Grega Bole of Slovenia kicked off the 22nd CISM World Military Cycling Championships by winning the time trial on Friday in Clonmel, Ireland.
The 24-year-old, who recently signed a contract to race for Lampre in 2010, blitzed the 20.52km course in a time of 24 minutes and 16 seconds — just seven seconds off the record for the same course set by Sean Kelly in the 1986 Nissan Classic.
German teammates Stefan Schaefer and Robert Bengsch were second and third, respectively. The top three were the only riders to crack the 25-minute mark.
American George Ganoung, a commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, finished ninth in 25:48. Teammate Ian Holt, a captain in the U.S. Air Force, had to settle for 16th after flatting early on and then having to stop once more to adjust the wheel.
Racing continues on Sunday with the military-championship road race, which consists of nine laps of a 15.7km circuit around Clonmel.