Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) scored a notable triumph in the World Championships time trial event on Salzburg on Thursday, finishing a thumping 89 seconds ahead of trade team-mate American Dave Zabriskie, with Vuelta winner Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan forced to settle for bronze.
Great Britain?s one rider in the 50.8 kilometre event David Millar had an off-day, taking a below-expectations 15th.
Third in the 2005 Time Trial World?s in Madrid and silver in the U-23 equivalent in 2000, Paris-Roubaix winner Cancellara, never looked less than comfortable on the hilly out-and-back course, marking the fastest times at all the checkpoints from the word go.
From there on for the CSC rider it was a question of controlling his closest rivals, all of whom – barring 2005 Chamapion Michael Rogers of Australia, who could not add a fourth consecutive title to his collection and slipped to eighth – had started out before him.
?I rode a perfect race.? said Cancellara, who was dropped from the CSC Tour selection at the last minute and then rode the first two weeks of the Vuelta, narrowly missing out on a time trial victory at Cuenca when he finished less than a second behind Millar.
?Lacking the Tour in my legs gave me an opportunity to concentrate on succeeding in what has been one of the high points of my career.?
Not everybody had as smooth a ride as Cancellara: Vinokourov experienced problems with his chain on the course?s first climb and lost some time, and Millar – although out of the medals in any case – punctured early on.
For Cancellara?s CSC team-mate Zabriskie – recently crowned American national time trial champion – silver was ?a pleasant reward for years of trying. My first World Championships was in 1997 at San Sebastian and I?ve been coming here ever since, so I reckon it was about time I got a medal.?
Vinokourov was equally pleased with repeating his 2004 bronze from Verona – although his time trial win in the Vuelta last Saturday had already shown that he was no slouch against the watch.
?Fabian was on another planet today, and really the most the difference the puncture made was between second and third. For me the difference between bronze and silver is not such a big deal, it?s only winning that coundts, so I?m happy.?