Richmond - Germany's Tony Martin seeks his fourth title in five seasons to match Swiss star Fabian Cancellara's all-time record in Wednesday's men's individual time trial at the World Road Cycling Championships.
Martin has been on the podium in each of the past six years, finishing third behind winner Cancellara in 2009 and 2010, taking the title himself from 2011-13 and placing second last year behind Britain's Bradley Wiggins, who is now retired from road racing.
"Anything less than gold would be a disappointment," Martin said. "I feel good. The shape is because I am well prepared."
The 30-year-old from Cottbus briefly wore the yellow jersey in this year's Tour de France but crashed out on a climb late in stage six and suffered a fractured left clavicle.
Martin returned last month and won the Tour de Poitou-Charentes in France, and he now says he is pain-free after surgery.
"I have no problems at all. The shoulder does not stress," Martin said. "The goal is to try again for the title."
Martin called the 53km (32.9 miles) men's course "harmonious" with his racing style, the layout featuring a 300-meter climb before a left turn onto the closing straight.
In Sunday's team time trial, Martin's Etixx Quick Step squad finished second to the BMC Racing line-up featuring Australian Rohan Dennis, who beat Martin in the stage one time trial at this year's Tour de France.
"It's not so nice for the morale for Wednesday," Martin said. "But it was a condition check and that was fine so I'm optimistic for Wednesday. I'm looking forward now."
Dennis took a boost from the team victory but knows it's a very different ride from the solo event.
"It gave myself especially a lot of confidence for Wednesday. That's the next big goal," the Aussie said.
Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, third last year, also figures to be in the hunt for the rainbow jersey once again.
Dennis accepts an underdog role but warns he is ready to challenge Martin.
"He's the favorite. He has been top two for the past four years. I'm not getting ahead of myself," Dennis said. "My goal is be in there. It's always hard. I've got good form."
Another favored German is Lisa Brennauer, the defending women's individual time trial world champion who bids for a repeat crown Tuesday over a 30km (18.6 miles) layout, the longest women's time trial course in 20 years.
Brennauer helped Velocio SRAM win the women's team time trial for the fourth year in a row, but quickly turned her attention to defending her solo crown.
"It's important to switch on as soon as possible and be ready," Brennauer said. "I expect a tough and close race. My opponents are very strong. It's going to be a tough battle for the medals."
Among her top rivals will be host-nation favorite Evelyn Stevens, who was third last year.
"I felt great on the bike. I've been strong. I feel good," Stevens said.
Dutch star Ellen van Dijk, the 2013 winner, and American Kristin Armstrong, the 2006 and 2009 champion back at age 42 after retiring to start a family, could also challenge.