Damien Howson delivered gold to Australia on Monday, winning the under-23 time trial at the UCI Elite Road World Championships in Florence, Italy. The only rider to go under 50 minutes on the flat 42.7-kilometer course, Howson stopped the clock at 49:49.97 to improve on his bronze medal from 2012.
Yoann Paillot (France) was second, at 57 seconds, and Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark), Olympic champion in the track omnium, was third, at 1:10.
Despite crashing 25km into his ride, American Lawson Craddock, the 19th starter, set the early fast time and his mark of 51:31.35 held up until Paillot blasted over the line 52 minutes later. Craddock, who will graduate from the Bontrager development team to Argos-Shimano in 2014, went on to finish fifth, at 1:41, 19 seconds behind fourth place Campbell Flakemore (Australia).
“My front wheel just slid out,” said Craddock. “I think I minimalized time lost and I don’t think it would have changed much, but it’s a bummer to crash in the world championship, especially in the time trial where it’s no one’s fault but your own.”
Craddock, who has dropped 15 pounds in the last two years to improve his climbing, said he was content with his result on a pan flat course.
“It got the adrenalin pumping and I was able to push through,” he said. “It was a brutal TT. I don’t think it was a TT that really suited my strengths. I’m ecstatic with fifth.”
Craddock’s countryman and trade teammate Nathan Brown was 21st, at 2:52.