Vasil Kiryienka says his victory was still a hard one to win even without the defending champion Bradley Wiggins and four-time winner Fabian Cancellara

Bradley Wiggins and Fabian Cancellara skipped it, and the top names suffered, but Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka still had to fight to take his time trial gold medal in the World Championships on Wednesday in Richmond.

Team Sky’s Kiryienka stood on top of a surprise podium, with Italian Adriano Malori (Movistar) one step down and Frenchman Jérôme Coppel (IAM Cycling) below with the bronze medal.

One year after Wiggins was crowned king in Ponferrada, Spain, his former teammate Kiryienka completed the 53.5-kilometre Richmond course in one hour, 2-29 minutes.

“It was the kind of course that suits me, and even if [four-time champion] Fabian Cancellara and Bradley Wiggins were not here, all the other top names took part,” Kiryienka said afterwards. “It was a race with a high level [of participation] and it was a hard race to win.”

Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), who placed fourth, suffered from a pre-race muscle problem, Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) punctured and three-time champion, German Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) “couldn’t find his rhythm and lost morale.”

Watch: How to beat a long time trial

A combination of factors paved the way for Kiryienka, who placed fourth the last two years and took bronze in Valkenburg in 2012.

“It’s great in Team Sky, the time trial is very important for them,” he said.

“The team helped me prepare, and they supported me.

“This year I was not in the Tour de France because I was tired from the first part of the season, they gave me the chance in the Vuelta to not just work for our leaders, but to plan ahead to the World Championships.

“They told me that this could be my year, my chance to do what Bradley did last year.

Tour of Oman - Stage 2

Kiryienka leads Peter Kennaugh and Bradley Wiggins in 2013 (Watson)

Kiryienka won the Giro d’Italia’s Valdobbiadene time trial in May and the European Championships in June. At the Giro, he was free to ride his own time trial after working for Richie Porte.

In 2013, he helped guide Chris Froome to his first Tour win and thanks to his help, became second Brit after Wiggins to take the maillot jaune.

Kiryienka, who grew up in Rechytsa, close to the Ukraine border, made history of his own in Richmond yesterday. Winning the time trial, he claimed Belarus’s first gold medal in the 21-year-old event.

  • Edvid

    Martin recovered well enough from his TdF crashes in 2012/13 to keep the stripes, so being fairly close to his best in Richmond was a fair expectation. If he wasn’t quite there, then it was expected they would go to Dennis after his rides over the last three months, including the TTT (which admittedly was 15km shorter than the ITT).

    As it turned out, Martin was further below his usual form than expected – those are the reasons why Kiry’s win was rather unexpected at the time. To win the stripes at the age of 34 (like Wiggo last year) is also impressive.

    Incidentally, I bet few people realise that when Wiggo claimed a triple haul of rainbow jerseys in the 2008 Track WCh, Kiry claimed one for himself in the points race!

  • Torres London

    Does “surprise podium” include Kiryienka? He was 3rd in 2012, and 4th 2013 / 2014. Taking into account his other TT achievements and PERHAPS absence of Cancellara & Wiggo and tired/otherwise out-of form Dumoulin & Martin, Kyri’s win is not much of a surprise.

  • Edvid

    What a season he’s had – ITT victories in the Giro, European Games and national championships to go with his rainbow jersey.

    Now he has another gold & bronze pair to go with his gold & bronze pair in the points race from 2006/08 – yes, he’s another former trackie! Just like Ellen van Dijk (who won her points race in 2008 as well…)