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National Championships day 2 round-up

Lauren Stephens 2023 US National Championships TT

A bumper day of national championships saw 64 individual races across male/female and all of the elites/U23/junior races taking place. A huge amount to get through but plenty of star turns and victories from favourites and not so favourites too!


Going into this race, Lotte Kopecky was the overwhelming favourite to win her 5th consecutive Belgian TT title and she duly delivered. With no 2nd placed rider from last year, Shari Bossuyt, for obvious reasons, it was a comfortable winning margin of 61 seconds from youngster Febe Jooris. Lotte Kopecky even found time to fall off her TT bike mid-race and still take the win. She caught too much front brake in the wet conditions and slid out. She says there feels like little damage so she should be ok for Sunday’s road race.

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Another big favourite and another win in the USA. This time it was Chloe Dygert but the results will show it was a close-run thing in heavy rain at Knoxville. The main photo of this post is of Lauren Stephens battling the elements, with plenty of water around it was borderline like the Harrogate Worlds TT! A solid 4 horse race developed, with close times at the splits between Dygert, Stephens, Amber Neben and Trek Segafredo’s new signing Taylor Knibb. All 4 riders ended up within 35 seconds of each other.

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Audrey Cordon Ragot, Cedrine Kerbaol & Coralie Demay

The French TT race was one of the very few we actually got to see live today! Audrey Cordon-Ragot went into the race as the favourite and looked set to add to her 6 TT national titles. Instead, we were treated to a super strong ride from Cedrine Kerbaol as the 22-year-old took her maiden title after finishing 3rd in both of the previous 2 years. She’s been in really strong form recently so this result was definitely coming. St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93 had a great day out as well. They got Coralie Demay on the podium but also had 3 other riders finishing in the top 9 spots this year.

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There was plenty of hype to see what mountain biker Jenny Rissveds could do. She recently signed a road contract with Team Coop-Hitec Products and this was effectively her first race for the team. She had beaten her rivals in other time trials in the past 2 years despite a limited calendar and was comfortably the fastest in the race this year. She won by 48 seconds from last year’s champion Nathalie Eklund and over 2 minutes on Emilia Fahlin, a 3-time winner in the past.

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Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Emma Norsgaard & Julie Nielsen Maribo

Another rider with a streak to maintain, Emma Norsgaard had won the previous 2 editions of the Danish TT National Championships, with her strongest challenger Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig without a win in the race since 2018. Held on the same course as the 2022 edition, Uttrup Ludwig managed to match the winning time that Norsgaard set last year. Unfortunately for her Norsgaard was stronger this year to the tune of 47 seconds. Rounding out the podium was local rider Julie Nielsen Maribo.

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Ane Iversen, Mie Bjørndal Ottestad & Sigrid Ytterhaus Haugset

Over to Norway where Mie Bjørndal Ottestad took her maiden TT title. She previously won the road race back in 2020 so has now completed the set. She was flanked by a pair of Team Coop-Hitec Products riders. Ane Iversen, the 2022 champion, in 2nd place 38″ behind the winner and Sigrid Ytterhaus Haugset finishing 52″ back but taking her first TT podium position. 2-time champion Katrine Aalerud was taken out of contention with a puncture that saw her down in 7th but not a true reflection of her form.

Former champion Vita Heine also made a comeback to finish 6th. She hasn’t had a result listed on FirstCycling since the end of the 2021 season.

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After yesterday’s controversy in Luxembourg, where a U23 rider was quickest overall but wasn’t awarded the Elites title – we were treated to it again today in Hungary. Strangely, it was SD Worx riders who benefited each time with Blanka Vas setting the 2nd fastest time but ended up taking the Elites victory. Petra Szanko was quicker by 13″ but has to settle for the U23 title.

Vas, despite being a U23 rider, had declared for the main Elites title this year and that proved to be the right side of the rule as Szanko was trapped in the U23 bracket. Last year however saw the exact same podium and despite being U23 riders, they were promoted to the overall win. The rules remain borderline impenetrable for new fans to follow.

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After the juniors raced yesterday, it was the turn of the Elites today. A close-fought battle between Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka and Marta Lach ended up seeing the former take the win by 13 seconds. The win by the Canyon SRAM rider is the team’s second victory in a month, the first time they’ve achieved that feat since 2021. There was a minute between the lead pair and 3rd placed rider, Liv Racing TeqFind’s Marta Jaskulska.

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Urska ZIgart 2023 Slovenia TT National Championships

After a relatively close race last year, Urska Zigart made sure that her 3rd title would be a lot more clear-cut. We saw the kind of form she’s in at the Tour de Suisse Women with that solo break which was caught just 75 metres from the line. It transferred successfully onto the TT bike as she finished 1’43” ahead of all of her rivals, with the 2016-2017 champion Ursa Pintar finishing 2nd. It’s quite the contrast from last year where Zigart won by only 19 seconds.

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Czech Republic

18-year-old Eliska Kvasnickova took the national TT championship title by just 3 seconds from Lotto Dstny Ladies’ Kristyna Burlova. This result should bring her to the attention of bigger teams as Kvasnickova was also 3rd in the recent Tour de Feminin and a solid 7th on the TT stage of the Gracia Orlova stage race. She will definitely be worth a punt for one of the stronger Continental teams and should be one to keep a close eye on going forward.

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Nora Jencusova of BePink was the comfortable winner on the 23km route in Tlmače. It’s her 3rd TT championship in a row and follows on from her win last week at the Regiónom Nitrianskeho Kraja TT, where she beat the likes of Rotim Gafinowitz and Antri Christoforou. Both are national champions in their own right.

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Kelly Murphy retained her title from 2022 and claimed her 4th overall Irish TT championship. It was a pretty comfortable win with a gap of 1’56” over nearest challenger Joanna Patterson. It’s certainly quite the leap after winning from Patterson in 2022 by just 1 second!

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Lithuania’s Olivija Baleisyte tends to focus more on the track these days after previously racing for Aromitalia and Astana. She’s been doing the Track World Cup events this season and the Lithuanian TT was her first venture onto the road. She took her maiden win by 31″ from Akvile Gedraityte who continues to knock on the door. The 22-year-old has been on the podium 5 years in a row now without a victory.

Another retained title was taken by Hafdis Sigurðardóttir in Iceland. A comfortable win of 1’52” over Kristin Edda Sveinsdóttir. She doubled up with the road race last year and will be looking to do the same again. There’s been very much a generational shift with the 46-year-old and 4-time champion Ágústa Edda Björnsdóttir not taking part this year

Soltec’s Teklehaimanot Tsesfay won the Ethiopia TT. Last year’s African Conti junior TT champion continues to progress and was 4th in the U23 category this year.

Mongolia had its road race today, with its time trial coming 2 days ago. The national champion is Anujin Jinjibadam, who was 2nd in the TT behind today’s 2nd place finisher Solongo Tserenlkham. The time gaps were pretty impressive. A gap of nearly 5 minutes between 1st and 2nd and then nearly 18 minutes to 3rd place!

Main photo credit: Snowy Mountain Photography