Friday, September 23, 2011

The Reign Ends for Cancellara

Cancellara suffers first time trial defeat in five years

Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara on the podium

COPENHAGEN: Germany’s Tony Martin ended the long reign of Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara by powering to the time trial gold at the Cycling Road World Championships here on Wednesday.

Martin claimed his maiden world title in the discipline, with Britain’s Bradley Wiggins – a triple Olympic and six–time world champion on the track – winning the silver for his first worlds road medal.

Cancellara, the Olympic champion who had made the discipline his own in the past five years, came close to missing out on a medal in an error strewn performance before claiming the bronze.

Tony Martin in action

Martin, a time trial specialist who rides with the HTC–Highroad team, had finished third in the event the past two years to Cancellara.

The only time the Swiss had failed to win the title since 2006 was in 2008, when he opted out of the world championships shortly after his Olympic gold medal success in Beijing, allowing Germany’s Bert Grabsch to triumph.

Martin, however, had signalled his form by relegating Cancellara to over a minute and a half on his way to victory in the recent 10th stage of the Tour of Spain.

And the German proved that he was fully deserving of the title after speeding his way, at an average of 51.8kmh, over the 46.4km course to post a winning time of 53:43.85 to beat Wiggins by over a minute.

“For me it is really important to find the right rythm from the start, and I felt early on I was going to go well,” said Martin.

“I had the perfect position and my speed was really fast. After I heard the first split times, I was confident and could feel it was my race.

“I’m getting stronger in my head and I’m getting better at handling the approach to the race.

Having set a time of 54:59.68, Wiggins had looked set for a third place finish until late errors by Cancellara left him in second place.

It was yet another great result for the Londoner, who made up for crashing out of the Tour de France in July with a broken collarbone by claiming a first ever Grand Tour podium with a third place finish at the Tour of Spain.

Fabian Cancellara in action

Twice Cancellara was forced to slow down to avoid hitting the barriers after tight turns.

On his second near miss, after negotiating a right–hand bend, Cancellara came to a standstill, losing precious seconds which almost cost him a medal.

He stopped the clock in 55:04.44, finishing just 0:11 ahead of Grabsch.

“I started well but didn’t find the optimal rhythm and I started to feel that maybe today was not going to be my day,” said the Swiss.

“Mentally, maybe I cracked a bit and I couldn’t give any more towards the end.

“It was a bit of a rollercoaster for me, but Tony’s the deserved winner today.” – AFP


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