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Two months after setting a world record in the 4km discipline, American Ashton Lambie won the individual pursuit world championship title Friday in Roubaix, France.
Filippo Ganna, the time trial world champion — and the man who beat Lambie last year at worlds in the individual pursuit in Berlin — had to settle for third after a disappointing qualifying run put him into the bronze-medal round.
For Lambie, the rainbow jersey is just compensation after dedication years on the boards chasing the IP.
“I went out with the same schedule and at the end of the day it’s a race, the time doesn’t matter and you’re just racing against second place,” Lambie said. “With a [kilometer] and a half to go, I heard I was up by 0.4, then it kind of spread out the same way we raced the qualifiers so it went according to plan. It was awesome.”
In the gold-medal round, Lambie faced off against Ganna’s Italian compatriot Jonathan Milan.
Milan jumped to an early lead on the first lap, and held his advantage over Lambie for the next two 250m laps as well. At the 1,000m mark, though, Lambie nudged ahead.
At 2,000m, Lambie came through at 2:04.889, 0.4sec ahead of Milan, but down on his sub-four-minute world record pace.
At 3,000m, the two racers were still only separated by half a second.
Then Lambie pried open the gap to finish the fourth kilometer with a time of 4:05.060, and with a margin of more than a second over silver medalist Milan.
With the win, Lambie celebrated his first world individual pursuit title, hamming it up for the TV cameras by twisting his mustache.
“It’s hard to know what to say to do Ashton’s ride justice, I think it’s remarkable how he has gone out and fought hard to achieve something incredible, and will forever have created a piece of cycling history which is amazing for him and inspirational to American cyclists all over the world,” said USA Cycling track coach Rob Stanley. “And to top it off, he got on his bike and rode back to the hotel because he loves riding that much.”
The win also represented the first male American individual pursuit world title since Taylor Phinney captured it in 2010. American Chloe Dygert won the world individual pursuit title in 2020 — breaking her own world record twice in the process.
In the bronze-medal match, Ganna blasted out of the blocks, intent on not only capturing the bronze, but to perhaps set a world record, as he had done on three previous occasions in his career.
While Ganna clearly had the bronze in hand — catching and passing Switzerland’s Claudio Imhof — he was unable to get close to Lambie’s current record time of 3:59.93.
So, the Italian sat up, and waved to the crowd as he finished his last lap.
Lambie’s winning time of 4:05.060 was slower than his qualifying time of 4:03.237, but still faster than anything his competitors were able to produce on the day.
Unfortunately for Lambie, the IP is no longer an Olympic discipline, meaning he’s unable to chase Olympic gold in what was once one of the most prestigious events on the boards.
The track world championships continue in Roubaix through Sunday.
The worlds are held in the modern indoor Jean Stablinski Velodrome that sits right next to the historic outdoor velodrome where Paris-Roubaix finishes.