World Time Trial Champions – A Retrospective.

As Bradley Wiggins ended Tony Martin’s three year winning streak as World Time Trial Champion, its time to have a look back at the title and how its winners have progressed. As anyone who’s had the guts to read this blog knows, honouring the rainbow jersey with appropriate colour coordination of various clothing and components is vital to the users success (well, in my view). So join us on a magic mystery tour through jersey’s, skinsuits, rainbow bands and ever changing bikes and regulations…

1994 – Catania
1st: Chris Boardman (GBR)

2nd: Andrea Chiurato (ITA)
3rd: Jan Ullrich (GER)

The time trial had been in the World Championships since 1962, but it had been the team time trial, which was to be vanquished in 1995 only to return in 2012, although from ’62 to ’94 it was a National team event, with Italy the last winners. By 1994 though, it was time for the individuals to take the stage. Chris Boardman took the win for Britain, riding as he was for GAN at the time, to capture the first World Time Trial rainbow jersey. Unfortunately, try as I might, I cant find any images of him on the podium. He did at least wear the jersey however…

11141_7C0000064f0_7Ccf7a_Chris_Boardman_1995_Criterium_Int_Watson…and these were the days where bike design was not limited, hence Boardman’s futuristic Lotus, and where helmets where essentially just glorified fairings which offered little to no crash protection. 1994 was arguably the pinnacle of Boardman’s career however – he was already Olympic champion, he had taken the Tour de France prologue and yellow jersey, as well as the prologue and two stages of the Dauphine to boot. Throw in the World Individual pursuit champion and Boardman had quite the raft of TT titles, although not quite the range the next man would have…

1995 – Paipa and Tunja
1st – Miguel Indurain (ESP)
2nd – Abraham Olano (ESP)
3rd – Uwe Peschel (GER)

Abraham Olano became the closest man to achieving the Worlds/Road race double (he won the road race), but it was ‘Big Mig’ who torched the course as usual to win the Worlds. In doing so, he underscored his 5th successive Tour triumph, making him the first man to win 5 in a row (and according to the revisionists, the only man). Indurain was 56 seconds ahead of Olano, and seemed in a position to go and take a 6th Tour win. As we all know, he didn’t, because a certain Dane who the revisionists are seemingly fine to keep in the records beat him. Perhaps this is because Indurain never seems to have worn the rainbow jersey – again, its practically impossible to find pictures of him in it.

indurainThis picture of him on the track with the rainbow bands on his sleeve is the closest I can find, again with his Horus-esque helmet and the infamous Pinarello Espada. Perhaps his collapse in 1996 was due to his heinous lack of wearing rainbows…It should be pointed out that Indurain also took Olympic Gold for the TT the next year mind.

1996 – Lugano
1st – Alex Zulle (SUI)
2nd – Chris Boardman (GBR)
3rd – Tony Rominger (SUI)

In the pinnacle of his career, winning two Vueltas, and before he became forever known for coming second to Lance Armstrong in the 1999 Tour, Swiss Alex Zulle won himself the Worlds at home in Switzerland. However, uet again pictorial evidence avoids me, certainly of him wearing the rainbow jersey. Zulle was riding for ONCE in 1997, and his Worlds jersey seems to simply be the normal jersey with a token extra large rainbow band added.


Oh well. Things can only get better. Unless you’re Zulle. He went and joined Festina in 1998. Oops.

1997 – San Sebastian
1st – Laurent Jalabert (FRA)
2nd – Serhiy Honchar (UKR)
3rd – Chris Boardman (GBR)

As Chris Boardman became the first man to collect a medal of every colour, Laurent Jalabert’s odd transformations between climber, sprinter, GC rider and TT rider fell on the latter this year in what was quite the anuus mirabilis for the Frenchman, who also won Paris-Nice, Fleche Wallone, The Tour of Lombardy and Milan-Turin. ljss

And guess what? I cant find any pictures of him in the rainbow jersey. This isn’t going very well, is it?

1998 – Valkenburg
1st – Abraham Olano (ESP)
2nd – Melcior Mauri (ESP)
3rd – Serhiy Honchar (UKR)
Olano became the  first and so far only man to win both road titles with this triumph in the Netherlands, besting his compatriot and Honchar again to wrap up the title. And best of all…

He did actually bother wearing the jersey! Even the helmet had some rainbow bands on as well. Having won the Vuelta the same year, Olano’s career peaked, and that was pretty much it to be honest.

