Canadian Svein Tuft earned a silver medal in the men's time trial at the road cycling world championship on Thursday in Italy.

Germany's Bert Grabsch won the gold while David Zabriskie of the United States took the bronze.

In perfect sunny conditions in the hills around Lake Varese, Grabsch finished the 43.70-kilometre time trial in 52 minutes 1.60 seconds. Tuft was 42.79 seconds behind while Zabriskie was 52.27 seconds off the lead.

Tuft, of Langley, B.C., led the first half of the race but was already behind Grabsch when he picked up a flat tire with six kilometres to go. Tuft still managed to finish almost 10 seconds ahead of Zabriskie.

Tuft, 31, has enjoyed a solid season in 2008. He won his second career national pursuit title last month. He was a triple gold medallist on the track at the Pan Am Championships and finished seventh in the time trial road race at the Beijing Games.

Stefan Schumacher, the German time-trial specialist who won both races against the clock during the Tour de France, skipped Thursday's event. He decided to focus his efforts on Sunday's road race.

Pre-race favourite Levi Leipheimer was never in the mix for the medals and finished a disappointing fourth. Double world champion Fabian Cancellara did not compete after winning Olympic gold in Beijing.

Grabsch, 33, finished fourth in the time trial last year and had a disappointing Olympics where he took only 14th place. Amber Neben of the United States won the women's time trial on Wednesday.