Cancellara beats the clock at Worlds; Zirbel just misses podium

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Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara streaked to victory at the UCI World Road Championships on Thursday to regain his individual time trial title.

The 28-year-old previously won the title in 2006 and 2007, but this time he did it among home-country crowds in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

Tom Zirbel created some early excitement among US cycling fans as the Clear Lake, Iowa, native lead the ITT bike race going into the final group of favorites. Zirbel, who rides for Bissell pro cycling during the season, ended up finishing just off the podium in fourth place.


The UCI World Road Championships will continue Saturday with road races for the under-23 men and elite women. The elite men's road race is Sunday.

The individual time trial was streamed live at Thursday morning without commentary. Frequent updates on the screen helped keep track of the relative times of the cyclists. Check the Universal cycling website for its upcoming bike race schedule this weekend.

Early leader

The 3-lap individual time trial route covered 31 miles and included one steep climb. Until cyclists from the favorites group began crossing the line, Zirbel held first place by 15 seconds over Mario Pinotti.

But once Cancellara sped down the ramp there was no doubt he would win, barring a crash. He beat his nearest rival, Gustav Larsson of Sweden, by a convincing 1 minute and 27 seconds.

His winning time was 57:54.

A cyclist on the Saxo Bank team, Cancellara's time trialing abilities have helped him control this year's Grand Tours for days at a time. He won Stage 1 of the Tour de France and protected the yellow jersey for six stages. At the Vuelta a Espana, Cancellara won the 1st and 7th stages, both time trials, and held the leader's jersey from stage 1 through 4 and stage 7.

Top 5 finishers

1. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
2. Gustav Larsson (Sweden) — 1:27 behind
3. Tony Martin (Germany) — 2:30
4. Tom Zirbel (United States) — 2:47
5. Marco Pinotti (Italy) — 3:02

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