The 2018 women’s world championship time trial takes place on a hilly 28.5km course starting in Hall-Wattens before finishing in the host city of Innsbruck. A number of short climbs will really test the legs – the last little ‘nick’ in the profile map below could be the deciding point as a test for how well riders have paced the race up to that point.
Women’s World Championship Time Trial Route
Women’s World Championship Time Trial Contenders
There’s a very strong chance that this year’s female world time trial champion will once again be Dutch. If all goes to plan, the Netherlands could realistically find themselves blocking out the podium with Annemiek Van Vleuten, Anna Van der Breggen and Ellen Van Dijk.
Annemiek Van Vleuten is the existing champion, winning by 12 seconds in Bergen last year on a hilly course. Ellen Van Dijk is a former world champion herself, taking the crown in Florence in the 2013 edition. She’s also the reigning European time trial champion, taking the victory in Glasgow this year by a hair (officially 2 seconds) over Van der Breggen. It’d be nice to make Anna Van der Breggen the favourite, if only because it’s one of the few major races she’s never won on a loaded palmares. With the route not as tough as Bergen last year, it should swing the race more towards Van Dijk’s strengths over Van Vleuten’s climbing legs, with Van der Breggen the more all-rounder option.
The German efforts will be led by Lisa Brennauer and Trixi Worrack. Lisa Brennauer is the 2014 World champion but has finished 12th and 6th in the last two editions. She won her National championships this year and finished 2nd and 3rd (twice) in other time trials this season. A poor 14th at the European champs shows some inconsistency – getting on the podium will be a strong result. Trixi Worrack smashed things at the European championships taking a distant 3rd spot and earning a medal. Just over a minute behind the Dutch riders fighting for the win, she found herself nearly a minute ahead of 4th place herself. A top 10 will be a good result.
French hopes are with Wiggle-High5’s Audrey Cordon-Ragot. She helped guide the team to 2nd place in the Madrid Challenge recently, building on her 4th place at the European Championships TT. She’s the national French champion, winning that comfortably by 29 seconds in 2018. New Zealander Georgia Williams has only done 4 time trials (and a team time trial) all season – managing to win the national jersey, finishing 3rd on the extremely short Herald Sun Tour TT and 5th in the Emukmeen XXXI. Bira and a strange outlier of 38th in the Boels Ladies Tour prologue. She’s another capable of top-10 finish.
Cervelo-Bigla rider Cecile Uttrup Ludwig has a chance here, she managed 3rd in the short prologue stage at the Festival Elsy Jacobs, 10th on the WWT level Emakumeen XXXI. Bira TT stage and won her national TT jersey this Summer too. In the recent team time trials in August, she helped Cervelo-Bigla finish on the podium twice – in 3rd place each time. Her Belgian teammate Ann Sophie-Duyck also won her National champs this year with strong results at the Emakumeen XXXI. Birra (8th), Ljubljana TT (5th), European Champs (9th), Chrono Champenois (5th) and the same 3rd places in the pair of recent TTTs for Cervelo-Bigla. She should stand a chance of a top-10 result.
American Leah Thomas is the recent winner of the Chrono Champenois, an individual time trial race that’s a great warm-up for the Worlds. She also finished 9th in the Boels Ladies Tour TT, 6th in the BeNe Ladies Tour TT, 2nd in the catchily named Tour de Feminin – O cenu Českého Švýcarska, 4th in the Chrono de Gatineau, 4th in the Tour of the Gila TT and 4th in the Joe Martin Stage Race TT. She often races at the level below the WWT but the strong consistent results show she could manage a top-10.
Women’s World Championship Time Trial Outsiders
Brits will be supporting Hannah Barnes and Hayley Simmonds. Hannah Barnes is the National champion but has only finished 11th and 20th in time trials during stage races this season. She finished 9th in the World Champs last year though and another top-10 would be a great result. Hayley Simmonds is more of a TT specialist, she’s had strong results in 2018 finishing 3rd at the Commonwealth Games, 2nd in the Ljubljana TT race, 3rd in the Chrono Champenois and 8th in the European Championships. She gets her best results at the level below the top so a top-15 finish would be good for her.
Swedish Wiggle-High5 rider Emilia Fahlin has had a great 2018 season overall – but has probably moved backwards at time trialling at the expense of stronger all-round results with only a 2nd place in the National Champs to speak of. 2nd Overall at the Tour of Norway, 4th Overall at the Lotto Belgium Tour and 6th Overall in the Madrid Challenge shows a strong second half of the season though.
If the top 3 Dutch women fail, then there’s Lucinda Brand as another option. She was a part of the Sunweb team that won the team time trial at the Madrid Challenge recently. She, unfortunately, crashed in the final TT of the Boels Ladies Tour meaning her 51st there isn’t representative. She’s had other strong races as part of the Sunweb TTT effort and finished 3rd in both the National TT and the Thüringen Ladies Tour TT as well. She’s capable of a top-10 if all goes well for her.
Women’s World Championship Time Trial Prediction
1 – Ellen Van Dijk