Gold medallist Norway’s Tobias Foss celebrates on the podium after the men’s individual elite time trial cycling event at the UCI 2022 Road World Championship in Wollongong on September 18, 2022. — AFP pic
Sunday, 18 Sep 2022 3:40 PM MYT
WOLLONGONG, Setp 18 — Norway’s Tobias Foss pulled off a huge upset to dethrone two-time defending champion Filippo Ganna and claim a maiden time-trial title at cycling’s road world championships in Australia on Sunday.
The 25-year-old conquered the 34.2 kilometres (21.2 miles) circuit in 40min 02.78sec to edge Swiss powerhouse Stefan Kung by 2.95sec.
Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel, fresh from winning the Vuelta a Espana Grand Tour this month, was 9.16sec adrift in third on the opening day of the championships at Wollongong, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Sydney.
Italy’s Ganna, the current standard bearer in time-trial racing, could only finish seventh, 56sec off the pace.
Slovenia’s two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar, who is not a pure time trial specialist, came sixth.
Foss won the Tour de l’Avenir in 2020, but was not among the favourites and he was stunned by the win.
“This is some kind of dream, I don’t believe it, it’s so unreal,” he said.
“My legs were really good … I was confident I was in good shape, but this is more than I can dream for.”
Kung, who was fifth at the world titles last year, was fastest through both the first and second time checks and looked destined to win. But he lost 13 seconds over the final phase.
Home favourite Lucas Plapp set the early pace before European champion Stefan Bissegger went faster, the first rider to average more than 50 kilometres per hour, until his time was shattered by Foss.
Britain’s Ethan Hayter looked destined to go close to Foss, but disaster struck mid-race when his chain came off forcing him to change bikes and he finished fourth.
Last year’s runner-up, Wout van Aert of Belgium, was a notable absentee.
Van Aert has opted to focus on the elite road race next weekend where he aims to topple French two-time champion Julian Alaphilippe. — AFP