Norway’s Tobias Foss said he was “kind of a dream” after dethroning two-time reigning champion Filippo Gannu on Sunday to claim the first men’s time trial title at the Road Cycling World Championships in Australia.
The 25-year-old completed the 34.2 km (21.2 miles) lap in 40 minutes 2.78 seconds, beating Swiss Stefan Kung by 2.95 seconds.
Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel, who had just won this month’s Vuelta a España Grand Tour, was 9.16 seconds back in third place on the opening day of the championships in Wollongong, 50 miles south of Sydney.
The Italian Ganna, the current time trial flag bearer, got off to a strong start on the hilly and twisty track, aiming to equal Germany’s Tony Martin and Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara for a three-time winner.
But the 26-year-old was tired and placed seventh, 56 seconds behind the pace.
Two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia, who is not a time trial specialist, finished in sixth place.
Jumbo-Visma rider Foss won the 2020 Tour de l’Avenir but was not among the favorites and admitted he was stunned by the win.
“This is some kind of dream, I can’t believe it, it’s so unreal,” he said as he ripped up the blank to get the rainbow jersey.
“My legs were really good… I was sure that I was in good shape, but this is more than I can dream of.
“If I were in the top 10 today, I would be very pleased. And even in the top 5, I was hoping that wearing this rainbow jersey would be really special.”
– Hater disaster –
Kung, who was fifth at last year’s World Championships, was fastest on both the first and second occasions and looked poised to win. But in the final stage, he lost 13 seconds.
House favorite Lukas Plapp set the pace early before European champion Stefan Bissegger went faster, becoming the first rider to average over 50 kph until Foss beat his time.
British hope Ethan Hayter seemed destined to get closer to the finish line, but disaster struck midway through the race when his chain broke, forcing him to change bikes and he finished fourth.
American star Magnus Sheffield also fell victim, tracking well as he crashed into the barriers to finish 17th.
“I wouldn’t say I’m the most confident guy, so I really didn’t believe until it was all over,” Foss said.
“But I really felt like I did my best today.”
Last year’s runner-up, Wout van Aert of Belgium, was conspicuously absent.
Van Aert has decided to focus on next weekend’s elite road race where he aims to take down double French champion Julian Alaphilippe.
Earlier, Dutch ace Ellen van Dijk successfully defended her women’s time trial crown in 44:28.60 over the same distance as the men’s.
She was ahead of the Australian Grace Brown by 12.73 seconds and the European champion from Switzerland Marlene Reusser (41.68 seconds).