Tony Martin (Germany) dominated the elite men's time trial world championship, setting the fastest time at each split, as he powered to his first world title on the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark.
The 26-year-old German recorded a scintillating time of 53:43.85 for the 46.4km parcours to beat silver medalist Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) by 1:15.83. Defending and four-time world champion Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), consistently setting the second-fastest splits throughout the day, overshot a corner late in the race, nearly crashing into the course barriers, and had to settle for the bronze medal 4.76 seconds down on Wiggins.
The world championship has capped off a stellar season for Martin as he claimed overall wins at the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice plus second overall at the Tour de Romandie. His performances against the clock have been superb season-long as he won time trial stages at the Tour de France, Vuelta a España, Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice, Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Critérium du Dauphiné, now punctuated by his first-ever world championship.
Martin's ride also delivered Germany its second elite world championship in as many days as compatriot and HTC-Highroad teammate Judith Arndt won her first world title, too, in the elite women's time trial on Tuesday.
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While the sky was overcast throughout the day, the rain held off for the elite men's time trial as 65 riders, competing in four waves for two laps of the 23.3km circuit, vied for the rainbow stripes in Copenhagen.
Alexandr Dyachenko (Kazakhstan), the 20th rider to start, held the hot seat for much of the day until the cream of the time trial stalwarts got on the course in the last of four waves. The first to break Dyachenko's time of 57:03.61 for the 46.4km parcours was Australia's Jack Bobridge, who stopped the clock in 55:57.71, only to have the next rider across the line, former time trial world champion Bert Grabsch (Germany), top that with 55:15.61.
British road champion Bradley Wiggins, fresh off a podium finish at the Vuelta a Espana, picked up his pace throughout the day and became the first rider to crack the 55-minute barrier as he assumed the hot seat with a time of 54:59.68.
Brad Wiggins gets going
Cancellara struggled today to finish third
But Martin, the second-to-last rider to start, was simply on another level as he re-set the best times at each split. The German caught the two riders who started in front of him, David Millar (Great Britain) and Mikhail Ignatyev (Russian Federation), and came close to reeling in a third rider, Taylor Phinney (United States of American), who started 4:30 ahead of the German.
Martin's time of 53:43.85 demolished the effort made by Wiggins, and the only question yet to be decided would be what medal Fabian Cancellara, the final rider off, would claim. The Swiss powerhouse had been consistently in second place at each split, but he started faster than Wiggins and his advantage over the Briton had been decreasing throughout his effort.
Nonetheless, Cancellara looked to have the silver medal sewn up, but an uncharacteristic mistake at a right-hand turn late in the race likely cost him a second place finish. The Swiss rider overshot a turn and came to a complete stop to avoid crashing into the course barrier. He strained to get his big gear rolling again and returned to top speed, but as he made his way down the finishing straight his time of 55:04.44 would result in a bronze medal, 1:20.59 down on Martin and a slender 4.76 seconds behind Wiggins.
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.