Ellen van Dijk wins a third world title in elite women’s time trial

The Dutch time trial specialist takes a second successive victory at the UCI World Championships in Wollongong

Ellen van Dijk blasted through the 34.2-kilometer course in Wollongong to win her third World Championship individual time trial title.

It was a tight race, but not between the expected favorites, compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten and rival time trial specialist Marlen Reusser, who had beaten Ellen at the European Championships in August.

It was, in fact, Australian Grace Brown who surprised everyone by setting the quickest time in the two time splits and a high benchmark at the finish.

Ellen van Dijk was on her game though. Up eight seconds at the first time check she increased her lead to 22 by the second. When she crossed the line, the clocked stopped at 44 minutes and 29 seconds. Ellen had taken her third time trial title by 12 seconds.

Although it seemed certain after Ellen set the fastest times across the technical, undulating course, the 32-year-old Dutch specialist had no idea of victory – she didn’t want to know the time splits during the race – until she had crossed the finish line.

Ellen van Dijk takes us through her race

“It was such a difficult course, and I honestly didn’t expect to win it; I didn’t think it was the perfect course for me.  But I had a good mental approach and a good physical approach with my coach Josu (Larrazabal, Trek-Segafredo trainer) and also my boyfriend.

“I just thought, okay, I had a great year in the rainbow jersey and we just give it my all today and if it’s a podium spot that would be nice, and if it’s not, I still had a great year.  I think this really made a difference because honesty I never thought I would win it today.

“I had no times at all. I never want to know any times, so I had no idea how I was riding. I never want to know; I want to focus completely on myself.  I paced my effort really well I think. On the second lap I thought at the beginning I was a bit slower, but I think for everyone it was difficult.

“I could keep my pace until the end and could really fight to the line. It was nice to see Reusser a little bit ahead of me at the end, so I knew that I was not on a bad day for sure.  But honestly I was so surprised when I crossed the finish.

“Every title has its own story. The first one I was the top favorite and I was super nervous and so happy that I could pull it off. Last year was super emotional because I was chasing that one for eight years. And this one I can’t quite process it yet so you’ll have to ask me a bit later!”