cycling news / 4th position for Wirtgen at U23 Worlds
AFTER AN ASTONISHING RACE, YOUNG LUXEMBOURGER TOM WIRTGEN FINISHES THE U23 WORLD TIME TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN FOURTH POSITION.
The 21-year old just misses out on podium spot by 1.7 seconds.
Today was the first time that a Leopard Pro Cycling rider showed himself at the startline of the 2017 Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway. After a good training period and satsifying recent results with a TT win at the Tour de Moselle, youngster Tom Wirtgen was more than ready to go all out for the coming 37.2 kilometres.
Immediately after the start, Tom found a good rhythm which resulted in a very solid intermediate time at the first checkpoint after just three kilometers. Luckily, Tom was able to continue this steady pace in the following eight kilometres that were somewhat hilly. This meant that the oldest of the Wirtgen brothers was still in the top flight of the intermediate times and a podium place was not longer unrealistic.
Crossing the line in 48’24” – meaning an average of 46.1 km/h – the long wait began as rider after rider were not able to beat the Leopard rider’s time. In the end the Dane Mikkel Bjerg wins the gold medal with relative ease. Silver went to American Brandon McNulty at 1’05”, whilst Frenchman Corentin Ermenault beat Tom’s time by 1.7 seconds for the third podium place. All in all, a much better result than expected, but in the end the fourth position tastes somewhat bittersweet.
Tom Wirtgen: “I am really happy with my race. If somebody before the race had said to me that I would finish fourth, it would be super. Beforehand I aimed at a top 15 place, but when I passed the finish line for the first time I saw that I was in the top five, which motivated me for the second lap. At the finish I was in third place, but later it became fourth. Of course you want to have a medal, but as I said fourth is already really good. I am really proud, also for a small country like Luxembourg, this result is very good.
Markus Zingen, Team Manager: “This is a great result for Tom. He can be very proud, just like we at Leopard are. I can imagine that missing a medal by less than two seconds is tough, but if you see where he comes from after his big injury in 2016, this result should only give him more confidence. We are happy to have Tom for one more year in the U23 ranks, in which we can offer him many other challenges to improve as a rider and for sure will see more good results from him in the near future.”