Great Britain's Emma Pooley has become the country's first ever Women's World Time Trial Champion after putting in a stunning ride to destroy her rivals on the 22.9 kilometre course in Geelong. Earlier, however, there had been disappointment for Alex Dowsett, a puncture costing him the chance of pipping Trek Livestrong team mate Taylor Phinney to the under-23 title.
Pooley, who evidently has worked hard on her descending skills, was quickest at every time checkpoint around the course, bettering the time set by previous leader, four-time champion Jeannie Longo from France, who is approaching her 52nd birthday, by just shy of three quarters of a minute.
The British cyclist, who rides for Cervelo TestTeam, had a nervous wait as the cyclists behind her came home, but the final potential rival to her time of 32:48:44, Germany's Judith Arndt, was 15 seconds down as she crossed the line to clinch the silver medal.
The 34-year-old Arndt, who won bronze in the event all of 13 years ago, squeezed out her HTC-Columbia team mate Linda Vilumsen, who was riding in the black of New Zealand, who takes the bronze medal for the second year running, although 12 months ago she was representing her native Denmark.
Pooley will now go for the road race and time trial double on Saturday, the day before her 28th birthday.
Reflecting on her success today, Pooley, who was born in London, raised in Norwich and now lives in Switzerland, said: "Yeah it's fantastic, I can't quite believe it. Maybe I will wake up in five minutes and it will be this morning again!"
Pooley did face a last-minute panic when she had to change her bike's set-up at the request of UCI scrutineers, saying: "We had some last minute adjustments to make. I have two bikes, one to train on and one to race on, and at the last moment, I was racing on the training bike and maybe I haven't raced on it for a while. It hasn't been checked and they (the UCI) were very strict. But at the end of the day, it's more about the legs than the bike."
She continued: "I think the time trial is a fairly good test, I'm really happy, I guess it all went well and I quite like the fact that this year no radios were allowed so no one was getting intermediate time checks which meant all you could do is ride your fastest and the fastest person wins.”
In the earlier men’s under-23 time trial, Taylor Phinney of the United States confirmed his status as the pre-race favourite, winning by 1.9 seconds from Australia's Luke Durbridge.
Britain's Alex Dowsett, Phinney's team mate at Trek Livestrong - the pair part ways at the end of the season, Dowsett going to Team Sky, Phinney to BMC Racing - saw his medal hopes wrecked as he punctured at the end of the first of two laps of the 31.8km course.
Dowsett , who had been 2.36 seconds ahead of Phinney at the first intermediate time check said he was "devastated" at the incident, which forced him to swap his time trial bike for a standard road bike.
Eventually, the 21-year-old trailled home in 31st place, 3:25:19 down on the American, who had posted a time of 42:50:29.
“On a strange bike I was unable to sprint, unable to pedal, so I was just losing time all the time,” explained Dowsett, who added: "I’m devastated.”
Phinney subsequently sent Dowsett a message via Twitter that read: "maaaaate. Was so pissed when that happened to you bro! Such crap!"
The British rider said he would now focus on Friday's under-23 men’s road race and next month's Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
“I’ve got to get my mind set on a different race, different goals. It’s gone now so I look forward to the road race and the Commonwealth Games to make up for it there,” he said.
Women's Time Trial Result 1. Emma Pooley (Great Britain) 32:48.44 2. Judith Arndt (Germany) @15.17 3. Linda Melanie Villumsen (New Zealand) @15.80 4. Amber Neben (USA) @37.66 5. Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (France) @43.94 6. Evelyn Stevens (USA) @1:00.08 7. Tara Whitten (Canada) @1:05.91 8. Shara Gillow (Australia) @1:13.18 9. Emilia Fahlin (Sweden) @1:22.20 10. Tatiana Guderzo (Italy) @1:25.55 Men's Under-23 Time Trial Result 1. Taylor Phinney (USA) @42:50.29 2. Luke Durbridge (Australia) @1.90 3. Marcel Kittel (Germany) @24.01 4. Nélson Oliveira (Portugal) @27.96 5. Rohan Dennis (Australia) @46.87 6. Matteo Mammini (Italy) @49.88 7. Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) @1:06.55 8. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spain) @1:18.48 9. Andrei Krasilnikau (Belarus) @1:35.62 10. Geoffrey Soupe (France) @1:38.21 31. Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) @ 3:25.19
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.