After the inclusion of elite riders in the 2016 European Championships, U23 riders lost their only time of the year racing alone. It seems like UEC, the governing body of European cycling, has realized that was senseless, and U23 riders will have a separeted race this year. So who knows what can happen?
Herning, Denmark, will also hold the U23 women’s time trial. And it will be over the same course where elite women will race the following day, so of course we all will think “What would have happened if [insert name] had raced with the elite riders?”.
The best U23 rider was out of the elite top-10, as the Russian rider Anastasia Iakovenko ended in 11th scratch place, winning the gold in her category. The silver medal was for Belarus’ Kseniya Tuhai and Germany’s Lisa Klein got the bronze.
How is the course?
Don’t worry, no mountains have been invented for the ocasion. A totally flat time trial will decide the wearer of that cheesy Euro champ jersey during the following 12 months. There are not too technical sections apart from the same 180º turn as junior women will do in the morning, so long, straight roads will be the main character of the day. The most remarkable fact is the length of the course: 31.5 km.
Who can win here?
This will be a very open time trial, as there are at least five riders with real options of getting the gold. 2016 winner Anastasia Iakovenko is having a solid year in time trials, having been 6th in the Ljubljana-Domžale-Ljiubljana TT (1.1) and 4th at the Russian Championship.
But there’s a rider who joined Iakovenko in last year’s podium who seems to be having an even stronger year… although her performances in time trials haven’t been as great as expected. We’re talking about Germany’s Lisa Klein, 4th in the National TT Champs and 6th at the Healthy Ageing Tour (2.2) ITT. And what about local idol Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig? You all should know that we love her style of racing, as well as her kindness, so probably we’re not as objective as we should, but… she’s for sure the top favorite for the gold medal, after awesome performances as of March and up to… who knows!
We cannot forget about Séverine Eraud, silver at the French TT Championship; Clara Koppenburg, who was 4th at the Gracia Orlová TT; Floortje Mackaij; or Lisa Morzenti, 2016 junior Euro TT champ. The only Spanish rider in this time trial will be Valencian Sandra Alonso, in her first year as an U23 rider.