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World Championships: Mikkel Bjerg wins U23 Men's time trial title

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Brent Van Moer, Mikkel Bjerg and Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen on the podium

Brent Van Moer, Mikkel Bjerg and Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen on the podium
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Brent Van Moer, Mikkel Bjerg and Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen on the podium

Brent Van Moer, Mikkel Bjerg and Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen on the podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) with his second gold medal in a row in the U23 TT

Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) with his second gold medal in a row in the U23 TT
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Brent Van Moer (Belgium)

Brent Van Moer (Belgium)
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)

Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen (Denmark)

Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen (Denmark)
(Image credit: Getty Images)
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Brandon McNulty (USA)

Brandon McNulty (USA)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Brandon McNulty (USA)

Brandon McNulty (USA)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)

Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Mikkel Bjerg repeated as U23 World Champion in the time trial

Mikkel Bjerg repeated as U23 World Champion in the time trial
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Mathias Norsgaard (Denmark)

Mathias Norsgaard (Denmark)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Max Kanter (Germany)

Max Kanter (Germany)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Tyler Cole (Trinidad Tobago)

Tyler Cole (Trinidad Tobago)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Brent Van Moer (Belgium)

Brent Van Moer (Belgium)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Jaka Primozic (Slovenia)

Jaka Primozic (Slovenia)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Tegshbayar Batsaikhan (Mongolia)

Tegshbayar Batsaikhan (Mongolia)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Stefan De Bod (South Africa)

Stefan De Bod (South Africa)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Michael O'loughlin (Ireland)

Michael O'loughlin (Ireland)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Pascal Eenkhoorn (The Netherlands)

Pascal Eenkhoorn (The Netherlands)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Charlie Tanfield (Great Britain)

Charlie Tanfield (Great Britain)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spain)

Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spain)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Gage Hecht (The United States)

Gage Hecht (The United States)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Ethan Hayter (Great Britain during the Individual Time Trial Men Under 23 a 27,8km race from Wattens to Innsbruck 582m)

Ethan Hayter (Great Britain during the Individual Time Trial Men Under 23 a 27,8km race from Wattens to Innsbruck 582m)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Andreas Leknessund (Norway)

Andreas Leknessund (Norway)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Alexander Konychev (Italy)

Alexander Konychev (Italy)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Nickolas Zukowsky (Canada)

Nickolas Zukowsky (Canada)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Shoi Matsuda (Japan)

Shoi Matsuda (Japan)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Nikolai Cherkasov (Russia)

Nikolai Cherkasov (Russia)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Andreas Leknessund (Norway)

Andreas Leknessund (Norway)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Jaka Primozic (Slovenia)

Jaka Primozic (Slovenia)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Brent Van Moer (Belgium)

Brent Van Moer (Belgium)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)
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Thibault Guernalec (France)

Thibault Guernalec (France)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images Sport)
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Filip Maciejuk (Poland)

Filip Maciejuk (Poland)
(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images Sport)

Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) cruised to a second successive victory in the under-23 men’s time trial at the World Championships in Innsbruck. Already winner of the event in Bergen a year ago, Bjerg was heavily favoured to triumph here and he lived up to that lofty billing by hurtling around the course at an average speed of 51.1kp/h.

The Dane came home 33 seconds quicker than silver medallist Brent Van Moer (Belgium), while his fellow countryman Mathias Norsgaard took the bronze medal, a further five seconds back.

As defending champion, Bjerg was the last man to roll down the start ramp to tackle the 27.7km course, and he already held a commanding lead at the lone time check with 10km remaining. He maintained his pace over the back end of the course to claim a second rainbow jersey in as many years in the event.

"It’s unbelievable," said Bjerg, who arrived in Austria over a week ago to fine-tune his build-up to the event. "My whole season has been about preparation for this race. I flew in here ten days ago and just did the course every day, just got it under my skin almost. I’m super happy to pull it off."

Edoardo Affini (Italy) placed fourth just ahead of Ethan Hayter (Great Britain), just 6 seconds shy of a podium place but some 45 seconds down on the flying Bjerg. Brandon McNulty (USA) was the penultimate rider down the start ramp by dint of his silver medal-winning ride in Bergen a year ago, but he was unable to replicate that performance on the Innsbruck parcours, ultimately placing 7th.

How it unfolded

The day’s first starter was Alexander Konyshev, son of Katusha directeur sportif Dimitri, who was riding for his native Italy, while an early pace-setter was Nickolas Zukowsky (Canada). Team Sky stagiaire Ethan Hayter soon dislodged him from the hotseat and the Briton would spend most of the afternoon occupying a medal position only to be bumped from the podium at the last.

Brent Van Moer (Belgium) was the first rider to average over 50kph on a course that began relatively gentle but then became even more rugged as it progressed, with the Absam climb proving the principal obstacle. Van Moer was 12 seconds quicker than Hayter, and a number of lofty names in the following waves of riders were unable to get close to the time of the Lotto Soudal stagiaire.

