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Canada’s Houle Debuts in 25th as Kiryienka Nets Historic Gold in Elite Men’s ITT @ Road Worlds

by pedalmag.com
Vasil Kiryienka  ©  Cor Vos
September 23, 2015 (Richmond, VA) – Kiryienka, 34, claimed a first-ever gold for Belarus in the 53.5km Elite Men’s Individual Time Trial at the 2015 UCI Road World Championships for a surprise final podium that featured none of the pre-race favourites. Adriano Malori (Ita) won silver by a 9-second margin, while France’s Jérôme Coppel netted the bronze at 26 seconds back.

Hugo Houle  ©  Peter Kraiker

For Canada’s Hugo Houle, the recently crowned national time trial champ, it was a solid day at the office for his debut in the Elite category at the Road Worlds with a respectable 25th place result. His veteran teammate, Ryan Roth, former national road champ and Gastown GP winner in 2015, finished 44th.

Ryan Roth  ©  Ethan Glading

“I’m really happy with this result. I didn’t set myself a goal in terms of ranking. I did exactly what I wanted to do and with my 25th place finish I am very, very happy. My time (1:05:05.32) was about a minute from the top-10 so it was very good,” said Houle who managed his energy well. “I really could not have been better. I gave everything I had in terms of power. Technically, I managed my start well and was consistent taking good lines. It was an amazing day.”

Bialoblocki  ©  Cor Vos
One of the earlier starters of the 65 riders, Poland’s Marcin Bialoblocki established an early best time of 1:03:51. Yet that fast time was clearly set to be demolished when National French champion Coppel, 29, one of the outside favourites, took to the course. Canada’s Roth was also an early starter sitting in the top 10 early on.

Jerome Coppel  ©  Ethan Glading

But if Coppel went from strength to strength, moving from sixth in the first checkpoint to eventual bronze by the finish, and Malori only seemed to run dangerously short of energy as he crested the time trial’s final ascent, Kiryienka was on top of his game throughout.

Adriano Malori  ©  Ethan Glading

Fastest at each of the three checkpoints, Kiryienka faced off a determined challenge from Malori, as the Belarus all-rounder pounded along the long, broad boulevards and country highways of Richmond’s fast course. The last rider on the course and the 2014 silver medallist, Tony Martin, considered a leading pre-race favourite, was ten seconds behind Kiryienka at CP1.

Tom Dumoulin  ©  Cor Vos

Tom Dumoulin (NED), bronze last year, did not have such a good day either settling for fifth. Coppel’s bronze medal is the first for France in the Elite Men’s Time Trial since Laurent Jalabert won gold back in 1997.

Martin  ©  Cor Vos

“It was the kind of course that suits me, and even if [multiple Time Trial Champion] Fabian Cancellara and [defending 2014 Champion] Bradley Wiggins were not here, all the other top names took part,” said Kiryienka who rides for Team Sky. “It was a race with a high level [of participation] and it was a hard race to win.”

Kiryienka  ©  Cor Vos

Fourth in the Vuelta a España’s medium-length time trial two weeks ago, he was also second in the Tour de Pologne’s final time trial in August, Belarus national time trial champion in June for a third time in his career, and winner of the Giro d’Italia’s 59-kilometre time trial on May 23rd.

“I had the time splits, and that was important, but it was a race against myself. I knew from the beginning that I was on a good day. Today was my day,” he concluded.

Full results here.





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