Williams pleased with strong time trial performance in Italy



Vantage New Zealand rider Georgia Williams was pleased with her performance placing 12th in the time trial on the first day of racing at the UCI Road World Championships in Italy.

Georgia Williams in action during the time trial at Imola, Italy.

 credit: SWPix

The 27-year-old Aucklander, who rides for the Mitchelton-Scott World Tour team, all-but matched her previous best of 11th two years ago in Austria while 22-year-old teammate, Mikayla Harvey finished 20th in her first finish as an elite at the World Championships.

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the championships have been hastily re-arranged for Imola near Bologna after the original hosts in Switzerland were unable to stage the event under Covid regulations.


The event has been reduced to four days of elite racing only with the men’s time trial tomorrow, women’s road race on Sunday (NZ time) and men’s road race on Monday.

Rio Olympic road champion Anna van der Breggen took out the time trial world title after finishing runner-up on four occasions, with defending champion Chloe Dygert (USA) crashing out after recording the fastest time through the intermediate checkpoint.


Van der Breggen, who won the Giro Rosa last week, won in 40:20.14 to finish nearly 16secs clear of Swiss champion Marlen Reusser and 31 seconds fellow Dutch rider Ellen van Dijk, the 2013 time trial world champion.


Williams finished 12th to be 2:16.70 down on the winner with Harvey 2:33.59 down in 20th from the 50-strong starters.


Pacing proved the key on the tricky course with riders facing blustery head winds on the way out, while the benefits of the tail winds coming back were tempered with two short climbs near the finish on the famous Imola motor racing circuit.


“I came in with no expectations and no pressure, so I am happy with that result,” said Williams. “It was super windy so pacing was really important. I had my coach in the car which helped, and he made sure I kept a steady pace for the first 10kms and then lifted a little before the turn.


“It was full gas tail winds coming back but you had to save some energy for the short climbs at the end.


“When I looked at the course on paper I thought it was quite basic, but it turned out to be quite cool and enjoyable out there.”


The time trial had been the focus for Williams who had just missed out on a spot on her World Tour team for the Giro Rosa “which would have been the ideal preparations for the world championships.”


“Now we will turn to the road race. I’ve not seen the course yet but I will do my best to get in an early break if I can, but if not, then I will focus on helping both Mikayla and Niamh (Fisher-Black),” said Williams.


Attention turns to the men’s time trial tomorrow with the Vantage New Zealand team featuring Patrick Bevin, fourth last year, and Finn Fisher-Black.


Result, women’s time trial, 31.7km: Anna van der Breggen (NED) 40:20:14, 1; Marlen Reusser (SUI) at 15.58, 2; Ellen van Dijk (NED) at 31:46, 3; Lise Brennauer (GER) at 45:06, 4; Grace Brown (AUS) at 1:01.20, 5. Also: Georgia Williams (Vantage NZL) at 2:16.70, 12; Mikayla Harvey (Vantage NZL) at 2:33.59, 20.