Among them was Lennard Kämna (Germany), the Sunweb professional who took a bronze medal in Richmond in this event three years ago. Kämna took a lengthy hiatus from racing earlier in the season but returned to action at the Deutschland Tour in August. This test perhaps came a little too soon for the German, who started strongly but faded in the latter stages and had to settle for 14th, more than a minute down on Bjerg.

There was disappointment, too, for Charlie Tanfield (Great Britain), who reported late for his start and could only manage 27th – “It’s shit but it wasn’t a deal breaker,” he said of his setback – and Eritrea’s Awet Habtom, who was forced to ride his regular road bike after his time trial set-up fell foul of the commissaires in the start house.

Mathias Norsgaard laid down an important marker when he clocked the best time at the intermediate check after 18km, but he was unable to maintain that intensity on the hillier segment that followed, and he hit the finish line 5 seconds down on Van Moer.

By then, it was clear that only the highly-touted names in the last tranche of starters could hope to trouble Van Moer’s time, and he watched with growing belief as men of the pedigree of Kamna and Callum Scotson (Australia) were unable to match his intermediate split or his time at the finish.

Bjerg, however, brought an end to the Belgian’s hopes of a rainbow jersey when he scorched through the 18km mark with a lead of 24 seconds over Norsgaard and 38 seconds over Van Moer. From the moment he rolled down the start ramp, the elegant Bjerg looked a world champion in waiting, and he seemed utterly untroubled by the rolling roads that led towards the finish, scarcely deviating from his aerodynamic tuck.

A year ago, Bjerg won by over a minute in Bergen, but while the margins were not quite as sizeable here, he was, once again, in a race of his own, and he reached the finish with 33 seconds to spare over Van Moer to claim a second successive gold medal. For good measure, Bjerg claimed silver behind McNulty in the junior time trial at the Doha Worlds in 2016.

"I don’t how much the gap was, but my feeling out there was exceptional and I’m super happy to regain my title," Bjerg said as he waited to mount the podium.

Still only 19 years of age, Bjerg is eligible to race at this level for three more years, though he has already demonstrated his ability at elite level by taking second in last year’s Chrono des Nations. He joined the Pro Continental Hagens Berman Axeon squad ahead of this season and will remain with Axel Merckx’s squad next year.

"It’s been really inspiring, especially at the BabyGiro in the mountains, Axel just told me to take it easy and the development will come when it’s ready," said Bjerg. "The dream next goal is to improve my road racing and get some wins next year."

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)0:32:31
2Brent Van Moer (Belgium)0:00:33
3Mathias Norsgaard Jorgensen (Denmark)0:00:38
4Edoardo Affini (Italy)0:00:44
5Ethan Hayter (Great Britain)0:00:46
6Tobias S Foss (Norway)0:00:51
7Brandon Mcnulty (United States Of America)0:00:53
8Stefan De Bod (South Africa)0:00:59
9Matteo Sobrero (Italy)0:01:01
10Callum Scotson (Australia)0:01:02
11Stefan Bissegger (Switzerland)0:01:02
12Patrick Gamper (Austria)0:01:04
13Andreas Leknessund (Norway)0:01:04
14Lennard Kamna (Germany)0:01:05
15Max Kanter (Germany)0:01:05
16Pascal Eenkhoorn (Netherlands)0:01:06
17Mark Padun (Ukraine)0:01:07
18Alexys Brunel (France)0:01:08
19Jakub Otruba (Czech Republic)0:01:12
20Senne Leysen (Belgium)0:01:19
21Nickolas Zukowsky (Canada)0:01:20
22Filip Maciejuk (Poland)0:01:22
23Gage Hecht (United States Of America)0:01:23
24Julius Van Den Berg (Netherlands)0:01:24
25Michael O'loughlin (Ireland)0:01:28
26Tom Wirtgen (Luxembourg)0:01:31
27Charlie Tanfield (Great Britain)0:01:32
28Ivo Oliveira (Portugal)0:01:35
29Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spain)0:01:38
30Joao Almeida (Portugal)0:01:40
31Johan Price-Pejtersen (Denmark)0:01:41
32Nikolai Cherkasov (Russian Federation)0:01:43
33Barnabas Peak (Hungary)0:01:45
34Markus Wildauer (Austria)0:01:45
35Thibault Guernalec (France)0:01:49
36Alexander Konychev (Italy)0:01:53
37Kent Main (South Africa)0:02:00
38Conn Mcdunphy (Ireland)0:02:06
39Marc Hirschi (Switzerland)0:02:07
40Adam Roberge (Canada)0:02:09
41Jaka Primozic (Slovenia)0:02:33
42Norman Vahtra (Estonia)0:02:37
43Diego Agustin Ferreyra Geldrez (Chile)0:02:50
44Sergio Tu (Chinese Taipei)0:02:54
45Veljko Stojnic (Serbia)0:02:56
46Andreas Miltiadis (Cyprus)0:02:57

 

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