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Posted: Wednesday September 19, 2012 11:06AM ; Updated: Wednesday September 19, 2012 4:03PM

Tony Martin defends title in time trial at road cycling worlds

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Peter Dejong
Tony Martin barely edged U.S. cyclist Taylor Phinney in the time trial.
Peter Dejong/AP

VALKENBURG, Netherlands (AP) -- Tony Martin defended his time trial world title Wednesday at the Road Cycling World Championships, edging American rider Taylor Phinney into second place.

Martin completed the winding, hilly 28.4-mile course in 58 minutes, 38.76 seconds at an average speed of just under 30 mph. Phinney finished 5.37 seconds behind and Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus was third.

Phinney was agonizingly close to a medal at the London Olympics, but finished fourth in both the time trial and road race.

"This is a season with a lot of near misses. If you had told me this morning I would win the silver medal, I would've been excited," Phinney said. "Tony is a great champion, but I got so close. Then again, this medal gives me a lot of motivation to get through winter."

Bradley Wiggins, the Tour de France champion who won gold in the London Olympic time trial, did not compete in Wednesday's race.

Martin, who fell and broke his wrist on the first stage of the Tour de France, went on to win the Olympic silver medal.

"Taylor was more amazing because everyone knew that I am strong, but not so many people knew about Taylor," Martin said.

Phinney looked like catch him on the tough closing climb up the Cauberg, but Martin had just enough energy left to hold on for his second straight world champion's rainbow jersey.

"Even the last 200 meters were so long because we had a full headwind at the top of the Cauberg," Martin said. "It was really, really hard."

Alberto Contador, who won the Spanish Vuelta after completing a doping suspension, was considered a contender but didn't pose a threat. He rode cautiously on a course slicked by rain in some places. The Spaniard started two minutes before Martin, but the German powered past him around the 18-mile mark.

Contador said he had a hard time finishing the race after being reeled in by Martin.

"Psychologically, it is hard to continue when someone overtakes you. But I knew he was going to be very strong here," Contador said.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
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