The World Time Trial championship in Florence, Italy was billed as a three-man battle. Turns out it was really a two man contest … for second place.
Tony Martin dominated his rivals Bradley Wiggins and Fabian Cancellara, riding the 56.8 kilometer course in 1:05:36, a full 46 seconds faster than Wiggo. Swiss champion Cancellara was ahead of Wiggins at the intermediate checks but faded as a smooth pedaling Wiggo erased his deficit, eventually taking second on the podium by 2 seconds.
Martin had openly wondered if Wiggins would be too fatigued from the recent Tour of Britain and questioned whether his rival had done enough recon of the Florence course. Having ridden his Omega-Pharma Quickstep team to victory in the team time trial over the exact same course, Martin said he knew all the critical spots where he could gain seconds.
“I knew the road perfectly. When I got an advantage of 40 seconds, the last five kilometres were pretty nice, just like Copenhagen when I knew I was going to be the World Champion,” said Martin.
Martin has a champion’s talent for converting stress into higher wattage. “There was a lot of pressure, but to be honest I need that pressure to do well. I work better with it,” he said. “I think first time already the nicest, but for sure this win comes really close, I think silver would have been really disappointing for me.”
Martin doesn’t have to be disappointed and in settling for second, Wiggins wasn’t disappointed either. “I wanted to win the race, but … 46 seconds, there’s not much you can do – even two seconds. To be honest I did a great performance. I wasn’t aware of the splits at all, but there’s not a lot more I could have done. Tony was just on another level today,” said Wiggins.
With Martin taking his third rainbow jersey by a wide margin, it was Wiggins and Cancellara who provided most of the drama. Cancellara went out hard and at the first time check was 0.36 of a second ahead of Martin and 15 ahead of Wiggins. He paid for those efforts and as the course flattened out, Wiggins slowly cut the time gap to take silver by a mere two seconds.
In the lead-up to the Worlds, it was clear from Cancellara’s statements that he preferred his chances in the road race to the battle with Martin against the clock. After four World Time Trial jerseys, he could be forgiven for switching objectives.
Cancellara chalked up his third place finish in the time trial as simply more reason to win the road race. “I knew it would be an hour of pain and an hour of pleasure, but either way it was less pressure. This result will help motivate me towards Sunday’s road-race now.”
If there was a surprise, it was young American Taylor Phinney’s fifth place. One of the strong pre-race favorites, he seemed to have an off day in Italy. Turns out he didn’t quite have the legs or the water. According to his coach Bobby Julich, a dropped water bottle 32k into the race meant that Phinney never took one sip and suffered from dehydration.
That’s an hour full gas in 80 degree temperatures and Julich estimated a 7-10% power loss. That might have been the difference between fifth and fourth or even third place. Phinney summed up his ride as “not overjoyed, but not overly disappointed.”
It was simply a time trial too far and “15 minutes too long” for the American. “For the length and competition of guys who were here, I think it was decent. It wasn’t anything special, but I’m really happy with how I prepared for it,” he said. Instead it was Vasil Kiryienka who earned the distinction of the guy who almost made the podium. And maybe in the final analysis that’s a worse feeling than fifth.
|1||Tony Martin (Germany)||1:05:36.65|
|2||Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain)||0:00:46.09|
|3||Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)||0:00:48.34|
|4||Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus)||0:01:26.01|
|5||Taylor Phinney (United States of America)||0:02:08.00|
|6||Rasmus Christian Quaade (Denmark)||0:02:36.33|
|7||Marco Pinotti (Italy)||0:02:41.92|
|8||Adriano Malori (Italy)||0:02:51.07|
|9||Gustav Larsson (Sweden)||0:02:58.47|
|10||Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)||0:02:59.54|
|11||Jan Barta (Czech Republic)||0:03:07.00|
|12||Rohan Dennis (Australia)||0:03:09.33|
|13||Nicolas Roche (Ireland)||0:03:13.35|
|14||Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain)||0:03:13.78|
|15||Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Portugal)||0:03:14.43|
|16||Kristof Vandewalle (Belgium)||0:03:17.15|
|17||Richie Porte (Australia)||0:03:22.82|
|18||Vladimir Gusev (Russian Federation)||0:03:28.46|
|19||Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan)||0:03:35.95|
|20||Bert Grabsch (Germany)||0:03:41.01|