Tony Martin defends World time trial title by extremely tight margin
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tony Martin defends World time trial title by extremely tight margin

by Ben Atkins at 10:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, World Championships
German beats Taylor Phinney by just five seconds to emulate compatriot Judith Arndt

Tony MartinTony Martin of Germany emulated his compatriot Judith Arndt from the previous day in retaining his World time trial title in Limburg, Netherlands, but did so by the tightest margin ever. Starting last, as reigning champion, Martin completed the hilly 46.2km course in a time of 58 minutes, 38 seconds, to beat the United States’ Taylor Phinney by just over five seconds. Seeing the time of his rival on the finishing gantry above him, Martin held up two fingers for victory as he crossed the line, which also stood for his second rainbow jersey.

Phinney himself had only been at the top of the leader board for under four minutes, as his time of 58’44” had been enough to blow away that set by Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka almost an hour before. The American had been fastest at the first checkpoint, before falling behind Martin at the second, and had been steadily pulling back time since. Despite looking a little laboured on the final climb of the Cauberg - the top of which came with just 1.7km to go - Martin conceded just three seconds of his eight second lead, and held on to take the victory.

Both Martin and Phinney finished in less than 59 minutes but, with Kiryienka’s time a minute and 44 seconds slower, they were also the only two to go under an hour for the course.

“There was a lot of pressure on me to win again,” Martin said. “I said I just have to ride, but it was not so easy to win. Sometimes you have the power in your legs and sometimes you do not for a race like the World Championship that is just one day. I happened to have good legs. This course was harder than I expected, but I did my best to win for the team despite such a hard final. I had nothing left at the end. I also have to give credit to Taylor, who rode the perfect race today. I am so happy for my victory and to be World Champion again."

Phinney’s compatriot and teammate Tejay van Garderen pushed Kiryienka close all the way around the course but, despite climbing the Cauberg more quickly than the Belarusian, finished five seconds behind him for what would eventually be fourth place.

The race took place under mixed weather conditions, with many of the earlier and mid field riders hit by heavy rain showers. This made the conditions wet for everybody however, and put paid to the likely medal chances of Italian hope Marco Pinotti who, after posting times on a level with Kiryienka at halfway, came off on a wet white line as he negotiated a bend. Despite remounting the Italian soon pulled out with an apparent shoulder or collarbone injury.

On a bad day for some of the favourites, Spain’s Vuelta a España winner Alberto Contador - who was tipped as a likely medallist, or even a winner, by many - was caught by Martin for two minutes shortly after the halfway point and slumped to a disappointing ninth.

Rain and a little wind make the Limburg hills tough for everybody

The 46.2km elite men’s time trial course started in the town of Heerlen, which had itself been the host of the World championships back in 1967 [where Eddy Merckx had taken the first of his three titles, and the great Beryl Burton took the second of her two - ed]. After a rolling start, riders would tackle the kilometre long Sint Remigiusstraat in the first half, before taking on the late climb of the Bundersberg on the way to the final ascent of the Cauberg, which topped out 1.7km from the finish.

Segundo Navarette of Ecuador was the first rider to start, and was also the first to finish, with an eminently beatable time of 1hr 06’36”. The next rider across the line though, was fourth to start Carlos Oyarzun of Chile, who - in catching the two riders in front of him for two and four minutes respectively - lowered the mark to 1hr 2’42”.

This time saw Oyarzun on top of the standings for just over ten minutes, until Austria’s Riccardo Zoidl went more than a minute faster; Zoidl was to stay in the hotseat for little more than a quarter of an hour though, as Dmitriy Gruzdev of Kazakhstan went another minute quicker, to take the best time closer to the hour with 1hr 00’35”.

The Kazakh neo-pro’s time was to stand up to a number of big names in almost half an hour; Great Britain’s Alex Dowsett was 42 seconds down at the final checkpoint but managed to claw back some time in the final sector and crossed the finish line just 29 seconds behind.

Kiryienka had also been slightly slower than Gruzdev all the way around, but climbed the Cauberg much more quickly and - on the heels of the Netherlands’ Wilco Kelderman, his two minute man - crossed the line in an hour and 23 seconds to take the lead.

There were 27 more riders behind the Belarusian, but they came and went without troubling the Belarusian’s time. The big names were starting now however and, while van Garderen was nine seconds slower than Gruzdev at the first 14.3km checkpoint, Phinney was 15 seconds quicker.

Contador capitulates and Pinotti crashes as the race comes down to a Phinney/Martin duel

Contador was well off the pace by the first checkpoint though, despite being hotly tipped before the race, and went through 40 seconds behind the time that Phinney had just posted.

Martin though, was just four seconds slower than Phinney, and the race was already shaping to be a battle between the two young riders.

Pinotti was just nine seconds down on the time that Gruzdev had posted at the 29.4km checkpoint but then disaster struck for the Italian as he hit a wet white line on a corner and came down heavily. He remounted but then drifted to a stop, suffering from problems with his left shoulder, and was helped into the Italian team car by coach Paolo Bettini.

Phinney blasted through that second checkpoint in 38’53” - the fastest time yet - though, just a few minutes behind his BMC Racing teammate.

