Over a tough and varying time trial route Sir Bradley Wiggins defeated three-time world champion Tony Martin to take gold and the coveted rainbow stripes in Ponferrada.
- The competitors faced a 47.1km parcours that featured flat stretches at the start, two tough climbs towards the end and some technical descents.
- The Confederacion climb was a long 5.2km ascent followed by a tricky little descent which took the riders straight to the base of the much shorter 1.14km Mirador ascent. Both climbs were steeper at the base with maximum gradients approaching 10% in places.
- The summit of the final climb was reached with 5km to go.
- Time checks came at 12.2km, 23.2km and 35.2km.
- The varying parcours set up a fascinating contest between the pure specialists cranking out top power along the flat, and those more capable of enduring on the climbs.
- Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) won his first ever men’s individual time trial to add to his Olympic and national titles with a time of 56:25.52, 26 seconds ahead of Tony Martin (Germany), and 40 ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands).
- Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka finished in fourth place for the second year running, an agonising seven seconds from the bronze medal position.
- Of the early starters Tanel Kangert (Estonia) and Artem Ovechkin (Russia) ran beautifully-paced, fast-finishing trials that saw them both place in the top 20.
- Perhaps the biggest surprise was provided by the Portuguese rider Nelson Oliveira who put in the ride of his life to finish in seventh place.
- Sylvain Chavanel gave a flare of hope to French hearts when he scorched through the first time check with 13 seconds in hand on his nearest rival. But it wasn’t to be for the French national champion. He faded on the hilly finish to finish in 17th place.
With Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Taylor Phinney (USA) missing through choice and injury respectively, the fight for the rainbow stripes was always going to be a shoot-out between Martin and Wiggins.
As defending champion, the German was last to roll away from the start ramp and looked impressive over the opening kilometres, building a four-second advantage at the first checkpoint. However, by the time both had been through the second time split, Wiggins had turned that time loss around. Despite pushing a huge gear, Martin was 9.64 seconds behind at the third split, and lost further time on the climbs to finish 26 seconds adrift.
The battle for the final podium spot was more open and fiercely contested by up-and-coming young guns Rohan Dennis (Australia), Adriano Malori (Italy) and Dumoulin. To make matters more exciting they started right after each as fifth, fourth and third riders to go. The 24-year-old Dennis rode a brilliant early part of the course and at the second time check was third-fastest. But as he faded slightly over the latter part of the course both Malori and Dumoulin started to pull back their losses. In the end it was the young Dutchman who was strongest over the climbs and claimed a fantastic bronze medal to round off a superb season.
OK, I will admit it: I love to watch a time trial There is just something about that exquisitely painful effort that is beautiful to watch. So it should come as no surprise to you that I enjoyed this blue riband event.
Yes, I know the rainbow stripes were only ever likely to be won by either Sir Bradley or the Panzerwagen, but that fact did not ruin it for me at all. It was a classic battle of two superb time trial specialists, with all the difference being made by the hilly finish.
Whatever you think of Sir Bradley Wiggins you have to admit he has a pretty impressive palmares. Tour de France winner, Olympic Gold medallist on track and road, world champion on the track, and now this – his first ever World Championship gold for a road event. Will we ever see his TT rainbow stripes worn in anger next year? Well, he says not, that this is his last ever World Championships and that he will only ride the spring classics next year before concentrating on the hour record. But this is mercurial Sir Bradley we are talking about, so never say never, eh?
Tony Martin was clearly disappointed with his silver at the post race press conference. He refused to say that the shorter distance and the more hilly parcours were valid reasons for missing out on a record-breaking fourth consecutive title. Instead he quietly maintained:
I already felt a little bit tired in the team time trial, for sure that’s not the best motivation and for today I was a little tired too. I didn’t have the best condition and that’s the biggest point, I couldn’t battle against Bradley in the finale of this race.
I have no doubt he will be back and dominating this discipline in the way that only he can. Of course this does mean that a certain Mr Cancellara with four wins to his name still holds the record for most TT world championship wins
The emergence of a new raft of talented time trial riders such as Dennis, Malori and Dumoulin, alongside others such as Rasmus Quaade (Denmark) and Jesse Sergent (New Zealand) was heartening to see. I look forward to watching them all improve over the coming year, hopefully to be joined by That Boy Phinney. Yes indeed, the time trial future looks in good hands.
Men’s individual time trial result
1. Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) 56:25.52
2. Tony Martin (Germany) +26.23
3. Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) +40.64
4. Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) +47.92
5. Rohan Dennis (Australia) +57.75
6. Adriano Malori (Italy) +1:11.62
7. Nelson Oliveira (Portugal) +1:21.63
8. Anton Vorobyev (Russia) +1:29.66
9. Jan Barta (Czech Republic) +1:43.41
10. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain) +1:44.20
Link: Official website
Header image: Javier Lizón/EFE