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The World Championships in Wollongong are over but the memories are forever with the bronze medals for Nienke Vinke and Febe Jooris of our AG Insurance-NXTG U19 team as highlights.

Almost all of the AG Insurance-NXTG juniors were selected to represent their countries in Australia: Febe Jooris and Jade Linthoudt for Belgium, Mirre Knaven and Nienke Vinke for the Netherlands, Noëlle Rüetschi for Switzerland and Julia Kopecky for the Czech Republic.

Febe Jooris was the first to shine. After a bronze medal at the European Championships, the Belgian time trial champion repeated that performance at the highest podium. Halfway into the race that didn’t look likely with a tenth place at the intermediate time check.

“It was my strategy to have a negative split because the climb came in the second half. On the descent I could ride my high cadence and increase my speed. That final stretch to the finish line was crucial. It was hard but I gave it my all. The fact I am the first Belgian girl to take a medal in the time trial is hopefully an inspiration to other girls,” Jooris said.

Nienke Vinke also won a bronze medal but she did that in the junior women’s road race. The double Dutch champion fought hard for the second spot but had to settle for third behind an unbeatable Zoë Backstedt. Julia was 7th, Noëlle 11th, Febe 18th, Jade 20th and sadly Mirre crashed out.

“It was really special to travel all the way to Australia to ride the world championships. You don’t get a chance like that every day. My time trial felt okay but the time was not great. I maybe was too cautious in the corner,” Nienke said about her seventh place.

“The road race really made up for that disappointing feeling. On the climbs I just missed out on staying with the best riders and I knew I didn’t have a chance in the sprint. On the flat I felt really strong so that is where I attacked. This resulted in a third place.”

Julia Borgström was the only representative of the AG Insurance-NXTG U23 team to ride in Australia. The Swedish rider was eligible for the first U23 title. She was part of the first group well into the 164-kilometre-long race but eventually finished in 16th place. Julia looks back upon the experience in Australia.

“It’s been a really great time. We stayed here for a week and everything ran very smoothly. The jetlag and the travel went well and we had great weather to prepare. The race itself was brutal and honest. I got everything out of what I had in store that day. It was also great to see how the team’s juniors did so well!”

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