1999 – Verona
1st – Jan Ullrich (GER)
2nd – Michael Anderson (SWE)
3rd- Chris Boardman (GBR)

The Kaiser came back from an injury hit season that had prevented him entering the Tour to win the Worlds and lay down a marker, in the same year he had won the Vuelta. Ullrich did of course honour the jersey:

Jan Ullrich 2000 Vuelta a España

Ullrich was still using only a jersey, with the bike and rest of the kits untouched by rainbow striped, which was a shame, but the Kaiser was such a powerhouse that he made the rippling rainbow bands look pretty good regardless. The next year, Ullrich would win the Sydney Olympics Road Race and come second in the TT behind Ekimov.

2000 – Plouay
1st – Serhiy Honchar (UKR)
2nd – Michael Rich (GER)
3rd – Laszlo Bodrogi (HUN)

Honchar is better known as the guy who won both the time trials at the 2006 Tour de France, the same one where various rumours swirled about what his T-Mobile team where up to before hand. Still, celebrating the millennium, Honchar improved on his 2nd and 3rd places in previous years to complete the set in France. Honchar also began the slow blending of jersey and shorts…


Indeed, in this image, he looks like he’s begun the whole ‘white out regime’, but we’re going tobe picky and point out that there are still panels on the sides of the shorts, and in a terrible breach of world championship etiquette, he has had the sides of the rainbow bands obliterated by another advertising panel for Liquigas. Shocking. They’re meant to be unbroken bands!

Still, at least he looked the part. And what’s this? Flecks of rainbow in his helmet and on his bike? Outstanding.

2001 – Lisbon
1st – Jan Ullrich (GER)2nd – David Millar (GBR)
3rd – Santiago Botero (COL)

Quite the rogues gallery as Jan Ullrich became the first man to take the jersey a second time, ahead of the sprightly youngsters of Millar and Botero. Ullrich had been second in the Tour that year, so didn’t really need the consolation of a world title, but took the race anyway. Unfortunately, Ullrich only rode the Tour of Qatar in 2002, as injury and amphetamine problems saw him suspended for 6 months and out of the game. As far as I can work out, the result was that Der Kaiser never wore the rainbow jersey that year.

mttThus, it seems this is the last day Ullrich wore the worlds jersey.

2002 – Zolder
1st – Santiago Botero (COL)
2nd – Michael Rich (GER)
3rd – Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (ESP)

Colombians had never really been known for time trialling, so it was a shock when Botero, the previous years bronze medalist, managed to get himself on the top step of the podium in Belgium. This was after all the man who had been King of the Mountains at the 2000 Tour de France, and a climber who can time trial is a rare breed. Botero was rewarded for his ride with a move from Kelme to T-Mobile, who were perhaps keen to make up some publicity for the jersey after Ullrich hadn’t ridden in it the previous year.


They certainly got some decent shots, helped by the Tour de France centenary in 2003, where Botero rode in essentially the same thing Ullrich had a few years previously. Botero managed 9th in the prologue, and 10th in the first TT, although he didn’t make it to the second.

2003 – Hamilton
1st – Michael Rogers (AUS)
2nd – Uwe Peschel (GER)
3rd – Michael Rich (GER)

The Worlds TT had been going for 10 years now, so for it to be properly considered cycling, it needed to have a drugs scandal. Luckily, one came up in the form of David Millar, who won the event before being caught with drugs in his apartment etc. He then admitted doping, although somewhere along the line the story got smudged into an idea that he’d just randomly confessed to it all. Having won by 1 minute 25 seconds, second and third were separated by just 0.5 seconds, with the margin tipping towards the Aussie Michael Rogers, who won the first of his three world titles.


This means we actually got two Worlds kits – although Millar didn’t get much opportunity to wear his bar this publicity shot for the soon to go down in flames Cofidis set up.michael_rogers_2004_grand_prix_des_nations

Rogers on the other hand came up with a decent kit, with rainbow stripes on the helmet and even a full white skinsuit, aside from the panels around the back and sides for the sponsors. Still no special bike of boot covers though.

2004 Verona
1st – Michael Rogers (AUS)
2nd – Michael Rich (GER)
3rd – Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ)

A wider margin of victory for the Aussie this time, who was still enjoying his time on the Quick-Step team. A cerain young Kazakh crept onto the podium as well…

worlds_tt_podiumLook at that peroxide blonde hair.