Meanwhile, a few minutes back on the road, Martin was closing in on Contador. The German was 13 seconds faster than Phinney - in 38’40” - as he went through the checkpoint, and passed the Vuelta a España champion shortly after the corner where Pinotti had come down.

Only seconds in it as the Cauberg becomes the decider again

Phinney was a minute and six seconds faster than Gruzdev had been at the 38.4km check, and was gaining on Vuelta time trial winner Fredrik Kessiakoff of Sweden. Martin, having passed Contador, was just eight seconds ahead of the American at this point, with the Cauberg climb looking like it was going to be the decider between the two riders, just as it had been in the team event the previous weekend.

Van Garderen had been slower than both Kiryienka and Gruzdev at the final checkpoint; the American climbed the Cauberg faster than both, but it was not enough and he crossed the line four seconds behind the Belarusian to slot into provisional silver.

Behind him Phinney was reeling in Kessiakoff on the Cauberg; he didn’t quite catch him, but crossed the line behind him in 58’44”, to blow Kiryienka off the top step of the podium.

Only Martin and Contador were left on the course and the German was cresting the Cauberg as the Spaniard was beginning the climb. Martin had shed another two seconds of his advantage to Phinney on the steep slopes that had cost the American so dearly in the team time trial, but managed to hold on to cross the line in 58’38”.

As he realised he had done it, the German stopped and collapsed to the ground in elation, before hugging his German and Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates and staff. Phinney, in contrast, hid his face under a towel in his disappointment, as he sat in the hot seat just a few metres from where Martin was celebrating.

World road championships, Limburg:

Elite Men's time trial:

1, Tony Martin (Germany) 45.7 kilometres in 58 mins 38.8 secs
2, Taylor Phinney (United States Of America) at 5.37 secs
3, Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) at 1 min 44.99
4, Tejay Van Garderen (United States Of America) at 1 min 49.37
5, Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Sweden) at 1 min 50.56
6, Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan) at 1 min 56.44
7, Jan Barta (Czech Republic) at 2 mins 12.49
8, Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) at 2 mins 26.06
9, Alberto Contador Velasco (Spain) at 2 mins 30
10, Adriano Malori (Italy) at 2 mins 40.54
11, Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) at 2 mins 43.69
12, Svein Tuft (Canada) at 2 mins 56.24
13, Tanel Kangert (Estonia) at 2 mins 57.13
14, Riccardo Zoidl (Austria) at 2 mins 57.27
15, Sylvain Chavanel (France) at 2 mins 58.15
16, Cameron Meyer (Australia) at 2 mins 59.65
17, Kristijan Koren (Slovenia) at 3 mins 5.29
18, Jérémy Roy (France) at 3 mins 8.16
19, Gustav Larsson (Sweden) at 3 mins 11.99
20, Thomas De Gendt (Belgium) at 3 mins 15.29
21, Luke Durbridge (Australia) at 3 mins 17.88
22, Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain) at 3 mins 23.38
23, Jesse Sergent (New Zealand) at 3 mins 25.89
24, Kristof Vandewalle (Belgium) at 3 mins 35.66
25, Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands) at 3 mins 39.35
26, Maciej Bodnar (Poland) at 3 mins 46.06
27, Patrick Gretsch (Germany) at 3 mins 48.78
28, Ioannis Tamouridis (Greece) at 3 mins 52.35
29, Sergey Firsanov (Russian Federation) at 3 mins 56.58
30, Matej Jurco (Slovakia) at 3 mins 56.96
31, Sam Bewley (New Zealand) at 3 mins 59.21
32, Carlos Oyarzun (Chile) at 4 mins 3.43
33, Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania) at 4 mins 5.98
34, Peter Velits (Slovakia) at 4 mins 7.06
35, Rein Taaramae (Estonia) at 4 mins 9.84
36, Bert Grabsch (Germany) at 4 mins 16.85
37, Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) at 4 mins 18.37
38, Lieuwe Westra (Netherlands) at 4 mins 18.79
39, Jay Robert Thomson (South Africa) at 4 mins 19.25
40, Janez Brajkovic (Slovenia) at 4 mins 19.82
41, Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa) at 4 mins 25.93
42, Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kazakhstan) at 4 mins 32.23
43, Gatis Smukulis (Latvia) at 4 mins 35.63
44, Ignatas Konovalovas (Lithuania) at 4 mins 54.59
45, Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine) at 5 mins 9.20
46, Michael Hutchinson (Ireland) at 5 mins 22.86
47, Vladimir Gusev (Russian Federation) at 5 mins 34.37
48, Eugen Wacker (Kyrgyzstan) at 5 mins 43.45
49, Jose Ragonessi (Ecuador) at 6 mins 16.66
50, Aleksejs Saramotins (Latvia) at 6 mins 19.04
51, Segundo Navarrete (Ecuador) at 7 mins 58
52, Elchin Asadov (Azerbaijan) at 9 mins 12.93
53, Andrei Krasilnikau (Belarus) at 9 mins 17.91
54, David Albós (Andorra) at 9 mins 18.85
55. Ji-Yung Kang (Korea) at 9 mins 19.66
56, Gabor Legyel (Hungary) at 13 mins 49.29

Did not finish: Reidar Bohlin Borgersen (Norway)


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