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Britain’s Bradley Wiggins won the UCI world time trial championships on Wednesday in Ponferrada, Spain.
The time trial title is one of the few that has eluded the Briton. But in his sixth attempt at the rainbow stripes, the 34-year-old Wiggins came correct.
“I don’t know what to say,” Wiggins said. “I knew coming into it that I had the legs. Once I saw the course, I knew if I was ever going to beat Tony [Martin] again it was going to be in course like this.”
Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) set an early best mark on the 47.1-kilometer course, which ended with a short climb.
The Netherlands’ Tom Dumoulin, 23, was the day’s third-to-last starter. He bested Kiryienka’s time by seven seconds.
However, the battle of the day was between Wiggins and the three-time defending champion, German Tony Martin, 29.
Through the first checkpoint at 12 kilometers, Martin’s advantage was 4.14 seconds over Wiggins. Then, after 23 kilometers, Wiggins had overtaken his rival, sitting 2.64 seconds ahead of the German.
By the third checkpoint, at 35 kilometers, it was clear that Wiggins had taken control, clocking a 9.64-second advantage.
The last section included two climbs where Wiggins, who had said before the race he felt the course suited him more than Martin, was expected to have an advantage.
“I knew the difference would be made on that final loop,” said Wiggins “[On] those tough climbs I paced it perfectly, and I still had gas in the final. I heard I was 10 seconds up, but I wanted to keep pushing in the final.”
At the finish, Wiggins had beaten Martin by 26.23 seconds. Dumoulin claimed bronze, 40.64 seconds back.
“It’s been an up and down year,” the newly-crowned world champion said. “I want to dedicate this to my family. My wife and kids have been with me all summer and put up with me when I was home in July [after missing out on the Tour]. … It’s fantastic.”
He will go back to the track next year to aim for the team pursuit ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics, while another of his aims for 2015 is to beat the world hour mark set by German Jens Voigt.