Filippo Ganna matched all of the pre-race mania ahead of the UCI Road World Championships elite men’s individual time trial, delivering the host country of Italy its first gold medal of the four-race event on the 37.1km course in Imola on Friday.
Ganna crushed the competition on a blustery day, sailing across the line on the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari 27 seconds ahead of second-placed Wout van Aert (Belgium) and 30 seconds over Switzerland’s Stefan Küng.
“It’s a dream for me, I’m really happy,” Ganna said after becoming the first Italian to take the title since the UCI added it to the world championships programme in 1994.
“At the finish I had reall good support in the car and I give muy professional thank you for the whole team of Italy and Ineos Grenadeirs.
“It’s a dream. I won four rainbow jerseys on the track and this is my first in the time trial.”
Italy might claim the win for itself but Ineos, who took care of Ganna, Thomas and Dennis in order to keep them in the same ‘bubble’ against the COVID-19 virus, placed all three into the top 10.
Defending champion Rohan Dennis (Australia) finished fifth at 40 seconds behind trade teammate Geraint Thomas (Great Britain).
How it unfolded
Only 56 riders took the start for the elite men’s time trial after Canadian Hugo Houle dropped out in order to save himself for the men’s road race.
The UCI Road World Championships had been in question until September 2 when Imola was confirmed as the host venue to replace Aigle, Switzerland, which was forced to withdraw by organisers because of the country’s COVID-19 restrictions. Riders only knew the course two weeks before race day, a flat, wide-open 37.1km out-and-back circuit.
Pacing was perhaps more key than usual as the early stretches of the course pitted riders against a brisk headwind and an uphill, with heavy crosswinds manhandling them in the centre sections and a tailwind on the way back.
Germany’s Max Walscheid set the fastest early time and enjoyed a good spell in the hot seat before Edoardo Affini (Italy) overtook him, setting a time of 37:26.
The Italian’s time stood for another half hour as outside favourites like Luke Durbridge (Australia) and Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) failed to go quicker on the 31.7km course.
It wasn’t until Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) powered through the first check after 14.9km that it became clear that someone would unseat Affini, and the former Tour de France winner continued his high pace through the line to go nearly a minute faster, finishing in 36:31.12.
Hour record holder Victor Campenaerts (Belgium) had a solid second half, catching and passing his minute-man Pello Bilbao (Spain) to come second to Thomas, 16 seconds in arrears, and finishing the day in eighth.
Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) went six seconds quicker than the Belgian to end the day in sixth.
Thomas’ performance appeared solid but his Ineos teammate Ganna came through the first check a full 35 seconds quicker, while Dennis had already given up 20 seconds to the Italian in the first half.
Pre-race favourite Wout van Aert (Belgium) was 46 seconds behind Ganna at that first check but made up a ton of ground in the second half of the course, kicking Thomas out of the hot seat by 10 seconds.
“I had started hard, but I could not maintain that rhythm in the last part of the first section, when there was a headwind,” Van Aert said. “I didn’t go as fast as I had in mind.”
“In the second part it went perfectly again. When I looked at my values, I just raced a top time trial. I beat a lot of strong riders here, but Ganna was just a lot stronger. He was able to work towards this 100 per cent and that has added value.”
Then, Swiss rider Stefan Küng came close to Van Aert’s time, coming in just three ticks slower to push Thomas out of the medal positions.
“I had a good feeling today,” Küng said. “It’s great to win a medal because the field was very tough. Filippo Ganna fully deserves it after what he showed today. As for me, I gave the maximum and I am very proud of my performance. This medal rewards all the efforts.”
Dumoulin nearly came to grief in the final kilometre, overcooking a left-hand bend on the Imola Formula One track and having to unclip to balance himself. The incident cost him, and he just barely made the top 10.
As strong as Van Aert’s ride was, Ganna was simply flawless throughout, and he sailed across the finish line a full 26.7 seconds faster than the Belgian – with only Rohan Dennis left to finish.
