BERGEN, Norway – Dutchman Tom Dumoulin took a stunning victory in the men’s time-trial at the world championships in Bergen on Wednesday.
Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic finished second, almost a minute back, with Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Froome of Britain third.
Four-time world champion Tony Martin could finish only ninth as the punishing final 3.4km climb to the finish of the 31km course penalised the powerful German.
Having finished third behind Bradley Wiggins and Martin in 2014 and second to Fabian Cancellara at last year’s Rio Olympics, this was a first major global time-trial title for Dumoulin, whose Sunweb outfit claimed team time-trial gold on Sunday.
“I can’t believe it, wow! It’s really amazing, it’s such a good day,” said Dumoulin.
“I thought the power meter was off because it was so high! I felt really, really good. It started raining and I had to take the corners really slowly, especially in the climb.
“The back wheel was slipping because I had a TT (time-trial) bike because I thought it would be dry.”
The 26-year-old is enjoying the best year of his career, having also won May’s Giro d’Italia, his first Grand Tour success.
The finishing climb to the course in Bergen meant the race favoured good climbers, and Dumoulin was expected to face stiff competition from Froome and Rohan Dennis of Australia.
Dennis was second behind Dumoulin at the second and third time-checks, but a crash on the slippery, wet course cost him a significant amount of time and he had dropped to 21st by the fourth check.
He recovered to finish eighth, but some 1min 37.39sec behind Dumoulin.
Froome, who 10 days ago completed a Tour-Vuelta double, seemed a little off the pace at the beginning.
Whereas the roads had been dry half-an-hour earlier, he was amongst the final group that had to contend with rain.
The four-time Tour champion worked his way up from 19th at the first time check to seventh by the fifth and final one ahead of the climb.
From there he gobbled up time on all those ahead of him, except Dumoulin.
But the biggest surprise came from former champion ski-jumper Roglic, who was ninth at the final time-check, but produced the fastest climb of anyone – and half a minute quicker than Froome – to surge up to second.
That left Portugal’s Nelson Oliveira, who had been sitting in the provisional leader’s chair for more than an hour, down to fourth, just seven seconds off a medal.