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Covering the 53.5km course in 1.02.29, Kiryienka became the new world time trial champion, beating Malori by 9 seconds; Coppel completed the podium while Dumoulin, Dennis and Martin disappointed

Photo: ANSA / DAL ZENNARO - ZENNARO - PERI

ADRIANO MALORI

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JEROME COPPEL

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TEAM SKY

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VASIL KIRYENKA

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

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23.09.2015 @ 22:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Vasil Kiryienka (Sky, Belarus) became the a surprise world time trial champion when he delivered a storming ride on the 53.5km course in Richmond to beat Adriano Malori (Movistar, Italy) by just 9 seconds after a thrilling finale. Jerome Coppel (IAM, France) completed the podium while pre-race favourites Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin, the Netherlands), Rohan Dennis (BMC, Australia) and Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep, Germany) could only manage 5th, 6th and 7th respectively.

 

Tony Martin, Rohan Dennis or Tom Dumoulin? That was the question that most were asking themselves in the days leading up to today’s World Time Trial Championships. Nobody really expected that the rainbow jersey could be taken by a rider outside the fabulous trio of titans.

 

The name that was mostly mentioned as a potential outsider for a medal was Vasil Kiryienka. After all, the Belarusian has been in the top 4 in 2012, 2013 and 2014 but with a bronze medal his best result so far, a win was regarded as an unlikely scenario.

 

However, Kiryienka who is known as one of the most loyal domestiques and a great time triallist, created the big surprise when he took the win after a thrilling finale. On a day when the three big favourites all disappointed massively, it came down to a duel between Kiryienka and Adriano Malori and it was the Belarusian who came out on top.

 

Already at the first time check, it was evident that Kiryienka was on a good day as he passed that point in a time that was a massive 18 seconds faster than Jerome Coppel who had been crushing the opposition in the final two checks and at the finish. Dennis had already passed that check but Martin and Dumoulin were still to come. However, the German could only manage second, 11 seconds off the pace, while Dumoulin was four seconds further adrift in fourth.

 

Instead, it was Malori who suddenly emerged as a contender. The Italian had been no less than 27 seconds behind at the first check but at the second check, he was suddenly faster than Coppel and 24 seconds behind Malori. His Movistar teammate Jonathan Castroviejo also loomed as a contender ad he wasonly six seconds further behind.

 

At this point, it was suddenly Dennis who was the best of the pre-race favourites. The Australian has gauged his effort well and was sitting in fourth, just 27 seconds behind, while Dumoulin and Martin had faded dramatically, sitting 39 and 44 seconds behind respectively.

 

It was now clear Dennis was the only pre-race favourite with a shot at the win but when the Australian had to stop for a bike change, it became clear that it was a battle between Kiryienka, Malori, Coppel and Castroviejo.

 

At the final time check, Malori had reduced his deficit to just 11 seconds while Coppel was still in contention six seconds further adrift. However, Castroviejo had lost ground and so it was now a three-horse race.

 

The GPS times on TV showed that Malori had closed the gap as Kiryienka hit the final climb with one kilometre to go. However, the Belarusian had left something for the final challenge and when he reached the finish, he had beaten the Italian by nine seconds after a thrilling drama. Coppel faded in the end, ending the race in third with a time loss of 27 seconds, while a great finish for Castroviejo was not enough for a medal as he missed the bronze by just 2 seconds.

 

Among the three pre-race favourites, Dumoulin ended as the best as he took fifth while Dennis’ mechanical saw him drop to sixth. However, the biggest disappointment was Martin who could only manage seventh. The Polish duo of Maciej Bodnar and Marcin Bialoblocki and Italian Moreno Moser rounded out the top 10.

 

With the time trials done and dusted, attention turns to the road races. The junior women and U23 men are first in action on Friday while the elite men round things off on Sunday.

 

A flat course

The 2015 World Championships was held on a 53.5km course that brought the riders from the northern outskirts of Richmond to the city centre. There were a few rolling hills in the first part and a few corners and a short climb in the second half but most of the route was flat and suited to specialists.

