Ponferrada - Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins ended Tony Martin's three-year reign by winning the world time trial title in Ponferrada, Spain on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old Briton, the Tour de France champion in 2012, had twice finished second to Martin in 2011 and 2013, but he finally landed his first world title.
Wiggins said this title went some way to making up for missing out on riding the Tour in July, when he was overlooked as a potential supporting team-mate for then champion Chris Froome.
"I mean, I don't know what to say really. I knew coming into it that I had the legs," Wiggins told reporters at the finish line.
"I realised once I saw the course that if I was ever going to beat Tony then it would be on a course like this.
"It's been an up and down year. I didn't ride the Tour. I want to dedicate this to my family because they've been there for me all summer and they had to put up with me when I was at home during July. It's my last world time trial championship and I've finished with a gold medal."
The victory added to Wiggins's overall success at the Tour of California in May and stage win in the race against the clock at the Tour of Britain earlier this month.
Dutch time-trial champion Tom Dumoulin put in a strong finish over the 47.1km course to take the bronze medal and deny Vasil Kiryienka of Belarus.
German Martin had been in imperious form against the clock all season, winning time-trials at both the Tour and Vuelta a Espana.
He had also reigned supreme at the World Championships since 2011, although Wiggins beat him into second at the London Games in 2012.
The 29-year-old was fastest at the first time check after 12km but from there on, Wiggins just accelerated away.
He was 2.64sec ahead of the German at 23km and had stretched his lead to more than 9sec at 35km.
The last section included two climbs where Wiggins, who had said before the race he felt the course suited him more than Martin, was expected to have an advantage.
And so it proved as Martin rolled over the line 26sec down with Dumoulin, who had not been among the leading five names at any of the three time checks, a further 14sec back.
For Martin it was the sixth year in a row in which he took a world medal, following bronze gongs in 2009 and 2010.
He was 4sec up on Wiggins at the first time check with six-time French time-trial champion Sylvain Chavanel third, less than a second behind the Briton.
But he quickly fell off the pace and was almost 2min 30sec down at the finish.
Australian Rohan Dennis appeared to be challenging the top two and was third, 7sec off Wiggins, at the second time check.
But he started to fade and finished fifth. Kiryienka was 4sec up on Dennis at the third time check but crucially 27sec behind his Sky team-mate.
It was clear at that point that the gold medal would be contested by the Olympic and world champions and this time, Wiggins prevailed.
With victories in races such as the Criterium du Dauphine (twice), Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, all in 2012, last year's Tour of Britain and four Olympic gold medals - three from the track - Wiggins has won many of the most prestigious races in cycling.
He will go back to the track next year to aim for the team pursuit ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics, while another of his aims for 2015 is to beat the world hour mark set by German Jens Voigt last week.
Results from the fourth day
of the road cycling World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain on
Men's elite time trial - 47.1km
1. Bradley Wiggins
(GBR) 56min 25.52sec
2. Tony Martin (GER) at 26.23sec
3. Tom Dumoulin
4. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR) 47.92
5. Rohan Dennis (AUS)
6. Adriano Malori (ITA) 1:11.62
7. Nelson Oliveira (POR)
8. Anton Vorobyev (RUS) 1:29.66
9. Jan Barta (CZE) 1:43.41
10. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP) 1:44.20
11. Tiago Machado (POR)
12. Jesse Sergent (NZL) 1:57.02
13. Rasmus Quaade (DEN)
14. Artem Ovechkin (RUS) 2:18.27
15. Andrew Talansky (USA)
16. Maciej Bodnar (POL) 2:22.28
17. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA)
18. Silvan Dillier (SUI) 2:30.77
19. Tanel Kangert (EST)
20. Alex Dowsett (GBR) 2:35.10