UCI World Championships: Day 1

Day 1 of the World Championships in Yorkshire started off with a first – a Mixed Team Time Trial. Teams of six, three men and three women competed against each other to claim the rainbow jersey.

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The men set off on a lap as a group of three and as soon as the second rider crossed the finish line, the women could start their lap.

Team GB set the early benchmark and it turned out to be good enough for third, finishing 51 seconds behind overall leaders Netherlands and Germany finishing 22 seconds down in second.

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The Harrogate course providing more lumps than an old mattress certainly made it testing for the riders. Many of the teams dropped their third rider as the final time was on the second rider to cross the line.

The format has been one which has split opinion, for the reason that it’s not a ‘true’ Team Time Trial as the team is effectively split. For me I think it’s great to see mixed teams and I liked the format – however, there were lengthy periods of time with not enough riders on track.

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I think there’s two reasons for this, not enough teams took the Time Trial seriously enough and secondly I think the race organisers could of had chaos on their hands of who was coming and who was going had teams been allowed out one after another rather than batches of four.

The first point, of not enough teams taking the race seriously enough, is a big one. Ten nations competed plus the UCI World Cycling Team. Considering 15 teams will be taking part in the individual time trial, I’d have liked to have seen teams representing this discipline better. Equally, and with the greatest amount of respect for the riders today, teams didn’t seem to field their strongest teams. I’d have loved to have seen the Barnes sisters in Team GB and some bigger hitters in other teams, too. I’m not saying it would have changed the end result, but it would have bought some serious kudos to this event. A rainbow jersey is still a rainbow jersey, after all.

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The crowds today were fantastic, lining the course all the way around, considering it was a dreary afternoon on a Sunday, Yorkshire folk did themselves proud.

Bring on the next eight days!

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