IMOLA, Italy (Reuters) - Pre-race favourite Filippo Ganna won his maiden individual time trial world title on home soil as the Italian crushed his rivals over 32 kilometres on Friday.
The 24-year-old, a four-times individual pursuit world champion on the track, clocked 35 minutes 54.10 seconds to beat Belgian Wout van Aert by 26.72 seconds.
Swiss Stefan Kung took third place, 29.80 seconds off the pace as Australian Rohan Dennis, who had won the two previous titles, ended up a disappointing fifth.
“It’s a dream for me, I had great support from the team car, I want to thank the whole Italian team,” said Ganna, who had geared up for the event by winning the individual time trial on the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race earlier this month.
“I had no pressure. I was coming for a podium finish having won four rainbow jerseys on the track already.”
Ganna is the first Italian to win the individual time trial at the road world championships.
Briton Geraint Thomas, who is gearing up for next month’s Giro d’Italia finished an encouraging fourth after making a fast start.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, the 2017 champion, endured a bad day at the office, narrowly avoiding a crash in the finale and finishing 10th, more than one minute off the pace.
The road world championships continue on Saturday with the women’s race.
Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis
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