The Australian had lost even more time in the second section, however, and came across a distant fifth, almost 40 seconds in arrears.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Filippo Ganna (Italy)||0:35:54|
|2||Wout van Aert (Belgium)||0:00:27|
|3||Stefan Küng (Switzerland)||0:00:30|
|4||Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)||0:00:37|
|5||Rohan Dennis (Australia)||0:00:40|
|6||Kasper Asgreen (Denmark)||0:00:47|
|7||Rémi Cavagna (France)||0:00:48|
|8||Victor Campenaerts (Belgium)||0:00:53|
|9||Alex Dowsett (Great Britain)||0:01:06|
|10||Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)||0:01:14|
|11||Nelson Oliveira (Portugal)||0:01:15|
|12||Patrick Bevin (New Zealand)||0:01:19|
|13||Andreas Leknessund (Norway)||0:01:30|
|14||Edoardo Affini (Italy)||0:01:32|
|15||Luke Durbridge (Australia)||0:01:36|
|16||Jasha Sütterlin (Germany)||0:01:38|
|17||Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)||0:01:48|
|18||Daniel Martinez (Colombia)||0:01:53|
|19||Maximilian Walscheid (Germany)||0:01:57|
|20||Kamil Gradek (Poland)||0:02:06|
|21||Jos Van Emden (Netherlands)||0:02:15|
|22||Benjamin Thomas (France)||0:02:15|
|23||Josef Cerny (Czech Republic)||0:02:16|
|24||Jan Tratnik (Slovenia)||0:02:25|
|25||Ryan Mullen (Ireland)||0:02:32|
|26||Pello Bilbao (Spain)||0:02:34|
|27||Matthias Brändle (Austria)||0:02:34|
|28||Maciej Bodnar (Poland)||0:02:37|
|29||Brandon McNulty (United States Of America)||0:02:52|
|30||Lawson Craddock (United States Of America)||0:02:54|
|31||Nicolas Roche (Ireland)||0:03:02|
|32||Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan)||0:03:11|
|33||Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine)||0:03:22|
|34||Ivo Oliveira (Portugal)||0:03:23|
|35||Evaldas Siskevicius (Lithuania)||0:03:30|
|36||Petr Rikunov (Russian Federation)||0:03:30|
|37||Jakub Otruba (Czech Republic)||0:03:32|
|38||Barnabás Peák (Hungary)||0:03:32|
|39||Carlos Oyarzún (Chile)||0:03:46|
|40||Ulises Alfredo Castillo Soto (Mexico)||0:03:49|
|41||Alexander Cataford (Canada)||0:03:49|
|42||Polychronis Tzortzakis (Greece)||0:03:51|
|43||Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan)||0:03:52|
|44||Tobias Ludvigsson (Sweden)||0:03:57|
|45||Gleb Karpenko (Estonia)||0:04:23|
|46||Felix Ritzinger (Austria)||0:04:26|
|47||Ognjen Ilic (Serbia)||0:04:34|
|48||Jan Andrej Cully (Slovakia)||0:04:48|
|49||Andrei Stepanov (Russian Federation)||0:04:53|
|50||Finn Fisher-Black (New Zealand)||0:04:58|
|51||Viktor Filutás (Hungary)||0:05:23|
|52||Yauheni Karaliok (Belarus)||0:05:42|
|53||Spas Gyurov (Bulgaria)||0:05:42|
|54||Elchin Asadov (Azerbaijan)||0:05:57|
|55||Ahmad Badreddin Wais (Syrian Arab Republic)||0:06:25|
|56||Ingvar Omarsson (Iceland)||0:06:26|
|DNS||Hugo Houle (Canada)|
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Filippo Ganna (Italy)||0:18:06|
|2||Rohan Dennis (Australia)||0:00:20|
|3||Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)||0:00:35|
|4||Stefan Küng (Switzerland)||0:00:42|
|5||Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)||0:00:45|
|6||Wout van Aert (Belgium)||0:00:46|
|7||Rémi Cavagna (France)||0:00:52|
|8||Victor Campenaerts (Belgium)||0:00:53|
|9||Alex Dowsett (Great Britain)||0:00:59|
|10||Kasper Asgreen (Denmark)||0:01:00|
|11||Edoardo Affini (Italy)||0:01:01|
|12||Luke Durbridge (Australia)||0:01:01|
|13||Andreas Leknessund (Norway)||0:01:07|
|14||Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark)||0:01:17|
|15||Daniel Martinez (Colombia)||0:01:17|
|16||Nelson Oliveira (Portugal)||0:01:17|
|17||Patrick Bevin (New Zealand)||0:01:22|
|18||Jasha Sutterlin (Germany)||0:01:25|
|19||Jos van Emden (Netherlands)||0:01:27|
|20||Benjamin Thomas (France)||0:01:31|
|21||Jan Tratnik (Slovenia)||0:01:32|
|22||Maximilian Walscheid (Germany)||0:01:34|
|23||Matthias Brandle (Austria)||0:01:36|
|24||Ryan Mullen (Ireland)||0:01:37|
|25||Kamil Gradek (Poland)||0:01:39|
|26||Josef Cerny (Czech Republic)||0:01:40|
|27||Pello Bilbao (Spain)||0:01:46|
|28||Maciej Bodnar (Poland)||0:01:49|
|29||Lawson Craddock (United States Of America)||0:01:50|
|30||Nicolas Roche (Ireland)||0:01:57|
|31||Brandon Mcnulty (United States Of America)||0:01:58|
|32||Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine)||0:02:01|
|33||Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan)||0:02:10|
|34||Barnabas Peak (Hungary)||0:02:10|
|35||Ivo Oliveira (Portugal)||0:02:12|
|36||Ulises Alfredo Castillo Soto (Mexico)||0:02:13|
|37||Evaldas Siskevicius (Lithuania)||0:02:15|
|38||Jakub Otruba (Czech Republic)||0:02:18|
|39||Tobias Ludvigsson (Sweden)||0:02:18|
|40||Carlos Oyarzun (Chile)||0:02:22|
|41||Polychronis Tzortzakis (Greece)||0:02:23|
|42||Alexander Cataford (Canada)||0:02:26|
|43||Petr Rikunov (Russian Federation)||0:02:32|
|44||Ognjen Ilic (Serbia)||0:02:39|
|45||Finn Fisher-black (New Zealand)||0:02:41|
|46||Gleb Karpenko (Estonia)||0:02:43|
|47||Felix Ritzinger (Austria)||0:02:57|
|48||Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan)||0:03:02|
|49||Andrei Stepanov (Russian Federation)||0:03:03|
|50||Jan Andrej Cully (Slovakia)||0:03:09|
|51||Viktor Filutas (Hungary)||0:03:20|
|52||Spas Gyurov (Bulgaria)||0:03:24|
|53||Yauheni Karaliok (Belarus)||0:03:25|
|54||Elchin Asadov (Azerbaijan)||0:03:29|
|55||Ingvar Omarsson (Iceland)||0:03:44|
|56||Ahmad Badreddin Wais (Syrian Arab Republic)||0:04:01|