The 35-year-old clocked 44 minutes 28.60 seconds over the 34.2-kilometre course through the suburban streets of the coastal city south of Sydney to claim her third world title.
The gold medal made Van Dijk the second most successful rider in the history of the women’s world championships behind France’s Jeannie Longo, who won four titles between 1995 and 2001.
“It was a really difficult course and I really didn’t expect to win it, I didn’t think it was the perfect course for me,” said van Dyke, who claimed her first title in 2013.
“But I just thought I’ve had a great year in the rainbow jersey and I’ll just give it all today. I had no idea how I was riding. Honestly, I was so surprised when I crossed the finish line.”
🗣 “I never expected to win”@ellenvdijk didn’t think the course suited her but she definitely proved herself wrong… https://t.co/owztMK2VzP
— UCI (@UCI_cycling) 1663472077000
Brown finished second 12.73 seconds behind van Dijk in 44:41.33 to claim her first world championship medal, while Swiss Marlen Reusser won bronze to add to her silvers from the last two editions in 45:10.28.
It was the first time that the women and men had competed on the same world championship time trial course over the same distance on the same day.
Brown, the 10th rider out, set off at a rapid pace on a sunny but blustery day and crossed the line more than two minutes faster than the next best of the early starters.
The 30-year-old looked good for a stunning home triumph until the last two of the 43 riders — van Dijk and Reusser — set off at the city’s beach.
2013 🥇2021 🥇2022 🥇@ellenvdijk 👏#Wollongong2022 https://t.co/QXgf1Ars37
— UCI (@UCI_cycling) 1663470233000
Both bettered Brown’s time at the first intermediate timing point and van Dijk kept up her pace on the one climb and swept through the 24 corners on each of the two laps of the twisty course.
Van Dyk’s compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten, the twice world champion and reigning Olympic time trial gold medallist had a disappointing day, finishing seventh more than a minute and a half off the pace.
Italy’s Vittoria Guazzini finished fourth in 45:20.71 to take the inaugural women’s under-23 title. The men’s elite time trial takes place later on Sunday, the opening day of the championships.