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Swiss rider takes time trial world title

(Keystone)

Fabian Cancellara has won the elite men's time trial title at the world road race championships in Salzburg, Austria.

The victory - the first for a Swiss rider in ten years - comes a day after his compatriot Karin Thürig took silver in the women's event.

The 25-year old Cancellara set a time of one hour and 11 seconds for the tough 50.8km course, comfortably beating his rivals. He is only the second Swiss rider after Alex Zülle in 1996 to win the trophy.

Dave Zabriskie of the United States came second with a time of 1:30 and Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan was third, coming in at 1:50. The 2005 champion Michael Rogers of Australia finished eighth.

For most of the race, Cancellara kept in the perfect tuck position, hardly moving his upper body while his legs kept pumping. Experts say the title proved his all-around abilities. He won the gruelling Paris-Roubaix race this spring and victory at the world championship in Salzburg is his eighth this season.

"It is such a good year for me," Cancellara said. "Ending the season with a win is amazing." The Swiss rider was the 1999 under-23 time trial world champion and had also won the prologue at the 2004 Tour de France, underlining his time trial abilities.

After a blistering start on Thursday, he was 18 seconds ahead of Zabriskie at the first checkpoint at 12 kilometres.

Just over halfway, Cancellara powered past Jose Ivan Palacios of Spain, who had left two minutes ahead of him. At the second checkpoint with 15 kilometres to go, he had built a lead of almost a minute over Zabriskie and with only the downhill into Salzburg to come, he had a lock on the title.

At that time, defending champion Rogers was 1:37 behind, his hopes for a fourth title already shattered.

The second Swiss, Michael Schär, finished 45th.

Forth medal

In the women's competition on Wednesday, defending Swiss champion Karin Thürig won a silver medal behind Kristin Armstrong of the US, but ahead of Christine Thorburn.

"It wasn't my day," said Thürig who clinched four championship medals in the past four years. In 2002 she took bronze and went on to win gold in the two following years.

This year's championships end with the men's and women's road races over the weekend.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Cancellara was born in Bern in 1981, and became a professional road bicycle racer in 2001.
His career highlights include the under-23 championship individual time trial in 1999, and the Paris-Roubaix race in 2006.
He also won the prologue at the 2004 Tour de France and clinched four titles at Switzerland's national time trial championships since 2002.
Cancellara joined Team CSC earlier this year after the Fassa Bortolo team was discontinued last winter.

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