The UCI Road World Championships saw one of the longest stints in a time trial 'hotseat' as Germany's Marco Mathis, second off the start ramp, produced a storming ride in Doha to shock the bigger names and become U23 world time trial champion.
The 22-year-old started his ride at 11:31am and remained in the winner's seat for over four hours until his victory was signed and sealed when the last starter, 2015 champion Mads Würtz Schmidt, completed his ride, the Dane finishing outside the top 20.
Mathis covered the 28.9km course on Doha's 'Pearl' island in a time of 34:08.09. Despite being the second rider off the ramp, he was the first across the finish line, and no one would go on to better his times at any of the three intermediate checkpoints.
Maximilian Schachmann made it a one-two for Germany, the national champion finishing 18 seconds down on Mathis, who was third at those nationals in June. Last year's U23 Worlds runner-up and a pre-race favourite, Lennard Kamna, almost made it a perfect day for the Germans but he was beaten to the third step of the podium by Australian Miles Scotson.
"It was so long on the hotseat but I'm happy. The course was absolutely flat, and technical, so I think was 'my' course I think. It's a big dream, I have no words, I'm world champion and I am very happy," said Mathis in his post-race interview, where he had to fend off the inevitable question about being the 'next Tony Martin'.
"Tony Martin is a big name but no; this here is just perfect for me."
Mathis's remarkable ride almost came unstuck when an ambulance and another race van crowded his approach to one of several roundabouts.
The two vehicles communicated poorly and Mathis, understandably reluctant to knock off his speed, was forced to nip in ahead of the ambulance as he went into the roundabout. The hairy moment fortunately didn't lead to an accident, which would have deepened the controversy after yesterday's issues with the heat.
In fact, it could be said that Mathis benefited from the incident as he was able to accelerate out of the roundabout in the considerable slipstream of the second van. In the end, however, his victory margin was such that few could have had any serious complaints.
Mathis set out just after 11.30am and perhaps benefited from getting his ride in before the heat was at its most intense, though the temperatures were still well into the 30's.
With riders setting off in blocks, the German was comfortably the quickest of the first batch, and when strong time triallists from the second block – including Schachmann, Miles Scotson, Tom, Bohli (Switzerland), Jon Dibben (Great Britain), and Neilson Powless – were mostly unable to get within 30 seconds, it was clear Mathis had put himself in podium contention.
Many of the favourites were in the final batch of riders, setting off when the midday heat had begun to subside, but none were able to make a real impact. Only Kamna, Mads Pedersen and Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Denmark), Callum and Miles Scotson (Australia), could get within 10 seconds of Mathis' time at the first intermediate checkpoint.
Miles Scotson was looking good at the second checkpoint, just three seconds down on Mathis, but he paid for his efforts and faded in the final third of the course, losing 38 seconds by the finish line.
Last year's champion, Schmidt, posted a reasonable time at the first checkpoint but it soon became clear he would not be pulling on the rainbow bands for a second year in a row, and he found himself 1:24 down at the third intermediate checkpoint.
When Kamna, the penultimate rider home, finished 42 seconds off the pace, Schachmann, sitting next to Mathis in the hotseat, smiled and high-fived his nervous compatriot, urging him to celebrate. The 22-year-old, however, scarcely believing it all, would not allow himself a smile until Wurtz Schmidt had crossed the line and his victory was beyond the reach of any doubt – no matter how improbable.
