Chris Froome‘s World Championship bronze medal ride in the time trial in Bergen, Norway, made for “an amazing end to an unforgettable season.”
Froome could not hold off the charge of Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) though, and finished behind Slovenian Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo) as he slipped to third when Dumoulin stormed over the line.
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The Sky rider’s season still includes two Grand Tour titles from both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, a double that has not been done since the organiser moved the Vuelta to the late summer date in 1995.
“I’ve never medalled in the World Championships before,” Froome said. “It’s an amazing end to what’s been an unforgettable season for me.”
Dumoulin gave the Netherlands its first gold in the men’s time trial. Great Britain won gold in 1994 with Chris Boardman and in 2014 with Bradley Wiggins.
Froome placed 18th when he last raced the time trial in Mendrisio, Switzerland in 2009.
He also took home a bronze medal from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics last summer, where Fabian Cancellara won gold ahead of Dumoulin in second.
Froome added: “I’m glad that I was here and not sitting at home and watching the race on TV, and wondering where I might have been.”
Dumoulin and Froome were the heavy favourites on the Bergen course that ended with a 3.4-kilometre climb. Dumoulin won the Giro d’Italia in May and returning to form to help Sunweb to the team time trial title on Sunday.
“He’s been strong for a couple of years now, obviously riding at the top level for a while now, so it’s not a surprise, but obviously he’s had a fantastic season, winning the Giro and then focusing on this Worlds title,” Froome said.
“He was by far the strongest man out on the road today, there’s no questioning that. Coming into the last kilometre I was full-gas there, there’s really not much time to look around, but I could hear the crowd cheering behind me.
“At one point I glanced over my shoulder and could just see the orange jersey coming up behind me and I thought, ‘Wow, he’s definitely flying’ but that didn’t change anything, I was just giving everything I had.”
Froome is expected to draw the curtain on his 2017 season with the bronze medal and won’t feature as part of the British team racing in Sunday’s road race.