South African Keagan Girdlestone narrowly missed a podium position in the Junior Men’s Individual Time Trial after he sat in the bronze medal hot seat until the last four competitors were out on the route at the 2015 UCI Road World Championships yesterday in Richmond, Virginia, to tackle the U23 Individual Time Trial.
A total of 57 riders took part in the 30 kilometre event where Leo Appelt gave Germany their first individual gold medal of the event, clocking a time of 37 minutes and 45 seconds.
With Girdlestone in the hot seat, South African cycling fans and supporters were on the edge of their seats until the very end, when the final rider to roll down the ramp, Adrien Costa (USA) posted the second fastest time of the day to secure a silver medal and bump Girdlestone to fourth position. Costa finished 17 seconds behind Appelt while fellow-American Brandon Mcnulty claimed the bronze medal.
Girdlestone (18) has been living in New Zealand for the past three years, racing mostly in New Zealand and Australia. The 18-year-old has spent the past two-and-a-half months in Europe, competing in some UCI Tour races (Ain’Ternational-Rhône Alpes-Valromey Tour (2.1) and Ronde des Vallées (2.1)) and some prestigious non-UCI events as well.
“The first one was the Tour de Valromey, which was a nice hilly race,” said Girdlestone. “It was my first ever tour and I managed to win the first stage and the tour overall. I carried on doing some racing there where I won some non-UCI races but they were pretty prestigious races, which is good for my confidence. This helped me to win my second UCI Tour (Ronde des Vallées) which I did in France as well.”
Girdlestone’s fourth place was the best result for South Africa in the Junior category Time Trial at a World Champs. “It was a tough race,” continued Girdlestone. “It [the course] definitely wore you out with bumpy roads and many corners so it was tough to keep a good rhythm. My first lap was pretty good but I definitely felt the fatigue kick in on the second lap but managed to nurse myself and just miss out on the podium.”
Compatriot Greg de Vink was the 12th rider to start in the first batch earlier in the day. Speaking of his performance, De Vink said: “It started off pretty well but perhaps a little bit too hard and paid for it in the second lap. Otherwise I think it was a decent effort with my power but I lacked leg speed in the downhills in the end. There’s a lot that I can improve on and I need to spend more time on a time trial bike if I want to be competitive at World standard events.”
Summary of results – 2015 UCI Road World Championships (USA) – 22 September 2015
Men Junior ITT
1.Leo Appelt (GER) 37:45.01
2.Adrien Costa (USA) +17.22
3.Brandon Mcnulty (USA) +59.74
4.Keagan Girdlestone (RSA) +1:07.73
42.Gregory de Vink (RSA) +4:23.28
The 2015 UCI Road World Championships continues today with the Elite Men TT, starting at 15:30 South African time. There will be no South African Elite Men participating in the TT.