Emma Johansson won her fifth Swedish National Time Trial Championships in Åstorp. The defending champion bested Lisa Nordén and Malin Rydlund on the 27.9 kilometre course.
“It doesn’t matter if the whole world is here or just the Swedish world,” said Johansson. “Every race is important to me, and wearing the champion’s jersey is a big thing. I had to dig deep to pull off the win. I couldn’t show up and be totally relaxed about it.”
The last to start, Johansson posted the fastest time at the intermediate split. Although she slowed slightly in the second half of the race, she still managed to cover the technical course in 37’59, 1’13 quicker than Norden in second place.
“A typical Swedish time trial course is a flat, fast out and back,” said Johansson. “Honestly, that’s a little bit boring to me. This course was different. It was technical going out of town over rolling roads before we went around a forest on a big chainring hill. There was a fast descent after the hill before another technical section back into town.”
“The first half went really well for me, and I took a lot of time on that part,” she continued. “I started to feel a bit stiff in the second half, and that’s when the rain started to come. The wind came with the rain, so I was riding in wet, windy conditions in the last four kilometres. That gave me another challenge.”
One kilometre from the finish, Johansson knew she had defended her title barring any late race disaster. From the car behind, her husband, who doubles as her coach, congratulated her over the radio with the finish line in sight.
“There’s always a bit of pressure,” admitted Johansson. “I wasn’t stressed. I know I’ve been really good these last few weeks, but I’ve also started to feel the racing in my legs. I had to focus on recovering well these last few days so that I could go hard today.”
“I have one race in the box,” she added. “I’m definitely happy for that. I’m looking forward to two days of very necessary recovery before defending my road title on Saturday.”
Note: Also racing today were Jens Mouris and Loes Gunnewijk. Mouris managed tenth place in the Dutch Time Trial Championships won by Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM). Gunnewijk earned the silver medal behind Ellen van Dijk (Specialized lululemon)
“I did everything in preparation well, and I did everything I could today. I took the corners well. I went as fast as I possibly could. Ellen has been strong the whole year. I think she was the girl that could only lose today. She was the big favourite. I’m happy. It’s always good to stand on the podium at the nationals – well, not always, but today I was more happy with second place than I’ve been in the past.” – Loes Gunnewijk