Martin edges Phinney for 2012 time trial world title

Tony Martin squeaks another worlds time trial win out over Taylor Phinney in Valkenburg

Tony Martin defended his time trial world title in Valkenburg, Netherlands, Wednesday. The German topped American Taylor Phinney by five seconds to earn his second elite world championship.

Martin led Phinney on the hilly, 52.3km Limburg course east of Maastricht by as many as 14 seconds, but his advantage was down to just eight seconds at the final time check. The American, who started third-to-last, took risks, narrowly avoiding a number of traffic islands and curbs, and powered up the Cauberg climb to the final approach to the finish. Phinney set the fast time at the finish of 58:44.13 to displace previous leader Vasili Kiryienka (Belarus).

“There was a lot of pressure on me; everyone was looking at me to win,” said Martin. “I said I just have to ride and pick up the gold medal, that it would be an easy day. It’s a one-day race; sometimes I cannot have the best legs, other guys can have perfect legs. Taylor did the perfect ride. I didn’t expect it would be so hard. I had to give everything. I gave 110 percent. The final was one of the hardest-ever finals I’ve done in my career. I was just dead.”

Martin wasn’t to be denied another taste of gold, however. He went out fast and faded late, but Martin pushed his way up the Cauberg in the big ring. He lost time as he rose above Valkenburg, but pushed onto the finish, clocking in at 58:38.76 to win his second TT gold of these world championships. Martin anchored Omega Pharma-Quick Step to team time trial gold, over Phinney’s BMC Racing squad, on Sunday.

Kiryienka was third, more than a minute in arrears, while American Tejay van Garderen was fourth.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy with a fourth place in my career,” van Garderen told VeloNews. “Sure, I would have liked to have gone five seconds faster and gotten onto the podium, but I am not really a one-day time trial guy. This result gives me more motivation for the future.”