 

It was a perfect day for a bike race when Michael Hepburn rolled down the ramp as the first rider. The Australian was expected to set a solid early mark and he consistently posted good splits before he reached the finish in 1.04.28.

 

Zakarin misses out

Tobias Ludvigsson was far off the pace when he reached the finish as the second rider and he was quickly beaten into third by Aleksejs Saramotins. However, the first rider to finish within a minute of Hepburn was Rein Taaramae who posted a time of 1.05.25.

 

Daniil Fominykh briefly made it into the hot seat with the third best time but he was quickly beaten by Ilnur Zakarin. The Russian had been second at every time check but at the finish he had to settle for third.

 

Cummings takes the lead

Rasmus Quaade had been close to Hepburn at every time check but he consistently lost time and when he reached the finish, he was 20 seconds off the pace in second. Yves Lampaert reached the finish in fourth before Lawson Craddock pushed Taaramae out of the hot seat by posting the third best time.

 

Most were now eagerly awaiting the arrival of Stephen Cummings. The Brit had been slow at the first check but had constantly gained ground and at the final check, he had been just two seconds behind Hepburn. He managed to close the final bit of the gap as he took the lead by just 0.31 second.

 

Best time for Bialoblocki

However, Cummings had barely finished his ride before he was pushed into second by a very strong Bialoblocki. The Pole had been a slow starter but got faster and faster as the race went on before reaching the finish in 1.03.51 to beat Cummings by 37 seconds. Silvan Dillier had been passed by him but still managed to take seventh.

 

Luis Leon Sanchez was a very fast starter but faded dramatically in the end to cross the line in sixth. As opposed to this, Moser had only passed the first check in ninth but at the final check he was suddenly only 2 seconds behind Bialoblocki. In the end, he missed out on the lead by just by just 10 seconds.

 

Sanchez fades

Like Sanchez, Luke Durbridge had started fast but in the end he could only manage fifth. Kanstantsin Siutsou made it into the top 10 with the 9th best time but was quickly relegated one spot by Wilco Kelderman who slotted into 8th.

 

Riders from smaller nations took centre stage for a while and no one was close to the top 10 before Gatis Smukulis posted the 11th best time. However, the first rider to make it into the top 10 was a surprisingly strong Hugo Houle who slotted into 9th.

 

Coppel takes the lead

At the second check, Andriy Grivko had been fifth but he faded in the end and had to settle for ninth when he reached the finish. However, it was Coppel who had all the attention. The Frenchman had crushed the opposition at every time check and when he arrived at the line, the clock showed 1.02.56, no less than 55 seconds faster than Bialoblocki.

 

Jurgen Van den Broeck had started fast but like many other he lost a bit of ground with a sixth place. The Americans were eagerly awaiting Taylor Phinney but there would be no miracle for the local hero as he had to settle for third, 1.10 off the pace.

 

Bodnar slots into second

Nelson Oliveira finished the race strongly to slot into the top 5 but it was Jan Barta who got the attention. The Czech had been faster than Coppel at the first check but faded dramatically in the end to ultimately slot into fourth, 1.46 behind the Frenchman.

 

Alex Dowsett could only manage ninth while Stefan Küng narrowly missed out on the top 10 with 11th. Instead, it was Bodnar who got the attention as he made it two Poles in the hot seat by slotting into second with a time of 1.03.46.

 

Kiryienka takes the win

Everybody was eagerly waiting for Castroviejo who had been fast at every time check. The Spaniard finished extremely well but missed out on the lead by just two seconds.

 

Malori was the next to reach the finish and nobody doubted that he would post the best time. He stopped the clock in 1.02.38 to lower the mark by 18 seconds.

 

Dennis’ arrival suddenly became less important as he was far off the pace and crossed the line in fourth. Instead, it was Kiryienka that had the attention and in a thrilling finale, he beat Malori by nine seconds to become world champion. While he celebrated his win, Dumoulin and Martin reached the finish in fifth and seventh respectively to end a very disappointing day.

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