Sir Bradley Wiggins settled for silver in a memorable battle between three of the quickest time triallers in cycling history at the World Championships in Florence - but insisted he was proud of his performance.
The Olympic champion finished 46 seconds behind Germany's Tony Martin - a reversal of the result at London 2012 - while Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara completed the podium.
Wiggins was looking to upgrade his silver from two years ago in Copenhagen but an inspired Martin proved too strong to claim the title for the third straight year.
Cancellara, who had previously won four titles in five years, finished the 57km course just two seconds slower than Wiggins.
"Tony was just a different level here, I thought it would be close but he was just too good," said Wiggins.
"It’s an honour to be on a podium with guys like Tony and Fabian, it’ll be something to show the kids when I’m older.
"I had no idea until I finished where I was, I didn't know it was so close between silver and bronze. When I came across the line there was nothing left, I just collapsed in the tent.
"I was being told the checkpoints but I couldn't hear anything in the last 20 minutes, I was just trying to get home and focus everything on the effort."
British team-mate and national champion Alex Dowsett, who won a time trial stage of this year's Giro d'Italia, finished a distant 41st after a difficult few days, which saw his medal bid hampered by an illness contracted before the recent Tour of Britain.
“I thought it was going ok, but once I got settled in the power was way down. I’m disappointed, it wasn’t me, I gave it everything but it wasn’t to be," he said.
“Maybe it was a bit too little too late with 12 days off the bike from being ill. I tried to stay positive but it wasn’t easy. I can't describe how disappointed I am because his is a course I thought would have suited me.”
© Sportsbeat 2013