Victor Campenaerts wins in Seraing!
After a full day on the attack!
Lotto Soudal played a main role in the closing Giro d’Italia time trial today. Victor Campenaerts – reigning European champion against the clock – and Thomas De Gendt finished second and third, respectively. The American Chad Haga took the victory in Verona, he was four seconds faster than Campenaerts. The Ecuadorian rider Richard Carapaz secured the overall victory today and wins his first Grand Tour.
Early in the afternoon, Victor Campenaerts covered the seventeen kilometres long hilly course in a time of twenty-two minutes and eleven seconds. That way, the Lotto Soudal rider could take place in the so-called hot seat but only moments later, Campenaerts had to give that place to Chad Haga, who improved his time with four seconds. A superb ride from Thomas De Gendt saw him finish in a time of 22’13”, delivering the 32-year-old Belgian a third spot on the stage.
Victor Campenaerts: “Of course, I am disappointed with second place. Team-wise, we did everything to obtain a good result. Performance manager Kevin De Weert made a thorough analysis of the course and that certainly payed off today with a second and third place. It is a nice team result but I would have preferred to win and an additional twentieth place, for example. It is particularly disappointing because I lost the time trial during the descent, where the shape is not important but taking risks is. But that is of course also a part of cycling. If you lose for example twenty seconds on a climb, it is easier to admit that the other rider was stronger. It is thus frustrating but Chad Haga only rode six seconds slower before the descent started, so he also was really impressive today. The past few stages, I noticed he was saving energy and preparing for this time trial.”
“I carried out the plan to perfection but during the descent, it is about cornering as fast as possible. Of course, I received the perfect information from the team car but the audacity is also an important factor. The many track training sessions in Mexico did not really play into my advantage today. But I prefer to finish runner-up in the closing Giro time trail and breaking the Hour Record to winning and not breaking the record. It is of course difficult to focus on multiple goals but just like in San Marino, I was again close to victory today. Finishing the Giro with two time trial victories would have been nice but the shape is certainly promising towards the Baloise Belgium Tour.”
The final Tour of Norway stage - between Gran en Hønefoss – would decide the overall victory today. Carl Fredrik Hagen was part of the breakaway but he was caught on the final climb, where first Bjorg Lambrecht and later Tim Wellens attacked. Together with Hirschi, Wellens opened up a small gap but eventually, the stage ended in a bunch sprint. Norwegian rider Halvorsen was the fastest, his compatriot Kristoff took the overall win. After an offensive six days of racing from Lotto Soudal in Norway, Sander Armée and Carl Fredrik Hagen finished ninth and tenth in the general classification.