On a morning of steady rain in Ponferrada, Macey Stewart (Australia) mastered the treacherous conditions to land victory in the junior women’s time trial at the World Championships, ahead of Denmark’s Pernille Mathiesen and her fellow countrywoman Anna-Leeza Hull.
“The weather wasn’t the greatest but to be honest I love racing in the rain so when I saw the weather this morning I got a little bit excited. I knew it would be good for me,” Stewart said afterwards. “I just tried to touch the brakes as little as possible and hammer it through the corners.”
It was Stewart’s third world title of the year, after landing rainbow jerseys in the omnium and team pursuit at the junior track World Championships last month, while the depth of Australia’s production line of young talent was underlined by the fact that Alexandra Manly took fourth place.
Stewart was the 25th of 49 riders to take the start ramp and the first of the strong Australian contingent, but even without a frame of reference, she gauged her effort well over the 13.9km course. She set the quickest time at the 5.7km mark and stopped the clock at the finish line some 26 seconds clear of the early leader, Emma White (USA).
“I wanted to go out later so I could have more time splits from the people around me,” Stewart said. “But really, I just went out to do the best time I could and see what happened.
“I didn’t expect this at all. It’s a very surreal feeling. I was excited to see how flat the course was when I got here because I’ve just come from the track Worlds in Korea and I didn’t really have the road training in my legs.”
Stewart endured a long wait in the hot seat as a litany of riders tried and failed to better her time. The conditions took their toll, too – Josie Knight (Ireland) was among those slowed by a crash in the finale – but a number of strong challengers emerged among the later starters.
Anna-Leeza Hull had only the 7th best time at the intermediate check, for instance, but she made up ground over the back end of the course to take provisional second place, though still 13 seconds off the impressive time of her compatriot Stewart. “I made up a lot of time over the second half of the course but I was maybe a little bit anxious on the first corners,” Hull said.
Mathiesen was closer at the 5.9km mark, only 6 seconds back, but she was unable to claw back the time in the finale, and eventually finished with the second best time, 10 seconds down on Stewart, and confessed afterwards that the conditions had not been to her liking. “I don’t like the rain so I was very slow through all the corners,” she said.”
The final rider down the start ramp was Alexandra Manly, and while Mathiesen’s time meant that an Australian clean sweep of the podium was not on the cards, the quality of the country’s production line was underscored by her performance.
Like Hull, Manly was off the pace through the first time check, but she picked up speed thereafter, though she left herself with too much ground to make up in the bid for a medal, crossing the line in 4th place, 14 seconds down on Stewart but just half a second off bronze.
“To have my teammate Anna-Leeza on the podium with me and Alex Manley to do an amazing time as well, I’m so happy and proud to be an Australian,” said Stewart, whose sights are set on competing on the track at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“The big aim is Rio on the track. I’d love to go professional on the road afterwards, but I’m taking it as it comes. First of all, I want to make that Olympic dream a reality.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Macey Stewart (Australia)||0:20:08.39|
|2||Pernille Mathiesen (Denmark)||0:00:10.79|
|3||Anna-Leeza Hull (Australia)||0:00:13.31|
|4||Alexandra Manly (Australia)||0:00:13.81|
|5||Emma White (United States Of America)||0:00:26.47|
|6||Greta Richioud (France)||0:00:26.63|
|7||Melissa Lowther (Great Britain)||0:00:27.69|
|8||Aafke Soet (Netherlands)||0:00:28.23|
|9||Daria Pikulik (Poland)||0:00:38.91|
|10||Daria Egorova (Russian Federation)||0:00:44.73|
|11||Camila Valbuena (Colombia)||0:00:50.05|
|12||Lisa Klein (Germany)||0:00:51.87|
|13||Alice Gasparini (Italy)||0:00:52.45|
|14||Sofia Bertizzolo (Italy)||0:00:55.51|
|15||Janelle Cole (United States Of America)||0:01:02.21|
|16||Milda Aužbikaviciute (Lithuania)||0:01:06.86|
|17||Yekaterina Yuraitis (Kazakhstan)||0:01:08.07|
|18||Natalia Radzicka (Poland)||0:01:08.78|
|19||Kiyoka Sakaguchi (Japan)||0:01:08.81|
|20||Faina Potapova (Kazakhstan)||0:01:10.48|
|21||Chanella Stougje (Netherlands)||0:01:10.51|
|22||María Calderón (Spain)||0:01:14.95|
|23||Franziska Banzer (Germany)||0:01:15.92|
|24||Margot Dutour (France)||0:01:16.11|
|25||Julia Karlsson (Sweden)||0:01:20.44|
|26||Jeanne Korevaar (Netherlands)||0:01:22.26|
|27||Nikola Zdráhalová (Czech Republic)||0:01:22.31|
|28||Linda Halleröd (Sweden)||0:01:25.85|
|29||Tereza Medvedova (Slovakia)||0:01:29.46|
|30||Aline Seitz (Switzerland)||0:01:29.71|
|31||Eva Maria Palm (Belgium)||0:01:29.95|
|32||Ema Manikaite (Lithuania)||0:01:33.97|
|33||Dafné Théroux-Izquierdo (Canada)||0:01:35.81|
|34||Michelle Andres (Switzerland)||0:01:39.82|
|35||Mari-Liis Mottus (Estonia)||0:01:41.87|
|36||Anastasiia Pliaskina (Russian Federation)||0:01:43.77|
|37||Josie Knight (Ireland)||0:01:45.84|
|38||Julia Rodríguez (Spain)||0:01:46.17|
|39||Yumi Kajihara (Japan)||0:01:50.41|
|40||Paula Patiño (Colombia)||0:01:50.98|
|41||Grace Garner (Great Britain)||0:01:57.75|
|42||Endija Rutule (Latvia)||0:01:59.33|
|43||Katja Jeretina (Slovenia)||0:02:04.74|
|44||Monique Gerber (South Africa)||0:02:24.80|
|45||Ekaterina Knebeleva (Uzbekistan)||0:02:31.03|
|46||Kimberley Le Court De Billot (Mauritius)||0:02:36.03|
|47||Ebtesam Zayed Ahmed (Egypt)||0:03:08.21|
|48||Michelle Benson (South Africa)||0:03:25.69|
|49||Menatalla Essam Ragab (Egypt)||0:05:07.77|