The ARA Australian Cycling Team has continued its love affair with Stirling at the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships courtesy of Oscar Chamberlain powering to the Men Junior Individual Time Trial world championship.
The 18-year-old Canberran lived up to the hype of being billed as a favourite for Friday’s 22.8km time trial, remaining composed and sticking to his pacing strategy to win by 24.78 seconds ahead of Great Britain’s Ben Wiggins.
Chamberlain looked out to his family from the hot seat in a combination of disbelief and jubilation when the world championship win was confirmed. A feeling he said might take a few days to wear off.
“This has been my dream since I was a little boy. It was always in the back of my mind that it was possible, and I think if you don’t think about it then it’s not going to happen – but I can’t believe it,” Chamberlain said.
“Obviously everyone’s goal coming in is to win. I don’t think people are going to come here to not try their best, so I woke up this morning and had a goal – and that was to win.
“After the road race, I didn’t quite achieve my goal. I came 10th so it wasn’t the end of the world but that gave me a little more fire in the belly.
“The next dream is to do this in elite. Being world champion in elite among the pro peloton would just be a dream come true. Today is a step towards that.”
Chamberlain made his mark on the time trial in the second half of the course, extending a four-second advantage over Wiggins at the 18.4km mark to 24 at the Stirling Castle cobbled finish.
That came after the Australian clocked in at 4th at split one, 9.7km into the race, which he said made him up the tempo over the middle section of the course.
“On the way out it was a headwind and I knew some of the boys had gone out pretty fast, and I guess the flat bit was going to be my strength. I’m a big guy and I got a big gear on the front and was just driving it along there,” Chamberlain said.
“I felt good. I was close at the first time check but I don’t think I was winning, which I guess boosted me up a bit. Then on the small rollers I just gave it everything because I knew that’s where someone like me, a bigger guy, would lose a bit of time.
“And then the last kilometre was just as much as I could. The cobbles were just killing me – felt like I wasn’t moving and then got across the line and got the good news. I'm just stoked it was good enough.”
Chamberlain’s moment in the Stirling sun completes a green and gold sweep of the junior individual time trials at the 2023 world championships, after Felicity Wilson-Haffenden's victory yesterday.
It’s also Australia’s fourth individual time trial medal at the Glasgow worlds, joining Hamish McKenzie’s bronze in the U23 Men and Grace Brown’s silver in Women Elite on Thursday.
“It’s super cool after yesterday’s win and Hamish’s bronze, and he was second here last year so I had to bring it home for him this year, and then silver in the elite women. All of those were big shoes to fill today,” Chamberlain said.
“I think the future for Australian cycling is super bright.”
Chamberlain’s junior teammates Wil Holmes and Josh Cranage finished 20th and 30th respectively.
Main picture: ZW Photography/SWpix.com