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With a dominant performance, Martin took his fourth Worlds title by beating Kiryienka by 46 seconds on the flat course in Qatar; Castroviejo finally got his top 3 with a bronze medal

Photo: A.S.O.

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JONATHAN CASTROVIEJO

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TONY MARTIN

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VASIL KIRYENKA

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

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12.10.2016 @ 15:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) proved that he is back to his best with a dominant performance in the 2016 World Championships in Qatar where he claimed his fourth title. Covering the 40km in 44.42, he was a massive 46 seconds faster than defending champion Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) while Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) finally got the elusive medal with a third place. Pre-race favourites Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) could only manage sixth and eleventh respectively.

 

From 2011 to 2014, Tony Martin was the dominant time trial rider. The German won nearly every TT he did and conquered the Worlds title three years in a row.

 

In 2015, Martin made a change to his position and that had a big impact on his performances. Suddenly, the German developed into a mediocre time triallist and his winning rate declined significantly. It reached a low at last year’s Worlds, this year’s Tour de France and at the Rio Olympics where he was far from the best positions.

 

Frustrated by the results, Martin made the decision to return to his former position at the Tour of Britain and suddenly he was back. The German took his first international TT win of the year and apparently that’s what he needed to return to his former level.

 

Last Sunday, Martin looked like his former self when he played a key role as the engine in the Etixx-QuickStep team that won the World Championships for the third time. Today he confirmed that he is back to his best as he equaled Fabian Cancellara’s record of four Worlds titles with a dominant performance in the individual time trial.

 

Martin was the fourth last rider to roll down the ramp and onto the completely flat course in Qatar and he immediately showed that he was on fire. He passed the first time check with the best time and even though it was only 3 seconds better than world champion Vasil Kiryienka, it was a sign of things to come.

 

The second part of the course consisted of a long, straight road and this is where Martin’s power made the difference. Passing the second check, the German had increased his advantage to 22 seconds and when he reached the finish, he beat previous leader Jonathan Castroviejo by a massive 1.11.

 

Martin had to wait for the final three riders to arrive but it was evident that he was going to take the title. Kiryienka lost further ground but claimed his third Worlds medal 12 months after his first win as he was 44 seconds behind Martin in third place and so extended his string of top 4 finishes to five.

 

Castroviejo gauged his effort perfectly to claim the bronze medal that eluded him by a few seconds in both Rio and Richmond. The Spaniard was off the pace at the first two time checks but finished strongly to claim take the third place.

 

Instead, it was Maciej Bodnar who ended as the big loser. The Pole did one of the best time trials of his life and briefly posted the best time when he crossed the line as the sixth last rider. However, the Castroviejo went six seconds faster and so he narrowly missed out on a medal.

 

The surprise of the day was former U23 Worlds silver medallist Ryan Mullen. The Irishman was an early starter and spent almost all day in the hot seat. Only when Bodnar arrived did he lose his lead and ultimately he ended the day in fifth.

 

The big disappointments were pre-race favourites Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin. Right from the start, they were off the pace and they both finished outside the top 6. Dennis had to settle for sixth while Dumoulin did even worse with 11th place.

 

With the time trials done and dusted, attention now turns to the road races. The U23 men will kick the action off tomorrow while the elite men will bring the event to a close on Sunday.

 

A flat course

The 13th edition of the World Time Trial Championships was held on a completely flat 40km course in Qatar. After a technical opening section at the Lusial Sports Complex north of the capital, the riders travelled along a flat, straight road to Doha. Here the roads again got a bit more technical as the riders headed to the finish on the manmade island of The Pearl.

 

It was a brutally hot day when Soufiane Haddi (Morocco) rolled down the ramp as the first rider. The Skydive rider reached the finish in 52.31 to take an early lead but he was quickly beaten by Redi Halilaj (Albania) who posted a time of 51.38.

 

Mullen crushes the opposition

Maksym Averin (Azerbaidjan) briefly held the fastest time as he was six seconds faster than Halilaj but when the WorldTour riders started to arrive, the mark was reduced significantly. Gediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania) took the lead with a time of 48.30 to go 3.02 faster than the Azeri rider but he was quickly beatn by Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) whose time of 47.17 was 1.13 better.

 

Grivko had barely caught his breath before Mullen appeared on the finishing straight. The Irishman blasted across the line in a time of 46.04 to lower the mark by 1.13.

 

Van Emden fades

Reto Hollenstein (Switzerland) gauged his effort well to slowly move up through the ranks and after having caught both Maxim Belkov and Søren Kragh Andersen who both made it into the top 5, he posted the second best time of 46.34. Alexey Vermeulen (USA) and Vegard Stake Laengen (Norway) both slotted into fourth before Marcin Bialolocki (Poland) made it into the top 3 with a time of 46.58.

 

Mullen was nervously waiting for the arrival of Jos Van Emden (Netherlands) as the Dutchman had been 2 seconds faster at the second and final time check. However, he was unable to maintain his speed and at the finish he had lost 24 seconds and had to settle for second place.

 

Good ride by Lampaert

Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus) posted the 8th best time but was quickly pushed one spot down by Gatis Smukulis (Latvia) who moved into 6th with a time of 47.20. However, it was Yves Lampaert (Belgium) who was the next threat for Mullen. The Belgian had been close at the first time check but he had to settle for second with a time of 46.24.

 

Stephen Cummings (Great Britain) came back from a slow start to take 9th with 47.31 and Jack Bauer (New Zealand) also briefly made it into the top 10 with 47.47. Luke Durbridge (Australia) did a fine ride to take sixth with 47.11 which was better than Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) whose 10th place with 47.29 was a disappointment.

 

Disappointment for Küng, Dowsett and Phinney

Anton Vorobyev (Russia) missed out on a top 5 as his time of 47.05 was only good enough for 6th and Manuel Quinziato (Italy) had to settle for 10th with 47.05. They were both beaten by continental rider Martin Toft Madsen (Denmark) who delivered a surprise when he posted a time of 46.54 to slot into fifth.

 

Stefan Küng (Switzerland) and Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) both disappointing rides with 8th and 7th places respectively. Things were looking better for Taylor Phinney (USA) who was fast at both time checks but ultimately slipped to 8th with 47.04.

 

Martin wins the race

Bob Jungels (Luxembourg) gauged his efforts much better and slowly moved up to reach the finish in the 5th best time of 46.39. However, it was Bodnar whom Mullen was nervously awaiting as the Pole had been close at the second time check. The Tinkoff rider finished very strongly an beat Mullen my five seconds to take the lead.

 

Bodnar didn’t even get time to sit in the hot seat as Castroviejo had beaten him by six seconds before he had caught his breath. At this point, however, it was already evident that Martin would take the win and he arrived just 19 seconds later to beat the Spaniard by a massive 1.11.

 

Dennis had a disappointing day and could only manage fifth with 46.10 and Dumoulin did even worsewith 10th in 46.44. Martin then only had to wait for Kiryienka who delivered another great performance to take second with a time of 45.28.

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