Bradley Wiggins of Britain held off reigning three-time world time trial champion in today's Elite Men's time trial to win the Rainbow Jersey in Ponferrada, Spain. Wiggins held the virtual lead throughout as the two top seeds, riding last on a dry, sunny day, duked it out for the honors. Wiggins' lead, if you can believe the virtual, GPS-based timings, had him anywhere from five to 20 seconds ahead, and the final margin of victory was 26 seconds. Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands confirmed his rise in the discipline with a third place, edging perennial contender Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus by seven seconds for the final podium spot.
Wiggins' success gives him full honors against the watch, adding to his national ITT titles and Olympic gold medal in the discipline. And those are just the ones he currently holds. You could add Tour de France stage wins, at least as valuable as the rainbow jersey, particularly when combined with overall victory; track world championships; and what the hell, knighthood to his palmares, and it all adds up to one impressive career that's still got plenty of life to it.
Afterward Martin claimed to be tired, not just from the race but from his preparation, which suggests that riding the Vuelta a Espana and competing in the Team Time Trial competition Sunday was excessive. He hadn't lost a meaningful crono to Wiggins since the 2012 Olympics, but Wiggins tends to focus less on the crono than Martin does, and with his full attention dedicated to winning the rainbow jersey today, just as it was the Olympic crown in London, Wiggins was up to the task.
Dumoulin and Kiryienka staged a nip-and-tuck battle for third, with the Belarussian the presumed favorite after two consecutive bronze medals, while the 23-year-old Dutchman was competing at the elite level for the first time. His progress was striking, given that Dumoulin was 10th in the U23 time trial in 2012, but that's been the name of the game all season at his trade team of Giant-Shimano. Dumoulin will finish the season ranked in the top 20 worldwide.
- Bradley Wiggins (GBr) 56:25.52
- Tony Martin (Ger) +26.23
- Tom Dumoulin (Ned) +40.64
- Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) +47.92
- Rohan Dennis (Aus) +57.74
- Adriano Malori (Ita) +1:11.62
- Nelson Oliveira (Po) +1:21.63
- Anton Vorobyev (Rus) +1:29.66
- Jan Barta (Cze) +1:43.41
- Jonathan Castroviejo (Esp) +1:44.20