Tony Martin of Germany won his third straight title in the individual time trial at the road cycling world championships with a dominating performance on Wednesday, while Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins finished a distant second.
Martin completed the nearly entirely flat 57.2-kilometer (35.5-mile) route from Montecatini Terme to Florence in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 36.65 seconds.
Wiggins, of Britain, finished second, 46.09 seconds behind, and Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland was third, 48.34 behind.
Cancellara won the event a record four times, in 2006, '07, '09 and '10, and Martin is the second rider to win three straight after Michael Rogers of Australia did it from 2003-05.
The only uphill section of the course was a mild two-kilometer (1.24 mile) stretch shortly after the start. That made it ideal for TT specialists capable of maintaining their aerodynamic position crouched over their handlebars for more than an hour at full speed.
Conditions were perfect, with the course bathed in Tuscan sunshine, and fans came out in large numbers as the route took riders past Florence's historic monuments like the Duomo cathedral.
The most technical section came just before the finish, with a series of sharp turns along Florence's medieval streets.
Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus finished fourth and Taylor Phinney, the American who finished second last year, was fifth.
After crossing the finish and hugging his team supporters, a joyful Martin dropped to the road on his back and gave a wide smile.
Martin has now won nine of 12 individual time trials this year, including one at the Tour de France. He also powered Omega Pharma-Quick Step to victory on Sunday in the team time trial at worlds - in another title defense.
For Wiggins, the silver medal capped a somewhat disappointing year.
In 2012, Wiggins became the first British rider to win the Tour de France but he missed this year's race due to injury and illness after also withdrawing from the Giro d'Italia midway through.
Wiggins won the Tour of Britain earlier this week in a sign of improved form but Chris Froome, this year's Tour de France winner, will lead Britain's team in Sunday's road race.
Cancellara entered the worlds with the aim of challenging for gold in three events, but his RadioShack team finished only fifth in the TTT. Still, Cancellara will be among the favorites for the road race, an event he has never won at the worlds.
With no races on Thursday, the next events are the junior women and under-23 men's road races on Friday.
Also on Friday is the UCI presidential election, with British Cycling president Brian Cookson running against incumbent Pat McQuaid.
The worlds conclude on Sunday with the featured road race over a 272-kilometer (169-mile) route that starts in Lucca near the coast and ends with 10 laps of a hilly circuit in and around Florence.