Michael-Rogers-World-Champion-2004By 2004, Rogers had a more up to date TT bike, but still only had a skinsuit to show for his efforts. Still, it’s hard to make a Time look bad.

prologue_rogers_2Rogers did actually use an all white and rainbow decalled kit for the Paris Nice prologue though, so we can’t give him too much of a hard time.

2005 Madrid
1st – Michael Rogers (AUS)
2nd – Ivan Gutierrez (SPA)
3rd – Fabian Cancellara (SUI)

Rogers completed his triumvirate of titles in Madrid, making his Quick Step team very happy given Tom Boonen had also won the road race. Unfortunately for them, Cofidis style publicity photos weren’t possible due to Rogers move to T-Mobile. Gutierrez still rides for Movistar, the incarnations of which he has been riding for since 2002, whilst we shall see how Cancellara improved through the years.

3_tt_rogers_gutierrez_cancellaraMeanwhile, Rogers kept up his fairly low key TT kit, with only the skinsuit betraying his TT credentials.

toc06_03_0012006 Salzburg
1st – Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
2nd – David Zabriske (USA)
3rd – Alexander Vinokourov (KAZ)

An interesting podium, as Cancellara took the first of four titles – Zabriske had all his results until July 2006 voided, but retains, due to USADA’s infinite wisdom, this silver medal as well as his National TT title from the same year. Vinokourov was happy to have ridden, haven been not allowed to start the Tour due to Liberty Seguros not having enough riders to start after a few were picked off by Operacion Puerto. He had just won the Vuelta though, but all kudos went to Cancellara, who began to lay down his marker as the dominant force in Time trialling to go with his Paris Roubaix victory earlier in the year.

David+Zabriskie+Fabian+Cancellara+UCI+Road+wEoa99U3i6LlCancellara exhibited his winnings in some style, blasting around the London course at the Tour and ravaging the rest of the field by a considerable 13 second margin.


The bike hadn’t been decked out, but Cancellara had the helmet, and was slowly about to further celebrate his success…

2007 Stuttgart
1st – Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
2nd – Laszlo Bodrogi (HUN)
3rd – Stef Clement (NED)

With a controversial road race still to come, Cancellara simply won easily to take a second title. Bodrogi appeared on the podium again six years after he last had, with Dutchman Clement taking the final podium spot.

UCI Road World Championships 2007 - Day 2Even better, Cancellara went whole hog with rainbows:
corvos_cancellara_time_trialThat’s more like it. Rainbow overshoes, helmet, frame…the rear disk and wheels where still to be exploited, but hey, you can’t have it all. The neat little Swiss flag on the seat post was also a nice touch.

2008 Varese
1st – Bert Grabsch (GER)
2nd – Svein Tuft (CAN)
3rd – David Zabriske (USA)

In 2008, Cancellara decided to skip the worlds, having had a bittersweet spring (winning San Remo, having a rubbish Flanders, and a podium at Roubaix) followed by a Tour de France where he would eventually inherit a stage win after Stefan Schumacher’s disqualification. The stress and joy of hauling Carlos Sastre to Tour victory plus his triumph at the Beijing Olympics in the TT meant that Cancellara was only to be World and Olympic champion for a month or so, and the void was there to be filled. It was the huge gear churning Bert Grabsch who churned his way to victory, a year after taking a stage of the Vuelta.


HTC probably didnt originally make Grabsch a TT bike because they thought his thunderous cadence would destroy it, so he had to  make do with a helmet and overshoes. Novely, he was on one of the “High Road Tech Dev” bikes that would subsequently become subject to a bit of wrangling between the team and Giant, who had sponsored the team the previous year.

2009_dauphine_libere_stage4_time_trial_bert_grabsch_winsHowever, by the Vuelta and the Worlds, Scott had made him a Worlds/German (he was national champion) themed bike:

2009 Mendrisio
1st – Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
2nd – Gustav Larsson (SWE)
3rd – Tony Martin (GER)

In 2009, Cancellara, as well as Beijing Silver Medalist Larsson (Bronze Medalist Leipheimer had mysteriously lost TT form), were back for another shoot out at the title. Cancellara won, predictably enough, ensuring that he would be World and Olympic champion.

cancellara_larsson_martin_podium_1By this time, Cancellara and SaxoBank were on Specialised rather than Cervelo, and the American company had yet to start messing around with paint pots quite so much as it does these days. As a result, Cancellara had to make do with a black Shiv, which got plenty of publicity thanks to its UCI-wrath-enducing headcone, albeit decked out with a golden chainring as homage to his Olympic champion status.

