WOLLONGONG: Norway’s Tobias Foss pulled off a huge upset to dethrone two-time defending champion Filippo Ganna and claim a maiden time-trial title at cycling’s road world championships in Australia on Sunday. The 25-year-old conquered the 34.2 kilometres (21.2 miles) circuit in 40min 02.78sec to edge Swiss powerhouse Stefan Kung by 2.95sec. Belgium’s Remco Evenepoel, fresh from winning the Vuelta a Espana Grand Tour this month, was 9.16sec adrift in third on the opening day of the championships at Wollongong, 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Sydney. Italy’s Ganna, the current standard bearer in time-trial racing, could only finish seventh, 56sec off the pace. Slovenia’s two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar, who is not a pure time trial specialist, came sixth. Foss won the Tour de l’Avenir in 2020, but was not among the favourites and he was stunned by the win. “This is some kind of dream, I don’t believe it, it’s so unreal,” he said. “My legs were really good. I was confident I was in good shape, but this is more than I can dream for.” Dutch ace strikes: Meanwhile, Dutch ace Ellen van Dijk successfully defended her time-trial crown at cycling’s road world championships for her third career title, outpacing Australia’s Grace Brown and European champion Marlen Reusser. The 35-year-old was the final rider down the ramp and chased down Brown’s blistering early pace to win by 12.73 seconds in 44min 28.60sec and clinch another title, having also won in 2013. Switzerland’s Reusser was third, 41.68 sec adrift at the opening event of the eight-day road world championships at Wollongong, a coastal city 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Sydney. In a major upset, two-time title holder and Olympic champion Annemiek van Vleuten failed to make the podium, with the Dutchwoman managing only seventh, a huge 1min 43.02sec behind Van Dijk. “I never expected to win. I didn’t think it was a perfect course for me but I had a good mental and physical approach with my coach,” said Van Dijk. “I just thought I would give it my all today, a podium spot would be nice, but if it’s not, it’s not, I still had a great year. I never thought I would win today.” She made a point of not looking at the times set by the other cyclists, instead concentrating on her own riding. “I wanted to focus completely on myself, but I was so surprised to cross the finish line first,” she said. For the first time at the worlds, women covered the same distance as the men, sharing a 34.2 kilometre (21.2 miles) route running along two laps of a technical and twisting circuit with a small climb.