Tony Martin successfully defended his time trial world title on Wednesday at the Road Cycling World Championships, narrowly edging American rider Taylor Phinney into second place.
Martin became the second German in two days to defend a world title after Judith Arndt achieved the same feat on Tuesday in the women’s time trial.
Olympic silver medalist Martin completed the winding, hilly 45.7-kilometer (28.4-mile) course in 58 minutes, 38.76 seconds at an average speed of just under 47 kph (30 mph).
“After all the ups and downs this season, it’s a super-nice finish now,” Martin said.
The German fell and broke his wrist on the first stage of the Tour de France, forcing him out of cycling’s showcase event.
Phinney was agonisingly close to a medal at the London Olympics, but came away empty handed after finishing fourth in both the time trial and road race.
“Taylor was more amazing because everyone knew that I am strong but not so many people knew about Taylor”
American rider Taylor Phinney
Bradley Wiggins, the Tour de France champion who also gold in the London Olympic time trial, did not compete in Wednesday’s race.
Phinney finished just 5.37 seconds behind Martin. Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus was third, 1 minute, 44.99 seconds back.
“Taylor was more amazing because everyone knew that I am strong but not so many people knew about Taylor,” Martin said.
Phinney looked like he might snatch victory on the brutal closing climb up the Cauberg, but Martin had just enough energy left to hold on for his second straight world champion’s rainbow jersey.
“Even the last 200 meters were so long because we had a full headwind in top of the Cauberg,” Martin said.
“It was really, really hard.”
Alberto Contador of Spain, fresh from winning the Vuelta after completing a doping suspension, was considered a contender but never looked like a threat, riding cautiously on a course slicked by rain in places. The Spaniard started two minutes before Martin, but the German powered past him at around the 30-kilometer mark.
“I was really surprised because I really thought that he would be one of the strongest contenders today for the title,” Martin said.
It was the second gold medal of the World Championships for Martin who won the team time trial Sunday with the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team.
Phinney was second in Sunday’s team event with the BMC Racing formation.
Marco Pinotti of Italy looked like he might challenge for the third spot until falling heavily on a sharp left turn and dropping out of the race.