Valiant Stevens falls to sixth in Worlds TT

Evelyn Stevens (USA) gets back into her aero tuck

Evelyn Stevens (USA) gets back into her aero tuck (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

It was a valiant effort but in the end Evelyn Stevens (United States) was simply outgunned and outmuscled in the women’s elite time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond Virginia.

The American came home in sixth place, 26 seconds down on winner Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) on a course that wasn’t ideally suited to her characteristics.

“I’m bummed but I think that’s time trialing, right? I wanted to do well in this country and I’m a little disappointed not to bring home a medal in the US.”

She may not have come home with a medal but unlike her other American teammates she at least decided to talk to the press after her effort, and she described how she wrestled with the 29.9km course.

"My plan was to go out hard, try to go harder, and then finish a little harder. I think that if I don’t go out really fast then I don’t think I’m able to catch up. I was in the pain cave and I was trying to go as deep as I could.

“I was trying to find power. My position was good but I tried to go as deep as I could today but it’s a time trial so there are no excuses. It’s just your body and you’re trying to go hard.”

While the elevation profile for the course might have suited Stevens, the many technical corners could have been her downfall, as she is not historically the fastest in the turns.

“If I was going to design a time trial course I wouldn’t want to put X number of corners in for myself, and I knew that I had a really big task coming up and this is not a course that I’m suited to but good time trialists can do it on any course.”

Stevens was followed in the VIP car by former Olympic medal winners Connie and Davis Phinney, and she has already picked up a silver in these championships, courtesy of medal in the team time trial. Saturday’s women’s road race provides her with one last opportunity to land a rainbow jersey.

“I don’t know the times from today so I don’t know how far back I was, but I feel good. I think that we have a good team for the US and I’m looking forward to racing at home.”

When asked if her sixth place in the time trial, and a lack of a medal on Tuesday put any pressure on her shoulders for Saturday’s road race, she brushed aside the suggestion: “I don’t think this puts any pressure on for Saturday. I always have pressure but it doesn’t change the situation. I wanted to do well in this race and I want to do well on Saturday.”

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Daniel Benson