Harrogate, England - Mikkel Bjerg became the first rider in history to win the U23 Time Trial World Championships three times in a row on Tuesday. The Hagens Berman Axeon rider, while competing for his home country of Denmark, bested teammate Ian Garrison by twenty-six seconds to take the decisive victory. Brandon McNulty was third.
The slightly undulating, 30.3 km course was unforgiving as torrential rain made the course slick and in some spots dangerous due to standing water. But Bjerg’s form would not be denied as he came to Worlds with recent time trial wins at Hafjell and Chrono Champenois Masculin International. “Today was really crazy, the weather conditions were terrible but I managed to pull it off,” said an exhilarated Bjerg. “I was told five minutes before the start there were some big puddles of water on the road and my coach navigated me through the course and told me to just hold on to my bars and go full gas.” And full gas he went. Ignoring the rain, the 20-year-old started down the ramp much like he did in 2018, on a mission to keep his World title. Bjerg laid down the fastest time to the checkpoint and looked virtually unbeatable as he sped his way toward the finish. "There was so much pressure, and I would say mostly from myself," Bjerg said. "It would almost have been not good if I didn't win, so I'm really happy to take a third title. To be honest, I feel really bad now, I'm really dizzy actually." Garrison, winner of the 2019 USA U23 and elite time trial titles, sat in the hotseat for some time as much of the field, including countryman McNulty and teammate Bjerg, set out on course. Luckily for Garrison, it was only the 2-time defending world champion that set a faster time, solidifying Garrison’s silver medal. Also racing were João Almeida and Andre Carvalho who placed 28th and 42nd respectively. Bjerg recently signed a 3 year contract with UAE Team Emirates and will be headed to the WorldTour next season. (Header photo of Mikkel Bjerg [center] and Ian Garrison [left] by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)