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Gareeva secures rainbow jersey despite detour at World Championships

Junior women time trial world championships 2019
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Aigul Gareeva of Russia won the rainbow jersey in the junior women's time trial despite riding off course at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships on Monday. Gareeva missed the final corner and instead continued straight past a marshal, a mistake she said was due to experiencing a blackout due to physical exertion.

"At that corner, I felt that I was blind and everything disappeared, and I only saw the white stripes over the roads," Gareeva said. "I don't know what happened."

Gareeva went into the junior women's 13.7km time trial in Harrogate as one of the favourites to win the title. She said she was prepared to compete against the likes of Elynor Backstedt (Great Britain), Camilla Alessio (Italy) and Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands).

Gareeva started the time trial third last and had a powerful ride covering the distance in 22:16. It was not without a mishap, however, as she blew past the final corner that led to the uphill finishing straightaway.

Instead, Gareeva continued straight and didn't notice the marshal trying to flag her in the right direction. Once she realized she had missed the last corner, she quickly came to a stop and turned around and took a right turn back onto the final straightaway.

She crossed the line with the fastest time, only three seconds ahead of Van Anrooij from the Netherlands but there were still two riders to finish. Alessio came in slower than both Gareeva and Van Anrooij and slotted into third place.

All eyes were on the home favourite Backstedt to see if she could build on her bronze medal from last year in the junior world time trial earned at the Innsbruck Worlds. The British rider also suffered a minor mishap after sliding out in the final roundabout. She didn't crash, but she slowed and lost some valuable seconds, finishing 10 seconds back with the bronze medal.

Gareeva stayed sat in the hot seat, overwhelmed by her victory, and thanked all the people who had supported her in her young cycling career.

"It's just a jersey to me. When I go to the hotel, I'll take it off. Maybe it's not that important compared to what I had to do today [to win]. I had to risk losing the title to win it," Gareeva said of the physical effort that caused her to blackout in the final stretch.

"I had a feeling this morning. The most important thing for me was to do well for the people who believed in me, who worked for me, help me a lot for my victory."