Filippo Ganna broke the hearts of the Belgians at the World Road Championships in Flanders as he retained his individual time trial title by beating local favorite Wout van Aert on Sunday.
The Italian fell behind Van Aert during the two intermediate checks, but he managed his effort better on the 43.3 km panflat course for a time of 47min 47sec.
Van Aert finished 5.37 seconds behind fellow Belgian Remco Evenepoel, clinching the bronze medal 43.34 seconds off pace.
“Within a week my condition improved very well after a short high altitude camp,” Ganna said. “Today when I woke up I had a good feeling in my legs and my head did the rest.”
Evenepoel set the first benchmark time but Van Aert, who clinched silver in both the time trial and the road race at last year’s World Road Championships in Imola, Italy , was already 28 seconds ahead at the first intermediate control.
Ganna was six seconds behind Van Aert after 13.8 km with Swiss Stefan Küng 17 seconds off the pace.
Van Aert increased his advantage over Evenepoel to 31 seconds in the second intermediate but Ganna was less than a second in a biting final.
The momentum had rocked the Italian and Ganna hit the air in celebration after crossing the finish line.
Four-time world time trial champion Tony Martin of Germany, who announced he would retire after the championships, was sixth. Reuters