In hot and windy conditions, Dutch cyclist Ellen Van Dijk won gold in the women's individual time trial at Bilgah Beach on Thursday, finishing first in a time of 32:26.87 ahead of Ukraine's Ganna Solovei and fellow Dutchwoman Annemiek Van Vleuten.
"It was very tough today, especially with the wind," said the freshly crowned European Games champion, "but then again it's the same circumstances for everyone. I was able to get into a rhythm quickly and I could keep up the pace."
"This is what I can do, but it didn't feel particularly great on this course. It's hard to concentrate when it's only one straight road ahead. There's not much to do while riding. You just have to push and push."
Solovei was left unenthused by her silver, however. "This is course is flat like a table and that doesn't suit me very well," said the Ukrainian. "It suits Van Dijk much better. She's bigger and stronger. She's a great star."
Solovei was in gold medal position with her time of 33:03.37, until the flying Dutchwoman went 36 seconds under it.
Belgium's pre-race medal hope Ann-sophie Duyck was 42 seconds off the pace at the halfway turn and eventually clocked 34:05.21 - over 90 seconds behind the winner. The Belgian national time trial champion was visibly upset after crossing the line and will be hoping for a stronger showing in the women's road race on Saturday.
The sole Azerbaijani entrant Olena Pavlukhina produced a determined ride to finish seven seconds ahead of Duyck in sixth.
– but the sailors praise the new boats