via UCI press release:
Unlike in Copenhagen, where Martin was clearly in a class of his own and finished 1 minute and 15 seconds ahead of Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, this time the German star had to fight tooth and nail to repeat his World Champion’s title.
Phinney, already an Under-23 World Time Trial Champion in Geelong two years ago, dropped as far as 13 seconds behind Martin in the middle section of the 43.6 kilometre rolling course, but then clawed his way back into contention as he stormed up the third climb of the day, the Cauberg.
A gold medallist as part of the World Team Time Trial Championships last Sunday, and the winner of his national championships earlier this year, Martin just managed to stay ahead. Yet it was so close, to the point where the 27-year-old was four seconds slower than Phinney at the first checkpoint. But with Kazakhstan’s Dimitriy Gruzdev, the third fastest, a further eleven seconds back, it was looking clear that the battle for gold was going to be a two-way affair.
Yet even if the rolling, technical course was not Martin’s favourite type of terrain, the German was never going to give up easily. Pounding past Spain’s Alberto Contador, who had started two minutes before him, even before he reached the 30 kilometres mark, Martin regained ground on Phinney by the second checkpoint to clock the fastest time by 13 seconds.
Neither rider seemed capable of gaining the upper hand, as Phinney then closed the gap on Martin in the final segment of the course. Nine seconds slower with five kilometres left to race, he then squeezed the gap to two thirds of that by the finish line.
However, Martin’s huge smile of triumph as he crossed the line and waving of two fingers at the tv cameras showed that the German knew he had clinched a second title in as many years. He had warned, pre-race, that defending the title would be tough, and he was right.
“The final was one of the hardest of my careers, I had to go 110 percent to be able to get this gold” Martin said. “It’s been a season with a lot of ups and downs, the worst thing was when I had a car accident in April and then broke my hand in the Tour.”
“It was pretty hard to get ready for the Olympics, but I got silver and that gave me a lot of morale. With the Vuelta, this is the first race that I could go with 100 percent top condition which is why I wanted to go full on here, to show what I could do.”
For his part, Philley said: “There have been a lot of near-misses for me this season, but if you told me this morning I was going to get silver, I’d have been so excited.”
“To lose by so little, I must have looked angry in some of the photos of the podium. But I’ve got to be realistic, to be so close to such a great champion like Martin, I have to be happy.”
Competition resumes on Friday with the junior women’s road-race – 65 kilometres long and, like almost all the courses in this part of the world, both hilly and technical. Last year’s champion, Lucy Garner of Great Britain, will once more be taking part.
(2012) - Elite Men Individual Time Trial World Championships
|4||VAN GARDEREN, Tejay||USA||+1:49.37|
|5||KESSIAKOFF, Fredrik Carl Wilhelm||SWE||+1:50.56|
|9||CONTADOR VELASCO, Alberto||ESP||+2:30.00|
|20||DE GENDT, Thomas||BEL||+3:15.29|
|22||CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS JONATHAN,||ESP||+3:23.38|
|39||THOMSON, Jay Robert||ZAF||+4:19.25|
|41||JANSE VAN RENSBURG, Reinardt||RSA||+4:25.93|
|57||BORGERSEN, Reidar Bohlin||NOR||DNF|