The host nation of the 2022 UCI Road World Championships has opted not to have a rider contest the only race on the second day of competition, the under-23 time trial. Why? RIDE Media spoke to Jesse Korf to get an explanation.


– By Rob Arnold


Australia has a rich history in the under-23 time trial at the world championships. It’s an event that has been part of the worlds program since 1996 and is a baptism by fire of sorts for some riders who are knocking on the door of a professional contract and a career in cycling.

But today there wasn’t an Australian competing in this event at a ‘home’ world championships. The reason, as explained by AusCycling’s ‘Executive General Manager, Performance’ Jesse Korf, is that no riders ticked the requisite boxes of the national federation’s selection criteria.

“We’ve got selection criteria and standards which have been published and are available online for all to see,” Korf told me, “and Luke Plapp is still eligible for under-23 but he opted to race the elite TT instead.”

Apparently it was Plapp – and Plapp alone – who was up to the standards set out in the selection criteria and thus no other Australian under-23 rider was given the chance to experience racing the championships in Wollongong.”

Soren Waerenskjold has given Norway a second gold medal, winning the under-23 TT today in 34:13. The silver medal went to Alec Segaert of Belgium (at 0:16) while bronze was won by Britain’s Leo Hayter (at 0:24).

Korf recognises that it would have been a good opportunity for an Australian rider to experience competition at this level but countered by noting that it would set a “dangerous precedent for selection in future races”, as a rider who didn’t meet “the standards” would have been given a chance to race.

Adam Holm Jorgensen of Denmark was the final rider to start the TT today. He finished in 30th place, 3:52 behind Waerenskjold.

There is logic behind the decision not to have an Australian start today’s time trial but, to be sure that I correctly understood, I asked Korf to clarify the reason for there being no local starter.

“Based on the selection criteria and standards Luke was available for selection,” said Korf, “but the others were not up to the standards and that’s the reason why the selections were made the way they were.”

It was in the under-23 TT that Michael Rogers firmed up his status as a time trial rider of repute. After claiming the silver medal as a junior in the 1997 championships in San Sebastian, Rogers backed up in 1999 when he got a chance to race in the under-23 division when the worlds were held in Verona. In Italy 23 years ago Rogers scored another silver medal, missing out on the win by just one second.

A year later, when the worlds were held in Plouay, Rogers was on the podium once again: third behind Evgeny Petrov and another up-and-coming TT specialist, Fabian Cancellara. That was 2000 and Rogers was only at the start of what would become a long and successful career.

The experiences he had in Verona and Plouay served Rogers well in his formative years and, by 2003, he was back on the podium… originally as runner-up in Hamilton, Canada (and later, as the champion of the elite men’s TT in the year that David Millar confessed to having used EPO to help him achieve his ‘victory’).

Rogers would win the elite gold medal again in 2004 and 2005. (Note: tomorrow his nephew, Cameron Rogers, will contest the junior time trial with the Australian team.)

Meanwhile, plenty of other Australian riders have also enjoyed a chance to compete in the world championships thanks to the under-23 competition; in 1998 Cadel Evans – who was just starting his transition from mountain biker to road racer – was part of the Australian team for the worlds in Valkenburg, the Netherlands. Also in the under-23 ranks that year was a young bloke from Canberra, Mathew Hayman.

In the under-23 race of the 1998 worlds, Evans was ninth (in the race won by Thor Hushovd) and Hayman was 20th. It wasn’t a win but the experience served both riders well… and, as we now know, they would go on to have hugely successful professional careers.


In Wollongong in 2022, no Australian under-23 rider was given the chance to compete in the TT. And it’s apparently because… well, no one other than Luke Plapp was good enough, according to AusCycling’s selection criteria.

Australia will start with five riders in the under-23 road race on Friday. Those who made the selection are (in alphabetical order):

  • Matthew Dinham (NSW)
  • Dylan George (NSW)
  • Dylan Hopkins (ACT)
  • Jensen Plowright (VIC)
  • Rudy Porter (VIC)


According to Jesse Korf, none of the five listed above were up to “the standards” of the criteria and therefore no one was afforded the opportunity to compete in the TT.

In Geelong 12 years ago, it was Taylor Phinney who claimed the gold medal but he was pushed all the way by his Australian rival Luke Durbridge who rode the final kilometre with a flat tyre, finishing less than two seconds behind the American winner. In third place that day was Marcel Kittel while another Aussie TT specialist, Rohan Dennis, finished fifth.

Every experience of competition at this level counts. It gives riders a taste of international competition and the associated pressures. It can be a boost of confidence or even demoralising… but it’s a lesson for later years that has served many well.


We have Korf”s explanation but it still seems a shame to skip an opportunity that would surely have been a useful lesson for one young TT specialist.

For now, our thoughts go out to the likes of Carter Turnbull, the national champion in the under-23 TT. He’s been racing in Europe this season and results have been hard to come by but surely he would have relished a chance to get a taste of competition at the world championships, especially when they are being held on home soil. Alas, that hasn’t happened and it’s because the selection insists on a certain standard… it is the harsh reality of how difficult it is to make it in to the green and gold jersey for an event of this nature.



– By Rob Arnold