Imola 2020 – Time Trial Talking Points

Featured images courtesy of gettyimages

The time trials are over, two rainbow jerseys have been handed out with two remaining. Here are five quick talking points.

1 Ganna grabs his big opportunity

You could not have asked for a better stage to become world champion in a time trial. Of course, we should be in Switzerland right now, but in Imola this was Filippo Ganna’s chance and he took it!

A flat parcours definitely suited the Italian going into the 31.7 km route and he delivered with 35 minutes 54 seconds the winning time. Ganna is one hell of a talent after breaking the individual pursuit world record twice last year and now becomes the first men’s elite time trial champion for his country. Ganna also joins Chris Boardman and Bradley Wiggins – winners of the elite world individual pursuit on the track and the time trial on the road.

To do it in his home country is something to behold, a victory not just for Italy but also Ineos Grenadiers. The rainbow jersey stays within the team after Rohan Dennis conceded the title to his team-mate. In fact, three Ineos riders finished in the top ten, Ganna winning gold, Dennis in fifth but in fourth, a fantastic ride by Geraint Thomas (more below).

Ineos decided to keep Ganna, Dennis and Thomas all in the same bubble because of coronavirus and it has worked a treat. Could Filippo Ganna go on to win the opening stage at the Giro next weekend? In the rainbow jersey that would be special.

Elsewhere a few surprises but some exceptional performances. In his first encounter at a world time trial, Wout Van Aert continued to be brilliant and Stefan Küng took the right decision to leave the Tour early to finish in third. Victor Campenaerts, Tom Dumoulin and Pello Bilbao were three names surprisingly off the pace.

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2 Anna van der Breggen finally becomes a TT world champion

The women’s elite time trial indeed the road race to come always presents a strong Dutch squad. Two times time trial world champion Annemiek van Vleuten was a notable absentee (she rides the road race tomorrow though), the Dutch had Ellen Van Dijk and Anna van der Breggen to hand.

Numerous times on the podium, Van Dijk managed to finish third behind the winner of the day – Anna van der Breggen finally becoming a world champion in time trialling. A year out before she retires and moves on to a coaching role with Boels-Dolmans, there isn’t much that Anna van der Breggen hasn’t won, this the perfect cherry on top of the cake.

A rainbow jersey via the road race now one for a time trial, could she do the double at these world championships? Van Vleuten is back tomorrow despite fracturing her wrist at the Giro Rosa recently.

Many congratulations to Marlen Reusser representing Switzerland to take silver, her first worlds podium after finishing third at the European Road Championships in the same discipline.

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3 Encouraging British performances

Geraint Thomas taking fourth in the time trial is a welcome sign that he’s in form for the Giro d’Italia starting next weekend. Three time trials across the three weeks will be a strength ahead of his GC rivals, so it is not wrong to say that Geraint Thomas is a contender for the pink jersey come Milan.

Alex Dowsett’s quest for a podium in his career goes on but he should be happy with his performance against other competitors. For the women both Lizzy Banks and Alice Barnes finished inside the top twenty – two decent results.

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4 Speedy recovery to Chloe Dygert

After a blistering performance to win the time trial in Yorkshire last year, American Chloe Dygert started in Imola as the red-hot favourite to defend her title. She was riding the perfect race, beating Anna van der Breggen right up until she crashed.

She lost control on a corner, hit a barrier and then treated with a laceration to her left leg. An awful crash for Dygert and incredibly heart breaking to see. The crash could’ve been worse for the 10-time world champion on road and track, sad that she obviously won’t be starting the road race.

All we can say is many speedy recoveries to Chloe Dygert, we cannot wait to see her back racing again with those brilliant pink shoes!

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5 Attention turns to the road races

The final two days offer us the road races. British fans will be fascinated to see how Lizzie Deignan fares and for the men there’s one rider on everyone’s lips – Wout Van Aert.

Both races have total elevation gains over 2,000 metres, it is far from easy. Team tactics will be evident but who will win the two rainbow jerseys? Those that can climb and sprint are in contention – we wait to see how two intriguing races unravel.

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