Sir Bradley Wiggins has lost out in his bid to add the world time trial championship to the Olympic title he won last year.
Wiggins, riding in the colours of Great Britain, collected the silver medal after being comfortably beaten by defending champion, Tony Martin (Germany), who collected his third world title.
The Londoner produced a committed performance to edge out four-time world time trial champion, Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland), but Martin would not be denied.
The Panzerwagen, who had been the driving force in Omega Pharma-QuickStep’s victory in the world team time trial championship just two days earlier, produced an imperious performance to collect a third consecutive title.
An almost pan flat 57.9km course from Montecatini Terme to Firenze, conducted on an almost entirely straight route, played entirely to Martin’s strengths.
The German, who had won almost every time trial he contested this year, simply turned on the power to beat Wiggins by more than three-quarters of a minute.
Wiggins’ margin over Cancellara was far less, however. ‘Wiggo’ fought off ‘Spartacus’ by little more than two seconds.
The Londoner’s professional colleague, Vasil Kiryienka, riding in Belarussian kit emblazoned with Sky logos, finished fourth, some 1.26 down on Martin.
Taylor Phinney (USA), who finished fourth in 2012, could only manage fifth this year, some 2.08 down on the winner.
British champion, Alex Dowsett, winner of the stage nine time trial at the Giro d’Italia, could only manage forty-first, but at 24, and riding in only his second senior world time trial championship, remains an exciting prospect.
Other national champions fared better. Italy’s Marco Pinotti, finished eighth, while Sylvain Chavanel, racing in the red, white, and blue tricolour of France, was twenty-second.
The three pre-race favourites were the men who shared the medals, however. Wiggins had said before the race that any of the trio could win, and few will begrudge Martin a popular champion famed for turning a 58-11 gear in last year’s Criterium du Dauphine, a third year in the rainbow stripes.
UCI elite men’s world time trial championship
1) Tony Martin (GER) – 1.05.36.65
2) Bradley Wiggins (GBR) +00.46.09
3) Fabian Cancellara (SUI) +00.48.34
4) Vasil Kiriyenka (BLR) +0.01.26.01
5) Taylor Phinney (USA) +0.02.08.00
6) Rasmus Quaade (DEN) +0.02.36.33
7) Marco Pinotti (ITA) +0.02.51.07
8) Adriano Malori (ITA) +0.02.51.07
9) Gustav Larson (SWE) +0.02.59.54
10) Kanstantsin Siutsou (BLR) +0.03.07.00