Filippo Ganna won the men's time trial at a home World Championships ©Getty Images

Filippo Ganna stormed to victory in the men’s individual time trial at International Cycling Union Road World Championships in Imola.

The Italian rider was seen as the pre-race favourite to triumph at the Imola race track.

Ganna was the penultimate athlete to start the competition, with fellow Ineos Grenadiers’ rider Geraint Thomas setting the mark for the favourites to beat.

Thomas completed the 31.7-kilometre course in a time of 36min 31.42sec to lead the competition with only a handful of riders left to compete.

His mark looked under pressure as Ganna and defending champion Rohan Dennis of Australia came through the first time check ahead of the British star.

Belgium’s Wout van Aert was first to dislodge Thomas from the top spot by shaving 10 seconds off his time.

Van Aert, who won two stages at the Tour de France earlier this month, finished three seconds faster than Switzerland’s Stefan Küng.

The Belgian’s effort was eclipsed by Ganna as the Italian came through to win the event in a time of 35:54.

Ganna ended 27 seconds clear of Van Aert, with Küng rounding off the podium places.

Thomas missed out on a medal in fourth but will take confidence in his performance ahead of the delayed Giro d’Italia.

Ganna’s triumph also ended Dennis’ two-year reign as the world champion, with the Australian ultimately finishing in fifth place.

Victory made Ganna only the second male cyclist after Chris Boardman to win the event in the same year as earning the individual pursuit world title on the track.

The time trial was also held over the same distance as the women’s event for the first time.

The Netherlands’ Anna van der Breggen won the women’s title yesterday, after defending champion Chloé Dygert crashed out.

Dygert sustained a laceration to her left leg as a result of the crash.

USA Cycling said Dygert underwent surgery in Bologna and is expected to make a full recovery.

"We are relieved that this crash was not worse than what it could have been," said Jim Miller, USA Cycling’s chief of sport performance.

"While this crash is distressing, Chloe is young and a fighter.

"With Chloe’s determination, we know she will be back riding before we know it.

"For now, we want her to focus on healing."

Kristin Armstrong, Dygert’s personal coach, added: "Chloe is a gifted athlete.

"She’s had accidents in the past and returned stronger than ever.

"I have no doubt that this will be the case again."