At 43 years old, Amber Neben (PX4 Sports) shows no signs of slowing down. The former time trial world champion added her third US pro time trial title on Thursday on a 22.5km course outside of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, beating much younger riders on her way to defending her 2017 stars-and-stripes jersey.
"It's so special," Neben told Cyclingnews after the podium ceremony. "I'm just so in awe with what God is doing with me right now. I'm 43 and I'm still in the sport and still winning national championships. So it's special in that sense.
"It's fun, and it definitely means a lot at this point in time, because there are never any guarantees," she said. "It took me so long to win the first one. There were seven or eight second places before I won the first one in 2012. So to have two now back-to-back is just amazing, and I'm enjoying it."
To say Neben has raced sparingly this year would be underselling it. Riding under her own PX4 formation, Neben has competed in just three days of racing this year, including Thursday's time trial championship. She also won gold at the Pan American time trial championships and most recently took top honours at the Chrono Gatineau time trial in Canada.
On Thursday, a super-smooth Neben beat 28-year-old Tayler Wiles (Trek-Drops) by 15 seconds and 20-year-old Emma White (Rally Cycling) by 38. Neben's rhythm and aerodynamics made it look like she was not suffering at all. She quickly dispelled that notion.
"On power courses like this it tends to be a lower-cadence ride for me, so maybe it makes it look a little easier, but I guarantee I'm riding it hard and feeling it," she said.
"Tayler rode awesomely. Tayler is great and Emma is great and Leah [Thomas] and Lauren Stephens are both excellent time triallists, too," she said. "So to be able to beat these guys on a course like this today is just fantastic."