Remco Evenepoel will swap one rainbow jersey for another. The outgoing World Road Champion won the 2023 World Time Trial Championship with a perfectly calibrated ride to overcome two-time champion Filippo Ganna on a course that was built for his strengths. British rider Joshua Tarling was a mild-upset bronze medalist over American Brandon McNulty as Belgium’s other big threat, Wout van Aert, finished fifth.
- Evenepoel laid down a well-paced ride on a course that required riders leave something in reserve for the final kilometer: he trailed only Ganna at the first intermediate time check, by four seconds, and led at every time check following by a remarkably consistent 12 seconds. Ganna himself rode with exceptional consistency, losing no time on the final cobbled climb to Stirling Castle despite outweighing Evenepoel by roughly 20 kg.
- The revelation of sorts was Tarling. We say “of sorts” because the British rider on Ineos Grenadiers has signaled his exceptional talent for several years now, including a junior world TT title last year. But Tarling is just 19 years old, in his first year on the WorldTour, and while he could have raced the U23 field chose instead to enter the elite men’s race, and affirmed his decision with a spectacular ride.
- While Tarling and Ganna seemed to have little trouble on the course, other big-bodied TT specialists struggled more. Geraint Thomas, Stefan Küng, and 2022 World Time Trial Champion Tobias Foss were all well off the pace even at the first time check. Van Aert picked up steam in the final kilometers, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a conservative start.
- The win is an important boost for Evenepoel heading into his Vuelta a España title defense. Not quite a week ago in the road race he was aggressive early but faded late, unable to follow the moves on a relentless course. His TT win, amid the pressure of being a race favorite, is a good signal for his form ahead of the Spanish Grand Tour, which starts with a team time trial in Barcelona and has another, 25.8 km individual test on stage 10.
- On the other side, Tadej Pogačar had an unexpectedly quiet ride, finishing in 22nd place, more than three minutes down, after animating the road race and outsprinting Mads Pedersen for bronze. Pogačar will finish out his season with one day races, starting with the Bretagne Classic – Ouest France.
- As for Van Aert, 2023 will go down as a remarkably consistent season, but one low on victories. Van Aert was in the thick of almost every major race on his calendar this season, finishing on the podium at Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix, four stages of the Tour de France, and road worlds. But he’s taken just two victories, including the E3 Prijs and the Belgian TT title, where he beat Evenepoel after his rival fell (Van Aert also gifted Gent-Wevelgem to his trade teammate, Christophe Laporte). One senses he’d trade that consistency for a big win in Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders, or a rainbow jersey, but that will all have to wait for next year.
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