Sound performance for Bevin in men’s time trial in Italy


Vantage New Zealand rider Patrick Bevin, one of the fastest over the second half of the race, had to be content with 12th place in the men’s time trial on day two of the UCI Road World Championships in Italy.


Patrick Bevin in action during the time trial at Imola, Italy. (Photo: Robert Jones)

Bevin, who rides for Team CCC on the World Tour, could not match the power of the leaders into brutal head winds on the first half of the 31.7km individual time trial. He was 17th fastest through the 14.9km checkpoint, 1m22s down on eventual winner Filippo Ganna from hosts Italy.


The New Zealander powered his way back over the tailwind second half of the race, clocking an eye-catching 17m46s for 22km return portion, fifth fastest overall and took time out of the winner.


It was the third straight competitive performance by Bevin at the world championships, placing eighth in Austria in 2018 and fourth last year in Yorkshire.


The 32km test was shorter than usual time trials, and coupled with the buffeting winds, favoured the power riders with the key being the ability to push hard in the first half which Bevin had recognised as the key in his pre-race plan.


“I left it all out there, but on the day, I just didn’t go fast enough,” said Bevin. “It is easy to say because physiologically it is so hard to go over your limit from the start. I had two relatively even splits and came home well. Last year I went from 17th fastest at halfway to fourth but today it was 17th to 12th.


“There were a lot of riders coming off racing form and suited to the shorter time trial today. It was not a bad performance, but I have high expectations of myself and so I am naturally a little disappointed.


“There are fine margins in time trials and I was probably a couple of percent off today but that is all it takes.”


Ganna, a four-time world pursuit champion, gave the host nation plenty to cheer about as he rocketed through the course in 35.54.10 at an average speed a tick under 53kph. He became the first Italian make to win the men’s time trial rainbow jersey.


Earlier Nelson’s Finn Fisher-Black, at 18 the youngest rider in the field, finished 4:57 down on the winner. The junior individual pursuit world record holder, who rides for the Jumbo Visma development team, was given clearance to race in the time trial and road race after the world championships were limited to the elite category only.


His older sister Niamh Fisher-Black, the national road champion, gets her chance tomorrow, joining Équipe Paule Ka World Tour teammate Mikayla Harvey and Mitchelton-Scott professional Georgia Williams in the women’s road race.


Vantage Cycling New Zealand Director Sportif, Craig Geater said the course is even more challenging than initial thoughts, with the women to race over 144kms with nearly 3000m of climbing with two testing climbs on each of the 29km loops, starting and finishing at the Enzo e Dino Ferrari motor racing circuit in Imola.


The championships were hastily arranged in the few weeks after original hosts Switzerland withdrew as they were unable to operate a full championship under covid regulations.


The event concludes on Monday (NZ time) with the men’s road race over 260kms with a eye-watering 5000m of climbing around the same circuit as the women.


Result, men’s time trial, 31.7km: Filippo Ganna (ITA) 35:54.10, 1; Wout van Aert (BEL) at 26.72s, 2; Stefan Kung (SUI) at 29.80s, 3; Geraint Thomas (GBR) at 37.02, 4; Rohan Dennis (AUS) at 39.76s, 5. Also: Patrick Bevin (Vantage NZL) at 1:19.04, 12; Finn Fisher-Black (Vantage NZL) at 4:57.95, 50.