Ivanchenko lives up to her role as favourite

Tuesday 21 September 2021

In the glorious sunshine, the women tore down the starting ramp in Knokke-Heist towards ’t Zand in Bruges on a flat 19.3-km circuit. Number one favourite and new European Champion Ivanchenko started last and was able to live up to her role as favourite.

The first fast time, which many riders tried in vain to beat, was set by Dutch rider Anna van der Meiden. When it was Zoe Backstedt’s turn to pass the intermediate point, van der Meiden already felt the storm coming. The British rider was almost 39 seconds quicker and even extended her lead in the second part of the race to 1’14” at the finish.

Although she had powered across the finish line, it was still nail-biting for Backstedt. Top favourites Alena Ivanchenko and Antonia Niedermaier, the European and vice-European Champions respectively, were still racing. Germany’s Niedermaier missed Backstedt’s time and ended up 15 seconds slower at the finish.

However, Russia’s Ivanchenko managed to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. After improving on Backstedt’s time at the intermediate point by barely 2 seconds, the clock at the finish revealed that she had beaten the British rider’s time by 10 seconds. So there was no need for her to wait in the hot seat - she had clinched gold. Backstedt came second and Niedermaier took third place.