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Søren Wærenskjold: From chasing ice cream to catching a time trial rainbow

New Under 23 time trial world champion Søren Wærenskjold
New Under 23 time trial world champion Søren Wærenskjold (Image credit: Getty Images)

Norwegian rider Søren Wærenskjold lined up on the start line of the U23 men’s time trial at the UCI Road World Championships with proven advice on how to handle the course – it was, after all, coming from compatriot Tobias Foss, who the day before surprised his rivals to take out victory in the elite race against the watch.

Just like Foss, Wærenskjold had a nervous wait in the hot seat, particularly when European champion Alec Segaert (Belgium) started out faster than him to post the quickest time at the 7.1km timing point. But it turned out that saving some energy in the first lap was all part of the plan, and Wærenskjold outlined Foss' advice in his press conference after claiming the world title. 

“It was just to put the power down in the harder sections like the climbs, especially on the first half of the course and steep climb, and dare to just save energy on the fast parts and just try to stay aerodynamic,” Wærenskjold said. “There were also on a couple of corners that he advised me to to take outside of the TT position to be a little safer because it was super fast corners today."

That advice meant Wærenskjold had something in reserve at the end of the 28.8km course. and that is precisely where he outpaced his rivals to secure the title. With two victories in as many days, Norway is riding high in the time trial stakes, but it hasn’t always been that way.

"If you go back two, three years ago they were always saying that the Norwegian was bad at the TT,” said Wærenskjold. “So now we are good but I really don't know the answer [why].

“But I think it's in the preparations. Also I have been in the wind tunnel and testing – testing the bike and testing the suit, helmets, everything. And it’s also, of course, the efforts you do on your TT bike at home. And they did a really good job preparing with the notes and everything and we went through the course, every corner and how we should do this. Just super good from A to B.”

The 22-year-old, who came fourth in the U23 time trial last year, may now be firmly ensconced in a cycling career – he is already signed with Uno-X for a third season next year – but while his effort in Wollongong was all about riding toward rainbows, Wærenskjold explained that he had an entirely different motivation when he first began riding.

“It started with me wanting to to eat ice cream,” he said. “My mum told me if I could ride a bike like ten, 15 kilometres to this store, then I can buy ice cream, so that was the focus in the start. 

“Then after one, two years I realised that I had had an okay talent for cycling. So then from there it was just natural and I didn't think of doing any education or anything. It was just cycling all the way."

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Production editor

Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and as a correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.