As defending World Champions, Team Sunweb began the team time trial race in Innsbruck, Austria with a perfectly prepared plan to come home with another win. But a conservative start put the team just off the winning pace, and they would settle for a respectable third against the world’s best.
The TTT kicked off the week-long World Championships in Innsbruck with a 54.7km course from Ötztal to Innsbruck in Austria. The route was mostly downhill with few rollers or corners, making for a high-speed race where precise pacing would play a key role. The winning team posted an average speed of 53.8kph (33.4mph).
After posting a fifth-place time at the first checkpoint, Team Sunweb stepped up the pace for the second half of the race to pull back time. The team crossed the line after 1 hour 2 minutes and 15.27 seconds to take the bronze, just over 28 seconds back from first place.
“Our win last year set the bar really high for us this time around – of course, we wanted to defend the title and we’re disappointed to not have done that,” said time trial specialist Ellen van Dijk.
“With such a long and high speed course, pacing was really important and the girls stuck to our plan,” said team coach Koen de Haan. “The speed was above 55 km/h lots of times and riding a big gear so it was hard to make up time. We’re still really happy with the bronze medal, it’s a great result for the team.”