Kiwis off pace at world road cycling champs

Last updated 07:36 20/09/2012

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The New Zealanders were off the pace as Germany's Tony Martin defended his individual time-trial title at the world road cycling championships in the Netherlands this morning (NZT).

London Olympic track medallists Jesse Sergent and Sam Bewley were unable to feature on the road, Sergent finishing 23rd in the 57-strong elite men's field, three minutes and 25.89 seconds back from Martin, while Bewley was 31st, 3:59.21 adrift of the winner.

''TT was hard,'' Sergent posted on Twitter. ''If I'm honest, I'm disappointed with my result, but I gave it everything and there are positives and negatives to take away from today.''

Martin lived up to expectations when he edged out American Taylor Phinney to retain the title at the end of a demanding 45.7-km race. His time of 58:38.80 was 5s quicker than Phinney's.

The win capped a tough season for favourite Martin, who broke his wrist on the Tour de France and had to settle for silver in the Olympic time trial behind Bradley Wiggins.

Wiggins, who will start Sunday's road race, skipped the event after an exhausting year that saw him become the first British rider to win the Tour and then took Olympic gold in London.

Swiss Fabian Cancellara, the 2008 Olympic champion and four times time-trial world champion, also did not take part after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.

''There was a lot of pressure on me, the stress was pretty different to handle, everybody was looking at me,'' the German told reporters.

''I did not expect it to be so hard, I had to give everything, I was totally dead. The finale was the hardest ever in my career.''

Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus, who will join Team Sky on a three-year deal next season, claimed bronze a distant 1:45 off the pace.

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