Fabian Cancellara takes men's world's time trial

Swiss unstoppable against the clock in 2009

Swiss ace Fabian Cancellara claimed his third career gold in the men's time trial after crushing his rivals at the world road race championships on Thursday.

Gustav Larsson of Sweden finished a distant second to take the silver medal while Germany's Tony Martin finished third for the bronze.

Cancellara, who won the world title in both 2006 and 2007, averaged a speed of just over 51km/h for the 49.8km course which he completed in 57min 55sec. Larsson was at 1:27 with Martin stopping the clock 2:30 behind the Swiss.

Cancellara's third career gold in the race against the clock means he equals the record set by Australia's Michael Rogers, who won the world title three years in a row from 2003 to 2005.

"It's a great result for me, I'm in great form and racing at home in front of all these Swiss flags and supporters was a huge motivation for me," said Cancellara, who is aiming for an audacious double by winning the men's road race on Sunday.

"I will see how I feel tomorrow once I've had a rest and a good massage. But thanks to the racing I did in Spain and the training I've had, I feel confident that I can win on Sunday."

Fabian Cancellara flies towards victory

The 28-year-old Swiss started second last of the 66-strong field and one minute ahead of Germany's reigning champion Bert Grabsch. However Grabsch never got the chance to see Cancellara's back wheel as the Swiss flew off the ramp and disappeared over the horizon at break neck speed.

Crowned Olympic champion in Beijing but deciding not to compete last year in Varese, Italy due to fatigue, Cancellara had by the first time check at 9.16km stamped his authority on the race.

He dropped Martin from provisional top spot by 18secs, and went on to humiliate a bunch of challengers who had started minutes before him. At the second time check at 16.6 km Cancellara held a lead of 38sec on Martin and 46 on Larsson.

Britain's Bradley Wiggins had been confident of a medal, but he had dropped to over a minute behind Cancellara.

The Swiss showed no signs of tiring on the 16.6km circuit, raced three times, and after overtaking Larsson the Swede attempted in vain to keep pace.

But Larsson, who said he expected Cancellara to catch him on the course, conceded: "That was actually not too bad a thing for me having him as a pacesetter."

Cancellara added: "It's a big psychological advantage to catch the guy who goes before you."

Gustav Larsson (2nd), Fabian Cancellara (1st) and Tony Martin (3rd) on the podium

At 25.7km Cancellara was 1:17 faster than Martin, and shortly afterwards he humiliated Wiggins and Sébastien Rosseler, who had started two and four minutes ahead of him respectively, by overtaking the pair.

Wiggins then suffered disaster as he neared the end of the climb on the circuit, trying to fix an apparent problem with his front derailleur before getting off his bike and chucking it to the ground in disgust.

Brad Wiggins on his spare bike after he lost his chain on the last climb

Cancellara celebrates

After Cancellara rode over the line in triumph savouring his first world title on home soil, Wiggins crossed over to finish way down in 21st place, 4:50 in arrears.

Larsson races with Cancellara at the Saxo Bank team so he was barely surprised at the Swiss's power.

"I am and always have been impressed with the kind of power that Fabian gets when he's really on form," he added.

"Me and Fabian have different kinds of muscles, different styles of riding so it's hard to compare us. I did what I could and really tried my best, so I'm happy with my performance today."

Martin appeared simply happy to have upstaged compatriot Grabsch.

"Grabsch in the past has been faster than me but today I was faster than him," said the German. "I wanted to get on the podium today so I'm happy I've achieved that objective."

© AFP 2009

For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.

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