Belgian team Omega Pharma-Quick-Step won the team time trial title at the world cycling road race championships on Sunday, becoming the first winners of the new event.
The team, led by German individual time trial champion Tony Martin, saw off US rivals BMC by 3 seconds over the 53.2km course.
Helping Martin to victory were Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel, Slovakia’s Peter Velits, Belgian pair Tom Boonen and Kristof Vandewalle, and Dutchman Niki Terpstra.
Third place went to Australian outfit Orica GreenEdge — silver medalists in the women’s race earlier — who finished 47 seconds off the pace.
“I put this victory near my biggest, along with the Classics and the road world championship,” Boonen said.
“I didn’t expect to win a race like this, first of all because it never existed before and in the past it wasn’t our discipline. We worked a lot and now we are there. It’s a team victory, even for the staff. It’s really a change of mentality going on,” he said.
Martin believes the win was the perfect tonic ahead of the individual time trial tomorrow.
“We fought together as a team,” Martin said. “We maintained a good pace. The team work was once again the key to the success. This victory gives me a lot of morale for Wednesday’s race.”
German team Specialized won the inaugural women’s team time trial.
The victorious team, led by 2008 world time trial champion Amber Neben of the US, completed the 34.2km course between Sittard/Geelen and Valkenburg in a time of 46 minutes, 31 seconds.
Specialized finished 24 seconds ahead of Orica GreenEdge, who boasted the top two finishers in last year’s individual time trial in the form of Germany’s Judith Arndt and Linda Villumsen of New Zealand.
Apart from Neben, 37, Specialized’s lineup also featured another American, Evelyn Stevens, Dutchwoman Ellen Van Dijk and German trio Charlotte Becker, Trixi Worrack and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg.
TOUR OF BRITAIN
British cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke became the first home rider in 19 years to win the Tour of Britain on Sunday.
The 27-year-old started the final stage 18 seconds ahead of Austrian Nathan Haas and 23 seconds in front of Italian Damiano Caruso, and Tiernan-Locke secured victory after finishing in the peloton behind compatriot and world champion Mark Cavendish, who took his third stage win in Guildford, south of London.
British duo Peter Williams and Kristian House won the sprint and king of the mountains jerseys respectively.
“It’s fantastic,” Tiernan-Locke told the BBC. “It has not really sunk in yet. It was a tough day, a lot tougher than we thought. So I feel relief more than anything.”
Cavendish, roared on by thousands of fans, added: “It was my last day in the [world champion’s] rainbow jersey and I wanted to finish it off in style.”
“It was absolutely incredible. The amount of people out on the road has been like the Olympic Games,” he said.
“I thought I’d been forgotten about and everyone was about sideburns now,” he added, in a reference to Team Sky colleague Bradley Wiggins, the Tour de France and Olympic champion.