RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Linda Villumsen of New Zealand captured her first time trial world championship after years of close calls, besting Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands on Tuesday by just 2.54 seconds in a race that came down to the final rider.
It wasn't until reigning world champion Lisa Brennauer of Germany, last to roll off from the start line, crossed the finish line 5 seconds adrift that Villumsen threw her arms up in victory.
Brennauer wound up with the bronze medal. Katrin Garfoot of Australia was fourth and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong of the U.S. finished in fifth.
Earlier in the day, Leo Appelt of Germany won the junior men's time trial, with Adrien Costa and Brandon McNulty giving the American team two more medals. Costa won his second straight silver and McNulty took bronze in his first championships.
The competition continues Wednesday with the elite men's time trial.
Armstrong, in the midst of her second comeback from retirement, was the second rider onto the course and posted a time of 40 minutes, 50.45 seconds. But without the benefit of time splits from other top contenders, she had to rely only on her own benchmarks to determine her position.
She later conceded those going out later in the day had an advantage.
Still, her time left her on the hot seat for nearly 2 hours as other riders took their shot at the 30-kilometer course beginning and ending in downtown Richmond. Among those who came up short were German star Trixi Worrack and Armstrong's own teammate, Carmen Small.
It wasn't until Villumsen hit the course that Armstrong's time was put in jeopardy.
The two-time silver medalist and three-time bronze medalist, Villumsen was fastest through the second and third time splits, finishing in 40:29.87 to take over the lead. But with van der Breggen and Brennauer still on the course, she had to weather a few tense minutes in the hot seat.
When they both crossed the finish line, Villumsen was nearly overcome by emotion, holding her head in her hands for a brief moment before throwing her arms up to celebrate.
Evelyn Stevens was sixth in another strong showing by the U.S. team, though like Armstrong, she could not hide her disappointment at missing out on the podium. Stevens won silver three years ago and was the bronze medalist last year.