Tony Martin powered Omega Pharma-Quick Step to their second consecutive title in the team time trial as the UCI Road World Championships began on Sunday.
Omega edged Orica GreenEDGE by a minuscule 0.81 seconds over the 57km route from Montecatini Terme to Florence, Italy, clocking 1 hour, 4 minutes and 16.81 seconds.
Team Sky, featuring this year’s Tour de France winner Chris Froome, but without last year’s Tour champion Bradley Wiggins, finished third, 22.55 seconds behind.
For Omega, the victory was a measure of revenge for a one-second loss to Orica in a team time trial at this year’s Tour.
“We know how it feels like to lose at the very last minute,” Omega team director Tom Steels said.
Germany’s Martin, who has won the individual time trial at the worlds for the past two years, led a team that included Sylvain Chavanel of France, Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland, Niki Terpstra of the Netherlands, Kristof Vandewalle of Belgium and Peter Velits of Slovakia.
Omega trailed Orica at one checkpoint.
“Hearing that Orica overtook us worked like a wake-up call,” Martin said.
BMC Racing Team, with US standouts Taylor Phinney and Tejay van Garderen, finished fourth, while RadioShack-Leopard Trek, with Switzerland star Fabian Cancellara, came in fifth.
There was also a successful title defense in the women’s event, with Team Specialized-lululemon from the US winning again.
Lisa Brennauer and Trixi Worack of Germany; Katie Colclough of Britain; Carmen Small and Evelyn Stevens of the US; and Eleonora van Dijk of the Netherlands clocked 51 minutes, 10.69 seconds along the 43km route from Pistoia to Florence.
Dutch team Rabobank-Liv/giant, featuring Olympic and two-time road world champion Marianne Vos, finished a distant second at 1 minute, 11.09 seconds behind, while Orica-AIS of Australia were third, 1:33.83 back.
The championships conclude on Sunday next week.