The European Championships time trial saw Swiss rider Marlen Reusser retain her European title from last year. She beat off the Dutch competition from world champion Ellen van Dijk and Riejanne Markus to take the title. The winning gap was small, just under 6 seconds separated Reusser and Van Dijk in the end. Held over 24km in Munich, a tough hill at the start helped create a gap of around 11 seconds that pretty much held through the next intermediate timing point. Only in the last section did Ellen Van Dijk manage to pull back some time but it wasn’t enough. Riejanne Markus was 27 seconds behind Reusser at the finish.
The initial climb lasted 700 metres but contained some tough steep parts that had the potential to see riders overcook things early on, before getting to the flat sections. Juliette Labous was the early leader at the middle intermediate section but Riejanne Markus took a commanding chunk of time out of the French rider. It was only when the top 2 favourites came through that her time was beaten. It was a similar story at the finish, where Markus sat in the hot seat for a long time until the final two riders finished.
Marlen Reusser was able to call on the advantage of chasing, catching and drafting past a soon-to-be retiring Lisa Brennauer. The German looked a shadow of her former world champion time triallist self after a tough season and a weekend full of track racing. This catch may have made the difference between Reusser and Van Dijk.
Off the podium, Audrey Cordon-Ragot was 5th, Olympic road race champion Anna Kiesenhofer 5th, Juliette Labous 6th and Julie van de Velde was 7th.
The race is one of the few head-to-heads that we will see in the time trial discipline before the world championships this year in Australia. Only the time trial in the Simac Ladies Tour now offers a chance for riders to test their time trialling in a race situation.
“My radio didn’t work and it didn’t feel like it was my day. I also rode without my Garmin and I felt like I didn’t have the legs to win.
Mentally it was good to see Lisa riding ahead of me. I didn’t hear any split times, but I did know that Lisa is a good time trialist. So that helped me and I have to thank Lisa for that.
I am very happy with this gold medal. But I also have to say that I am grateful for the people who helped me with my aerodynamics. I have a new cockpit on my time trial bike, since this spring. It took a while, but it had to fall right once. This bike is very fast, I felt that today. But this victory is not just mine, but real teamwork.Marlen Reusser