Neben takes surprise time-trial gold in Doha
Amber Neben surged to a surprise time-trial gold at the UCI Road World Championships as favourite Anna van der Breggen finished well off the pace in Doha on Tuesday.
Neben was crowned world time trial champion in Varese back in 2008 and the American exceeded expectations by repeating that feat with a time of 36 minutes, 37.04 seconds over the 28.9 kilometre course on Pearl Island.
Veteran Kristin Armstrong won the Olympic time trial in Rio two months ago and 41-year-old compatriot Neben, the oldest rider in the field, also proved age is no barrier on day three of the event in Qatar after missing out on a place in the United States team for the Games in Brazil.
Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands was just under six seconds slower than Neben, so had to settle for silver after a crash in the Rio time trial cost her a medal.
Katrin Garfoot produced a late burst to take bronze for Australia, with Olympic silver medallist Olga Zabelinskaya missing out on a podium finish after the Russian was fourth-fastest.
Van der Breggen, the Olympic road race champion who also won bronze in the time trial in Brazil, was as much as two minutes and 11 seconds adrift of Neben on a flat course.
"I was so nervous, it was so hard to watch," said Neben. "I feel for Ellen, having been second, third, fourth places, but at the same time I'm so excited to be able to hold on.
"I think this one is more special because of everything that's happened between 2008 and now. There have been so many things I've had to persevere through. Just the struggle and being resilient and persevering, getting up and not giving up. I'm speechless."