FLORENCE, Italy (AP) — Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands dominated the women's time trial to win her second gold medal at this year's road cycling world championships on Tuesday.
The time trial specialist, who was the pre-race favorite, posted a time of 27 minutes, 48.18 seconds, beating Linda Villumsen of New Zealand by 24.10 seconds. "I dreamt of this jersey and I felt the pressure a lot in the last few days, so now I'm very happy," Van Dijk said. "I started very fast, I slowed down only in the last kilometers."
The Dutchwoman had also done her homework before the race. "I'd studied the course carefully, training at five in the morning to avoid traffic and watching videos to get to know the turns better," she added.
Carmen Small of the United States was third, 28.74 seconds behind Van Dijk. Both were part of the American squad Specialized-Lululemon squad which successfully defended its team time trial title on the opening day on Sunday.
The powerful Van Dijk was one of the last down the ramp and the 26-year-old led from start to finish along the 21.8 kilometer (13.5-mile) course. It was her first individual world road cycling medal, while Villumsen made it onto the podium for the fifth consecutive year, following three bronze medals and a silver.
"Five times on the podium and not a single gold medal: I don't think it was bad luck, I just believe my opponents were stronger," Villumsen said. "I'm always missing something, I'll try to figure out what it is and try again next year."
Small, who considered retirement last season, edged out compatriot Evelyn Stevens by just four hundredths of a second for her first individual medal. "Both medals made me happy: the gold medal because I won it with my team and this bronze because I won it representing my country," Small said. "My teammate Ellen Van Dijk is a very special person, she's a hard worker and she's really strong.
"It's a very bittersweet feeling for me. Evelyn is a good friend, a teammate and a fellow countryman. We've spent a lot of time together this season and it's hard to have been beaten and have it be so close."
Defending champion Judith Arndt retired last season. Earlier, Igor Decraene of Belgium won the junior time trial, beating favorite Mathias Krigbaum of Denmark. The 17-year-old Decraene won in 26 minutes, 56.83 seconds over the flat, 21.8-kilometer (13.5-mile) course, 8.66 seconds faster than Krigbaum.
Zeke Mostov of the United States was third, 20.97 seconds slower than Decraene. Decraene, who is the Belgium national champion, finished second in the discipline in the European championships in July.