By: Stephen Farrand
Paillot, Hansen round out podium
Damien Howson (Australia) blasted to victory in the Under 23 men's
time trial at the world championships, adding a rainbow jersey to his
green and gold Australian Under-23 national champion's jersey and his
The Adelaide-born rider set a time of 49:49, covering the pan flat
43.5km course from Pistoia to Florence at an average of 52.3km/h. Howson
beat Yoann Paillot (France) by a massive 57 seconds, while Lasse Norman
Hansen (Denmark) finished third at 1:10.
Campbell Flakemore (Australia) finished fourth, just off the podium,
1:22 behind his compatriot. The USA's Lawson Craddock finished fifth,
1:41 down after being affected by a mid-race crash. Ireland's Ryan
Mullen was seventh at 1:47.
Howson took third place last year but will have little chance to show
off his rainbow jersey, as he will ride with Orica-GreenEdge in 2014
after signing a multi-year deal with the Australian WorldTour team. He
is widely considered to be a future Grand Tour winner and seems to have
the potential to follow in the footsteps of Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers
and Richie Porte.
"At the start of the season I won the Australian and Oceania titles
and so set myself the goal of taking all three. This has been a major
focus of mine all year, so I'm so happy to have done it," Howson said
after pulling on his rainbow jersey.
The time trial was all about power, speed and aerodynamics. Howson’s
ride was a perfect balance of all three. He is tall and powerful but not
muscular, resembling Bradley Wiggins more than Fabian Cancellara.
Howson has the strength to push out the watts needed to ride at over
50km/h and combines it with a near perfect aero position on the bike. He
is able to keep a flat back despite his tall build, with his arms
tucked in close together to help him penetrate the air as smoothly as
possible. He follows the same race strategy for every time trial he
"I always try and maintain a constant pace from start to the finish. I
focus on what I can do best. I was told I was doing a good ride and I
think this is one of the best rides I've ever done. I'm happy about
Howson had a taste of riding with Orica-GreenEdge as a stagiaire at
the Tour of Utah. He will make the full step up in 2014, with the dream
of developing into a Grand Tour contender.
"I was happy to sign a contract with Orica-GreenEdge 2014," he said.
"I rode against some WorldTour teams at the Tour Down Under and got a
taste of racing with them in Utah. It was a great. I met the guys and
learnt about the differences between Under 23 racing and the top level
racing. I'm excited for next year and for the future."
Paillot takes silver for France
Silver medalist Paillot is the current French and European time trial
champion and already rides as a professional with the La Pomme
Marseille Continental team, which no doubt helped him take on the other
"When I saw the course, I knew I was one of favourites and this
pushed me to do better. I'm happy with silver," he said, confirming he
will stay with La Pomme Marseille next year.
"We've got a good programme of races and we've done well this year. I
hope to ride in the WorldTour some time in the future but I'm happy at
La Pomme Marseille for now."
Hansen to ride for Garmin-Sharp in 2014
Lasse Norman Hansen completed the podium, taking bronze. Like Howson,
he will also ride in the WorldTour in 2014, with Garmin-Sharp. He won
Olympic gold in the Omnium on the track but hopes to become a cobbled
classics contender during his professional career.
"I was really hoping to be good today. I think I timed my form well
and did a perfect ride but Damien was better today," he said sportingly.
"I was leading by less than a second at the first split but that was
because my plan was to start fast and try to hold my pace. But I died a
bit between the splits and just wasn't fast enough."
Howson, Paillot, and Hansen will all ride in Friday's Under 23 road
race, as the leading cycling nations clash on the tough circuit around
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