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Ganna wins time trial title at Imola World Championships

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.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Filippo Ganna (Italy) 0:35:54
2Wout van Aert (Belgium) 0:00:27
3Stefan Küng (Switzerland) 0:00:30
4Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) 0:00:37
5Rohan Dennis (Australia) 0:00:40
6Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) 0:00:47
7Rémi Cavagna (France) 0:00:48
8Victor Campenaerts (Belgium) 0:00:53
9Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) 0:01:06
10Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) 0:01:14
11Nelson Oliveira (Portugal) 0:01:15
12Patrick Bevin (New Zealand) 0:01:19
13Andreas Leknessund (Norway) 0:01:30
14Edoardo Affini (Italy) 0:01:32
15Luke Durbridge (Australia) 0:01:36
16Jasha Sütterlin (Germany) 0:01:38
17Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) 0:01:48
18Daniel Martinez (Colombia) 0:01:53
19Maximilian Walscheid (Germany) 0:01:57
20Kamil Gradek (Poland) 0:02:06
21Jos Van Emden (Netherlands) 0:02:15
22Benjamin Thomas (France) 0:02:15
23Josef Cerny (Czech Republic) 0:02:16
24Jan Tratnik (Slovenia) 0:02:25
25Ryan Mullen (Ireland) 0:02:32
26Pello Bilbao (Spain) 0:02:34
27Matthias Brändle (Austria) 0:02:34
28Maciej Bodnar (Poland) 0:02:37
29Brandon McNulty (United States Of America) 0:02:52
30Lawson Craddock (United States Of America) 0:02:54
31Nicolas Roche (Ireland) 0:03:02
32Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan) 0:03:11
33Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine) 0:03:22
34Ivo Oliveira (Portugal) 0:03:23
35Evaldas Siskevicius (Lithuania) 0:03:30
36Petr Rikunov (Russian Federation) 0:03:30
37Jakub Otruba (Czech Republic) 0:03:32
38Barnabás Peák (Hungary) 0:03:32
39Carlos Oyarzún (Chile) 0:03:46
40Ulises Alfredo Castillo Soto (Mexico) 0:03:49
41Alexander Cataford (Canada) 0:03:49
42Polychronis Tzortzakis (Greece) 0:03:51
43Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan) 0:03:52
44Tobias Ludvigsson (Sweden) 0:03:57
45Gleb Karpenko (Estonia) 0:04:23
46Felix Ritzinger (Austria) 0:04:26
47Ognjen Ilic (Serbia) 0:04:34
48Jan Andrej Cully (Slovakia) 0:04:48
49Andrei Stepanov (Russian Federation) 0:04:53
50Finn Fisher-Black (New Zealand) 0:04:58
51Viktor Filutás (Hungary) 0:05:23
52Yauheni Karaliok (Belarus) 0:05:42
53Spas Gyurov (Bulgaria) 0:05:42
54Elchin Asadov (Azerbaijan) 0:05:57
55Ahmad Badreddin Wais (Syrian Arab Republic) 0:06:25
56Ingvar Omarsson (Iceland) 0:06:26
DNSHugo Houle (Canada)

Intermediate check 1, km 14
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Filippo Ganna (Italy) 0:18:06
2Rohan Dennis (Australia) 0:00:20
3Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) 0:00:35
4Stefan Küng (Switzerland) 0:00:42
5Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands) 0:00:45
6Wout van Aert (Belgium) 0:00:46
7Rémi Cavagna (France) 0:00:52
8Victor Campenaerts (Belgium) 0:00:53
9Alex Dowsett (Great Britain) 0:00:59
10Kasper Asgreen (Denmark) 0:01:00
11Edoardo Affini (Italy) 0:01:01
12Luke Durbridge (Australia) 0:01:01
13Andreas Leknessund (Norway) 0:01:07
14Mikkel Bjerg (Denmark) 0:01:17
15Daniel Martinez (Colombia) 0:01:17
16Nelson Oliveira (Portugal) 0:01:17
17Patrick Bevin (New Zealand) 0:01:22
18Jasha Sutterlin (Germany) 0:01:25
19Jos van Emden (Netherlands) 0:01:27
20Benjamin Thomas (France) 0:01:31
21Jan Tratnik (Slovenia) 0:01:32
22Maximilian Walscheid (Germany) 0:01:34
23Matthias Brandle (Austria) 0:01:36
24Ryan Mullen (Ireland) 0:01:37
25Kamil Gradek (Poland) 0:01:39
26Josef Cerny (Czech Republic) 0:01:40
27Pello Bilbao (Spain) 0:01:46
28Maciej Bodnar (Poland) 0:01:49
29Lawson Craddock (United States Of America) 0:01:50
30Nicolas Roche (Ireland) 0:01:57
31Brandon Mcnulty (United States Of America) 0:01:58
32Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine) 0:02:01
33Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan) 0:02:10
34Barnabas Peak (Hungary) 0:02:10
35Ivo Oliveira (Portugal) 0:02:12
36Ulises Alfredo Castillo Soto (Mexico) 0:02:13
37Evaldas Siskevicius (Lithuania) 0:02:15
38Jakub Otruba (Czech Republic) 0:02:18
39Tobias Ludvigsson (Sweden) 0:02:18
40Carlos Oyarzun (Chile) 0:02:22
41Polychronis Tzortzakis (Greece) 0:02:23
42Alexander Cataford (Canada) 0:02:26
43Petr Rikunov (Russian Federation) 0:02:32
44Ognjen Ilic (Serbia) 0:02:39
45Finn Fisher-black (New Zealand) 0:02:41
46Gleb Karpenko (Estonia) 0:02:43
47Felix Ritzinger (Austria) 0:02:57
48Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan) 0:03:02
49Andrei Stepanov (Russian Federation) 0:03:03
50Jan Andrej Cully (Slovakia) 0:03:09
51Viktor Filutas (Hungary) 0:03:20
52Spas Gyurov (Bulgaria) 0:03:24
53Yauheni Karaliok (Belarus) 0:03:25
54Elchin Asadov (Azerbaijan) 0:03:29
55Ingvar Omarsson (Iceland) 0:03:44
56Ahmad Badreddin Wais (Syrian Arab Republic) 0:04:01

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