Germany's Tony Martin took gold for the third year in a row at the Road World Championships time-trial victory in Florence on Wednesday.
Britain's Bradley Wiggins was unable to end a troubled year with victory he coveted, the Olympic champion having to settle for second place over the 58-kilometre course.
Martin finished 46.09 seconds ahead of Wiggins, who stormed home over the closing stages to overhaul the four-times world champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland for the silver medal.
Ireland's Nicolas Roche finished 13th, three minutes and 13.35 seconds down on Martin.
It was not quite the result Wiggins had desired as he aimed to finish his season on a high after abandoning May's Giro d'Italia through illness and missing the defence of his Tour de France title through injury as Chris Froome won.
The 33-year-old had claimed that he was in better form than when he claimed the Olympic title in London last year, with his preparation including a time-trial success en route to winning the Tour of Britain last week.
But while Wiggins will likely be content with the manner in which he paced himself over the extended course, he was left in the wake of another dominant Martin time-trial performance.