Rozemarijn Ammerlaan (Netherlands) claimed the first rainbow jersey of the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in the junior women's individual time trial on Monday in Innsbruck. The 18-year-old said the best thing about her victory was that she won on an old bike that once belonged to her compatriot Anna van der Breggen.
"I raced on an old bike that was Anna van der Breggen's, so that was great," Ammerlaan said in the post-race press conference. "It was her old Giant from a lot of years ago when she raced with the development team at Rabobank. They sold the bikes and so I bought it. Her name is still on it – that's really cool."
Ammerlaan's gold-medal performance is the first in what is expected to be a series of wins by the Dutch national team at this World Championships. Her compatriots in the elite women's category – Van der Breggen, Annemiek van Vleuten, Ellen van Dijk and Lucinda Brand – are the favourites for the individual time trial on Tuesday.
Wearing her new rainbow-striped jersey, Ammerlaan took her seat between silver medallist Camilla Alessio (Italy) and bronze medallist Elynor Backstedt (Great Britain) on stage in front of the international press. It was a new experience for all three riders as they smiled and whispered to one another, struggling to figure out how to turn on the microphones.
"I'm very proud of this victory," Ammerlaan told reporters. "I knew I was in good shape and so I'm proud of everything."
Alessio and Backstedt
Alessio said the Innsbruck time trial was only her second time ever racing in the discipline, and she raced on an old bike that belonged to Team Sky's Sergio Henao. The 17-year-old echoed Ammerlaan's statements, saying that the Italian federation has also put more funding and strategy into the success of their younger riders; junior-level athletes who are soon-to-be moving up the ranks into the elite category.