This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step rode to victory in the men's team time trial at the road world championships in Valkenburg, the Netherlands, with a disciplined display over the 53.2km course. The Belgian team of Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Tony Martin, Peter Velits, Kristof Vandewalle, and Niki Terpstra, beat BMC into second place with Orica-GreenEdge finishing in third. There were no medals for the home nation's teams with Rabobank, Vacansoleil-DCM and Argos Shimano all finishing off the podium.
Quick Step was fastest at every time check, finishing with all six riders in a time of 1:03:17.17. BMC were the closest challengers but where QuickStep were fluid and organised on the final climb of the Cauberg, BMC fell away, splintering near the top of the climb. Despite a late dash for the line, the American outfit finished just three seconds down.
GreenEdge were consistent throughout, only dropping off the podium at the second intermediate check, and although they were down to four men at the finish, their riders had done enough to squeeze Liquigas-Cannondale off the podium with a time of 1:04:04.23, 47 seconds down on the winners.
Rabobank, arguably the strongest Dutch team on paper, had started out with clear intent, setting the joint fastest time at the first checkpoint. They lost Wilco Kelderman soon after and gradually lost time over the second half of the course. They were still in with an outside chance of a medal until the foot of the Cauberg however, but an acceleration from Stef Clement shattered their momentum with only one teammate able to hold the Dutchman's wheel. Rabobank reformed after cresting the top of the climb, but the damage had been done and the team eventually finished in fifth, 1:08.13 behind Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
After Specialized-lululemon had dominated the women's event in the morning, the men's peloton took centre stage, racing over a longer course of 53.2km. MTN Qhubeka, who had yesterday announced plans to move into the ProContinental peloton were the first squad to roll down the start ramp in Sittard.
The early slots saw teams from below the ProTour compete on the world stage and was Itera - Katusha and Team Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies that dominated the early stages, incflicting defeats on a number of WordlTour teams FDJ-Big Mat, and Lampre - ISD.
Liquigas-Cannondale were the first of the genuine contenders to set a marker, racing through the first of three intermediate checkpoints in 14:07.96 with Peter Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali working together in perhaps their last race together.
Behind them, Rabobank raced off the blocks, their six-man team setting a blistering pace from the start. Astana, Katusha, RadioShack and Sky all flattered to deceive and by the time Sky - the last team off - were on the road it looked as though the medals would eventually be split between Omega - tied with Rabobank at the first checkpoint - BMC, Orica and Liquigas.
At the top of the Lange Raarberg, the second check at 21km, Omega's class was starting to tell, with BMC and a faltering Rabobank both at eight seconds. Liquigas had slipped to ninth, while Orica had held their pace to sit 12 seconds down.
By the point of the Bergsweg - the second check at 38km, Omega still led with an equally intact BMC still at eight seconds. Orica had moved into third, but dropped a man, while Rabobank were down to four riders and off the podium for the first time.
The race was won and lost on the Caugberg. At the foot of the climb, BMC had narrowed the gap to Omega and as Phinney swung over and allowed van Garderen to the front, the Belgian team were just two seconds ahead.
Boonen's team had already finished at this point, having moved into the hot seat vacated by Liquigas but whereas Omega kept the rhythm steady, BMC kicked for home. At one point, van Garderen was alone, ahead of his teammates. An inevitable pause ensued as Phinney, Pinotti and Gilbert clawed their way back to the American's rear wheel, but despite a late rally Omega held on.
Orica were still on the road but they had done enough to slip into third and relegate Liquigas to fourth, while Rabobank had to settle for fifth.