored a second top success in a matter of hours in the World Championships on Monday as Tasmanian Campbell Flakemore edged out Ireland’s Ryan Mullan by less than half a second to claim gold in the men’s under-23 time trial.
Flakemore’s victory followed hard on the heels of a triumph for compatriot and fellow-Tasmanian Macey Stewart this morning in the junior women’s event. Their double triumph, reinforced by Anna-Leeza Hull’s bronze behind Stewart, sets Australia clearly at the top of the World Championships medal table from the first day of national racing events.
Flakemore’s triumph continues a superb year for the 22-year-old from Hobart, too, already victorious in the Tour de L’Avenir prologue, and more than makes up for his near-miss of fourth in the same time trial event last year.
The look of disappointment on Ryan Mullen’s face, as Flakemore’s time flashed up on the leaderboard said how hard it must have been for the Irishman to take such a painfully close defeat.
After clocking the fastest time in all of the checkpoints on the rain-lashed, undulating 36.1 kilometre course, the Irish road and TT champion looked set to claim the first gold (and indeed medal of any colour) for his country since Mark Scanlon won the Men’s junior Road-Race back in 1998.
But it was not to be, as Flakemore, 20 seconds back at the two intermediate checkpoints, gave it everything in the final, technical third of the course - apart from a tricky descent - to roar home for the narrowest of victories.
“I knew in the first two time checks that I was down on Ryan, I knew I had to leave a lot in the tank for the last five kilometres,” Flakemore said afterwards, “and I think I got a lot back.
“I took it really easy on the last descent, I didn’t want to crash, I had seen the junior girls go through it and it didn’t look so bad, then after that I hauled it to the finish.”
Visibly exhausted as he slumped in the winner’s chair, his face grimacing with pain, his fourth place last year, Flakemore said, had spurred him on, “and it’s my last U23 year too. I really wanted it today.”
“It’s a fantastic start for Australia - and for Tasmania,” he said.
Bronze went to Stefan Kueng of Switzerland. The last rider to start, the European road race and time trial champion finished nine seconds behind Flakemore and in the process squeezed out Rafael Reis of Portugal - for over an hour the rider with the best time - from third place.
Turkey’s Amet Orken had set the first time to beat of 48:00, before South African road champion Louis Meintjes, fresh off from completing the Vuelta with MTN-Qhubeka, then smashed the previous best to claim a notable top result of 44:38.
However, Portugal’s Reis, a second year pro with a Portuguese squad, Banco BIC, forged ahead through the driving rain to claim the best time ahead of Meintjes by a clear 29 second margin. With 40 riders of the 63 starters left to finish, it was more than uncertain, though, how long the 22-year-old’s time would stay at the top of the leaderboard.
As it turned out, Reis time endured as provisional best for nearly an hour, as rider after rider failed to reach the top three positions.
Mullen, finally, managed to dislodge the Portuguese pro from the top spot by a very respectable margin of 19 seconds, and the Irishman’s effort seemed all but certain to net him the gold. Twelve minutes after Mullen had crossed the line, though, Flakemore’s crossed the line 0.48 seconds faster - his blisteringly fast final third of the time trial just enough to give Australia (and Tasmania) their second triumph of the day.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Campbell Flakemore (Australia)||0:43:49.94|
|2||Ryan Mullen (Ireland)||0:00:00.48|
|3||Stefan Kueng (Switzerland)||0:00:09.22|
|4||Rafael Ferreira Reis (Portugal)||0:00:19.32|
|5||Maximilian Schachmann (Germany)||0:00:37.84|
|6||Jonathan Dibben (Great Britain)||0:00:38.28|
|7||Andreas Vangstad (Norway)||0:00:44.88|
|8||Louis Meintjes (South Africa)||0:00:48.36|
|9||Frederik Frison (Belgium)||0:01:07.22|
|10||James Oram (New Zealand)||0:01:09.57|
|11||Lukas Postlberger (Austria)||0:01:25.43|
|12||Nils Politt (Germany)||0:01:27.68|
|13||Viktor Manakov (Russian Federation)||0:01:28.62|
|14||Steven Lammertink (Netherlands)||0:01:38.56|
|15||Thery Schir (Switzerland)||0:01:44.31|
|16||Soren Kragh Andersen (Denmark)||0:01:44.42|
|17||Alex Kirsch (Luxembourg)||0:01:45.57|
|18||Juan Camacho Del Fresno (Spain)||0:01:46.03|
|19||Davide Martinelli (Italy)||0:01:55.32|
|20||Alexander Evtushenko (Russian Federation)||0:01:55.33|
|21||Mario Gonzalez Salas (Spain)||0:01:55.74|
|22||Jan Marcus Faaglum Karlsson (Sweden)||0:01:57.38|
|23||Robin Carpenter (United States Of America)||0:01:57.53|
|24||Scott Davies (Great Britain)||0:02:01.65|
|25||Ignacio Prado (Mexico)||0:02:02.28|
|26||Dion Smith (New Zealand)||0:02:05.42|
|27||Jose Luis Rodriguez (Chile)||0:02:06.43|
|28||Willem Jakobus Smit (South Africa)||0:02:09.83|
|29||Oleg Zemlyakov (Kazakhstan)||0:02:10.22|
|30||Viktor Okishev (Kazakhstan)||0:02:17.72|
|31||Ruben Pols (Belgium)||0:02:23.19|
|32||Tom Bohli (Switzerland)||0:02:24.75|
|33||Marlen Zmorka (Ukraine)||0:02:27.91|
|34||Gregor Muhlberger (Austria)||0:02:36.66|
|35||Taylor Eisenhart (United States Of America)||0:02:37.39|
|36||Miguel Angel Lopez (Colombia)||0:02:37.49|
|37||Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Poland)||0:02:37.62|
|38||Ioannis Spanopoulos (Greece)||0:02:40.64|
|39||Carlos Ramirez (Colombia)||0:02:56.88|
|40||Remi Cavagna (France)||0:02:58.82|
|41||Seid Lizde (Italy)||0:03:08.64|
|42||Facundo Lezica (Argentina)||0:03:12.95|
|43||Casper Von Folsach (Denmark)||0:03:22.33|
|44||Bruno Maltar (Croatia)||0:03:31.11|
|45||David Per (Slovenia)||0:03:33.48|
|46||Bruno Armirail (France)||0:03:54.61|
|47||Hugo Angel Velazquez (Argentina)||0:04:03.42|
|48||Anasse Ait El Abdia (Morocco)||0:04:06.57|
|49||Ahmet Orken (Turkey)||0:04:10.13|
|50||Abderrahmane Mansouri (Algeria)||0:04:34.30|
|51||Valens Ndayisenga (Rwanda)||0:04:38.33|
|52||Dmitriy Rive (Kazakhstan)||0:04:43.94|
|53||Salaheddine Mraouni (Morocco)||0:04:47.71|
|54||Pontus Kastemyr (Sweden)||0:04:48.16|
|55||Tural Isgandarov (Azerbaijan)||0:04:59.52|
|56||Adil Barbari (Algeria)||0:05:01.17|
|57||Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwanda)||0:05:04.25|
|58||Feritcan Samli (Turkey)||0:05:14.91|
|59||Pablo Cruz (Honduras)||0:06:01.42|
|60||Szabolcs Sebestyen (Romania)||0:06:29.81|
|61||Shern Mun Benedict Lee (Singapore)||0:07:21.47|
|62||Diego Hossfeldt (Qatar)||0:07:41.77|
|63||Victor Cartin (Republic of Moldova)||0:09:56.68|