Victor Campenaerts aims for time trial medal in Yorkshire
The battle for the world title against the clock for the men elite will take place this Wednesday.
Victor Campenaerts finished second today in the over 34 kilometres long hilly time trial between Riccione and San Marino. Despite a bike change at the very end, Campenaerts set – with an impressive time of 52’03” - an early mark. For a long time, no one was able to beat the time of the European champion against the clock. Only the Slovenian Primoz Roglič – who, just like the other general classification contenders needed to ride his time trial in soaking wet conditions – was faster than Campenaerts, he won with a time of 51’52”. A strong Thomas De Gendt finished eighteenth, Valerio Conti held on to the pink leader’s jersey.
Victor Campenaerts: “Beforehand, I said that this time trial did not suit me perfectly and that winning wasn’t possible but as a time trialist, you are obliged to optimally prepare for a test against the clock and to go full gas. During the second Giro time trial last year, I was constantly fighting myself but today I immediately felt that I had good legs.”
“The plan was to ride just below threshold until the climb and then ride above threshold; a strategy similar to the one I used during the world championships in Innsbruck. As a time trialist, it is very frustrating when you get a mechanical. Eventually, it was good that - like we had agreed - the mechanic opted for the road bike. We did agree beforehand - if I would have a mechanical on the climb - we would change to the road bike. The change did not go fluently and due to the adrenaline, I was a bit frustrated after the finish. Then, I thought that there would still be five to ten general classification riders who would improve my time, but one after another, they didn’t succeed.”
“I had mixed feelings then. If I would have won, the bike change would have been immediately forgotten. If not, I would be cursing. Unfortunately, it became the latter. Eventually, I lose the time trial with eleven seconds, so without that mechanical it would have been a victory. But those are the hard laws of the top-level sport and I have to live with that. I don’t blame anyone. The final time trial should suit me even better. I hope to survive the mountains without too many troubles and energy losses to battle for victory in Verona.”
The final stage win in the 4 Jours de Dunkerque was decided in a bunch sprint. The Dutchman Mike Teunissen - who started the final day as the leader - brought Jumbo-Visma a fifth stage win. Lotto Soudal rider Enzo Wouters sprinted to sixth place. Jens Keukeleire completed the top ten and secured his third place in the general classification.