Tobias Foss repeatedly shook his head in disbelief after completing an almighty upset on day one of the world road cycling championships.
The Norwegian upstaged a star-studded field to take out the men’s individual time-trial at Wollongong, easily the biggest win of his professional career.
Foss, 25, clocked 40 minutes 2.78 seconds over the technical 34.2km course to take the lead and then had several anxious minutes in the hot seat before his win was confirmed.
“It was a perfectly executed race. If I was top-10 today I would be really, really satisfied,” Foss said.
“Top five, I was hoping for. So (to) wear that jersey will be really, really special and I will try to honour it as good as I can.
— Katy M (@writebikerepeat) September 18, 2022
The gold medal was supposed to come down to Italy’s two-time defending world champion Filippo Ganna and young gun Remo Evenepoel, who last week became the first Belgian in 44 years to win a Grand Tour when he took out the Vuelta a Espana.
But Evenepoel had to settle for bronze, 9.16 seconds off the pace, while Swiss Stefan Kung took second at 2.95.
Ganna, the last rider to start, could only manage seventh, a whopping 55.32 seconds behind Foss.
Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, the two-time Tour de France champion, finished sixth.
Elite-men world time trial championships #Wollongong2022
🥇 TOBIAS FOSS 🇳🇴
🥈 Stefan Küng 🇨🇭
🥉 Remco Evenepoel 🇧🇪
Wow, who had predicted this? pic.twitter.com/sYOP0K1p5z
— José Been (@TourDeJose) September 18, 2022
British rider Ethan Hayter held the lead at the first checkpoint, but he had to swap bikes when he dropped his chain.
Hayter finished fourth at 39.95 seconds.
Foss’ only previous professional wins were two Norwegian time-trial championships and the national road race title.
But he showed his potential by taking out the 2019 Tour de l’Avenir, regarded as a strong indicator of rising stars.
Australian Luke Plapp was the early leader, but he quickly dropped out of contention and finished 12th.
Plapp finished his Grand Tour last week at the Vuelta and said before Sunday’s race that it had taken plenty out of him.
After finishing runner-up in the under-23 time-trial at last year’s worlds, Plappp made his elite debut at Wollongong.
“I think it was the best I could’ve asked for. I knew it wasn’t going to be a great ride coming off the Vuelta,” he said.
“I was satisfied, to be honest, with where my body was at and how I felt this morning. I think that was slightly better than I did expect.”
Compatriot Rohan Dennis, a two-time world champion, is not racing at Wollongong as it clashes with his brother’s wedding.
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