|#||Rider Name (Country)||Result|
|1||Marco Mathis (Germany)||0:34:08|
|2||Maximilian Schachmann (Germany)||0:00:18|
|3||Miles Scotson (Australia)||0:00:37|
|4||Lennard Kämna (Germany)||0:00:42|
|5||Kasper Asgreen (Denmark)||0:00:50|
|6||Neilson Powless (United States Of America)||0:00:54|
|7||Geoffrey Curran (United States Of America)||0:01:05|
|8||Tom Bohli (Switzerland)||0:01:16|
|9||Eddie Dunbar (Ireland)||0:01:21|
|10||Callum Scotson (Australia)||0:01:22|
|11||Stefan De Bod (South Africa)|
|12||Alexander Cowan (Canada)||0:01:26|
|13||Rémi Cavagna (France)||0:01:28|
|14||Filippo Ganna (Italy)||0:01:37|
|15||Jonathan Dibben (Great Britain)||0:01:38|
|16||Sean Mackinnon (Canada)||0:01:43|
|17||Mads Pedersen (Denmark)||0:01:50|
|18||Martin Schäppi (Switzerland)||0:01:53|
|19||Corentin Ermenault (France)||0:01:58|
|20||Edoardo Affini (Italy)||0:01:59|
|21||Mads Würtz Schmidt (Denmark)||0:02:02|
|22||Izidor Penko (Slovenia)||0:02:10|
|23||Patrick Gamper (Austria)||0:02:11|
|24||János Pelikán (Hungary)||0:02:18|
|25||Tom Wirtgen (Luxembourg)||0:02:21|
|26||Tao Geoghegan Hart (Great Britain)||0:02:22|
|27||Nathan Van Hooydonck (Belgium)||0:02:25|
|28||Pascal Eenkhoorn (Netherlands)||0:02:26|
|29||Artem Nych (Russian Federation)||0:02:33|
|30||Daniel Martínez (Colombia)|
|31||Gonzalo Serrano (Spain)||0:02:41|
|32||Szymon Rekita (Poland)||0:02:53|
|33||Amanuel Gebrezgabihier (Eritrea)||0:02:58|
|34||Nazar Lahodych (Ukraine)||0:03:04|
|35||Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Poland)||0:03:17|
|36||Ivo Emanuel Oliveira (Portugal)|
|37||Silver Mäoma (Estonia)||0:03:21|
|38||Ivan Centrone (Luxembourg)||0:03:27|
|39||Sam Dobbs (New Zealand)||0:03:29|
|40||Pavel Sivakov (Russian Federation)||0:03:33|
|41||Jan-Willem Van Schip (Netherlands)||0:03:34|
|42||Mehdi Rajabi (Islamic Republic of Iran)||0:03:38|
|43||Timur Maleev (Ukraine)||0:03:40|
|44||Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eritrea)||0:03:42|
|45||Michael O'Loughlin (Ireland)||0:03:44|
|46||Krists Neilands (Latvia)||0:03:45|
|47||Senne Leysen (Belgium)||0:03:55|
|48||Abderrahmane Mansouri (Algeria)||0:03:59|
|49||Mohammad Ganjkhanlou (Islamic Republic of Iran)||0:04:18|
|50||Yuriy Natarov (Kazakhstan)||0:04:22|
|51||Jon Bozic (Slovenia)||0:04:24|
|52||Eriks Toms Gavars (Latvia)||0:04:25|
|53||Victor Langellotti (Monaco)||0:04:26|
|54||Islam Shawky (Egypt)||0:04:28|
|55||Nassim Saidi (Algeria)||0:04:38|
|56||Ka Hoo Fung (Hong Kong, China)||0:04:54|
|57||Joseph Areruya (Rwanda)||0:04:59|
|58||Stepan Astafyev (Kazakhstan)||0:05:13|
|59||Raimondas Rumšas (Lithuania)||0:05:29|
|60||Maral-Erdene Batmunkh (Mongolia)||0:05:50|
|61||Enkhtaivan Bolor-Erdene (Mongolia)||0:06:06|
|62||Andrej Petrovski (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)||0:06:13|
|63||Bilguunjargal Erdenebat (Mongolia)||0:06:45|
|64||Nazar Alabuabdulla (Saudi Arabia)||0:07:19|
|65||Khaled Alkhalaifah (Kuweit)||0:07:47|
|66||Abdulhadi Alajmi (Kuweit)||0:08:14|
|67||Hassan Aljumah (Saudi Arabia)||0:08:15|
|68||Akramjon Sunnatov (Uzbekistan)||0:08:41|
|69||Yahiaaldien Khalefa (Bahrain)||0:09:11|
|70||Egzon Misini (Kosovo)||0:10:56|
|71||Luan Haliti (Kosovo)||0:18:50|
|DNF||Yousif Ibrahim Yosif (Sudan)|
|DNF||Hayden McCormick (New Zealand)|
|DNS||Getachow Yoahnnes Atsbha (Ethiopia)|