Demonstrating that age is just a number, Amber Neben won the women’s time trial Tuesday at the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
The oldest racer in the field at the age of 41, Neben won her second world title eight years after her first, posting a time of 36:37.04 for a 5.99-second victory margin over Ellen van Dijk of the Netherlands. Australia’s Katrin Garfoot won the bronze medal, 8.32 seconds off Neben’s pace.
Neben becomes the second-oldest world champion in the event. France’s Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli won at age 42 in 2001.
A two-time Olympian (2008, 2012), Neben has scored top-10 finishes in each of the eight times she has raced a time trial at the world championships. Her victory gives the United States a sweep of this year’s global women’s time trials titles after then-42-year-old Kristin Armstrong claimed gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Neben demonstrated her ability to overcome long odds at an early age. She battled spinal meningitis at the age of 4, a fight that left her in a coma for three days. Doctors warned her parents that the disease probably would claim her life, and if she did survive she would suffer deafness and brain damage. She also is a cancer survivor, having overcome melanoma nine years ago.
Carmen Small finished 12th for the U.S., 2:02.15 behind Neben.
Adding to the medal haul in Doha, the U.S. junior men earned gold and bronze in the time trial. Brandon McNulty, a bronze medalist last year on home soil in Richmond, Virginia, was 35 seconds faster that the rest of the field over the 28.9-kilometer course. Denmark’s Mikkel Bjerg earned silver, while American Ian Garrison won bronze, 53 seconds behind his teammate. McNulty becomes the third American to take a junior world title in the event, putting his name alongside those of Greg LeMond (1979) and Taylor Phinney (2007).