Outgoing U23 world champion Niamh Fisher-Black just a day too old to defend world title

Outgoing U23 world champion Niamh Fisher-Black just a day too old to defend world title

"I got to put on the coveted rainbow jersey, nobody takes that away from me"


Last year's world championships in Wollongong were special in advance for New Zealand's Niamh Fisher-Black: riding the most important one-day race in the world so close to her home country. That she got to don the rainbow jersey afterwards as the first ever U23 world champion made it an unforgettable day. Although she cannot defend her title in Glasgow, as she turns 23 on 12 August, a day before the road race. "I'm not balking at it, I'm just with the elite race in my head. And I did get to put on that coveted jersey last year anyway. Nobody takes that away from me," said Niamh Fisher-Black.

"The world championships are special. There is a typical atmosphere that cannot be compared to any other competition. There is a lot of attention and pressure. You have to be able to deal with that as a top performer. Last year was a separate sensation for me. As a New Zealander, I am used to finishing my races without my family and friends, but in Wollongong I suddenly recognised voices and people along the road. That was super nice," Fisher-Black looks back on the 2022 World Cup. 

The elite and U23 ride their race together and at the end, the best-ranked U23 also wins a world title. "In the beginning you mainly focus on the elite race. You especially want to come out as strong as possible in that. The fact that I became world champion U23 proves that I was the strongest promise in Wollongong. For me, the day couldn't get any worse, but to put on the rainbow jersey in front of my family and friends... That was the icing on the cake."

She will not be able to defend her title in Glasgow. Fisher-Black turns 23 on 12 August, which is the day before the road race. "Fair is fair, I am simply not under 23 now, so this year only the elite race is on my mind. I hope my birthday goes better than last year, because then I dropped out in the Tour of Scandinavia with a collarbone fracture (laughs). With Lotte Kopecky and Anna Shackley, I was already talking about the course. It is tricky and hard. It will be a matter of trying to unload the sprinters. The men's race has made it clear to us that it will be gruelling. I'm going with not too high expectations. I don't have a strong team around me either. The difficult thing is that in this race I have to compete against my teammates from Team SD Worx. Above all, I want to enjoy the world championships in Glasgow and make the most of it. Whoever wants to win here will have to perform at the top of her game. I see Lotte Kopecky as the woman to beat. Together with Demi Vollering."

Read also

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now