Liam Flannery and Alexander Miller off to a positive start at Road World Championships
Bermuda’s Liam Flannery and Alexander Miller enjoyed personal best performances to get their Cycling Road World Championships campaigns off to a positive start in Belgium today.
Competing in the Men’s Junior Individual Time-Trial, Flannery completed the 22.30-kilometre flat course from Knokke-Heit to Brugge, in 28min 9sec for a 54th-place finish, with compatriot Miller less than 40 seconds behind in 65th in 28:46.
Gustav Wang, of Denmark, clinched the title in a blistering time of 25:37, beating Joshua Tarling, of Britain, to the gold medal by 20 seconds.
Reflecting on the race, Flannery was left encouraged with his performance against the world’s best junior riders, having averaged an impressive personal-best speed of just under 30mph.
“It was a very fast and flat course and so to average 29.5mph, which is the fastest I’ve ever gone, is very encouraging,” he said. “Obviously I’d love to have finished higher but we are racing against the best riders of our age group in the world and so that level is extremely high.
“I know I did the best I could and it’s pleasing to know how I can perform up against the best in the world. To finish not so far back is really encouraging and overall it was a decent result for me so I have to be pleased overall.
“It’s always great to be able to represent Bermuda and show our colours at such a prestigious event.”
Miller, who was also delighted with his endeavours, spoke of the significance of competing in such a prestigious event and against such a stellar field, in his and Flannery’s overall development.
“I was very happy with my performance,” he said. “I had a goal in mind from the outset and I’m pleased that I managed to achieve that. I feel finishing 65th overall against the best riders of my age group in the world is really respectable.
“I’ve never come close to hitting that speed in a time-trial before and I think the fact of just being in an event like this makes you ride faster.
“It just felt special being here and having fans along the course cheering you on. Even in the warm-up we had young children coming up and looking at the bikes and cheering for us; it was really special.
“Coming into the finish line and seeing some of the top times, it was a little crazy seeing the time difference and how fast some of these guys are.
“However, it is all about gaining that experience against the best in the world. Coming from Bermuda, it can be difficult sometimes to see what level you are really at, and that’s why it’s important that we compete in these massive events and have that chance to see and develop.”
Flannery and Miller will return for the Junior Men’s Road Race on Friday, followed a few hours later by Hopkins, White and Narraway racing in the under-23 category.
“Hopefully those initial nerves are now gone and I have a good race on Friday,” Miller added. “I was stressing out a little before the first race, but now I have had a chance to see what the level is like out here and how big the event is.
“Whatever happens, I’ll go out and there and try my best.”