Tour de France 2010The helmet was the piece de resistance, referencing his status as the World and Olympic champion of the race of truth. His saddle also referenced his victory, not that we saw that much.


2010 Melbourne
1st – Fabian Cancellara (SUI)
2nd – David Millar (GBR)
3rd – Tony Martin (GER)

Cancellara took his final title so far, and 4th in total, on a different continent for once, as the riders enjoyed Melbourne. All three riders on the podium had medalled before, and it was a veritable past and present of success given young Tony Martin’s second Bronze of his career. Millar took second, but was still in awe of Cancellara, who took the record for the number of titles and extended his rainbow reign for another year.

2010_uci_time_trial_championships_millar_cancellara_martin_podium1Having moved onto Trek for 2011 as part of the mass defection from SaxoBank to Leopard Trek, Cancellara didn’t get a special bike, and the only real change he had all year was from a Bell/Giro helmet to the Bontrager one he should have been wearing all along given the team sponsorship. However, his all white skin suits had served him well, and made fans keen to seem him nab the World Road title that had been his aim for so long.

2011_tour_de_suisse_stage1_fabian_cancellara_leopard_trek_victory1 Fabian+Cancellara+Le+Tour+de+France+2011+Stage+BhVojGBWOcml

2011 Copenhagen
1st – Tony Martin (GER)
2nd – Bradley Wiggins (GBR)
3rd – Fabian Cancellara (SUI)

The Cancellara reign came to an end in 2011 as Tony Martin, already the winner in the Tour de France TT, took the win, whilst a late near crash on a corner from Cancellara pushed him behind Wiggins, who took his first medal in the event, by a mere five seconds thanks to the Brits fast finish. Both were over a minute behind the German however.

04-elite-tt-RTR2RMJDMartin did start with a white helmet, but changed at the Tour in 2012 to one of Specialized new McLaren aided TT helmets, although he was bested both times by Wiggins, albeit after suffering a broken wrist that arguably compromised his Olympic preparation. Martin couldnt quite manage the World and Olympic double, with the latter title going to Wiggins, but the infamous Panzerwagon legend had been born. de France 2012 (1)[6]

2012 Valkenburg
1st – Tony Martin (GER)
2nd – Taylor Phinney (USA)
3rd – Vasil Kiryienka (BEL)

Martin took a second title, but despite catching a passing the ultimately 9th placed Alberto Contador, his margin of victory was a mere 5 seconds over Taylor Phinney. Vasil Kiryienka was another 90 seconds behind Phinney, but the Panzerwagon had defended his title on the hilly Valkenburg course.

Tony_Martin_Taylor_Phinney_Vasil_Kiryienka_podium_world_championships_0Martin actually got some rainbow stripes on his bike this time, although you’ll be hard pressed to spot them (on the downtube). White shorts had become the defacto by now however, and Martin began using Bioracers ribbed sleeve skinsuits.


2013 Firenze
1st – Tony Martin (GER)
2nd – Bradley Wiggins (GBR)
3rd – Fabian Cancellara (SUI)

The same podium as 2011, Martin was a ‘mere’ 46 seconds ahead of both this time, and Wiggins and Cancellara played out the same tight fought finale as two years previously, with Wiggins getting second by a mere 2 seconds this time around. By the next year, this podium would have a total of eight titles between them. It also features what may be Cancellara’s final performance in the event, as he now aknowledges that he only wants the road championship.

martin-wiggo-cance_toscana13-cronoMartin had Specialised produce a special Bull design for his machine, as well as finally making use of that disk wheel space. Add in rainbow gloves and helmet and it was an excellent reward for his three years of successive titles, the second man to achieve the feat after Rogers.


2014 Ponferrada
1st – Bradley Wiggins (GBR)
2nd – Tony Martin (GER)
3rd – Tom Dumoulin (NED)

With Cancellara focusing on the road, the gate was open for a podium spot, or even to gatecrash the whole event. It was twice silver medalist Wiggins who took 2o seconds out of a admittedly tired Martin, ending the Germans dream of four consecutive titles and gaining Britain its second TT title in 20 years. Wiggins also became the World and Olympic champion at the discipline.

World Road Championships - Mens TTWiggins’ GB national champ kits have been quite good, as has his bikes, although his Olympic title was relgated to a little marker on his sleeve. Whether he turns out with anything decent for his worlds kit (or even rides a road TT, given he says he doesnt like the road any more) remains to be seen…


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