Diary Victor Campenaerts part 4
Countdown till departure
Lotto Soudal rider Victor Campenaerts was determined to prolong his European time trial title. The Belgian national time trial champion kept things interesting till the very last moment, and eventually proved to be the fastest European for the second time in a row.
With a time of 53’38”78 on a course of 45.7 kilometres, Campenaerts kept the Spaniard Castroviejo from winning with just 63 hundredths of a second. The defending European champion clocked a tenth best time at the first checkpoint, which was 19 seconds slower than compatriot and fastest man at the first intermediate time split, Yves Lampaert. Campenaerts accelerated and left - despite the heavy rainfall in the final kilometres - all of the other competitors behind him.
Victor Campenaerts: “I’m really happy that I managed to prolong this title! We could tell from the times at the intermediate checkpoints, that it would be a close call. I’ve never won a time trial with big time differences, but 63 hundredths of a second is the smallest difference I’ve ever had.”
Eventually, my strategy turned out to be the right one.
“I went full gas whenever possible, but our team coach always reminded me to be careful in taking corners. I couldn’t afford to fall, since the chance of winning was real. In the final kilometres, rain began pouring down and I had to find the right balance in taking risks and staying upright. The heavy rainfall wasn’t in my favour, but my biggest rival, Castroviejo, also had to ride a part of the race in the rain. This way, we were competing on equal terms. I also did at least six times a recon of the course and knew it by heart.”
“I was a few seconds behind at the intermediate time splits, but I always start a time trialrelatively slow. My strategy is to be the fastest at the finish line, not at the checkpoints. I tried to maintain speed and produce power consistently. Many riders start their race at a much higher pace and then slow down towards the end. Eventually, my strategy turned out to be the right one.”
“Next week, I’ll ride the Binck Bank Tour, in which I aim for a good general classification. I’m hoping to ride a good time trial there as well, but for now, I’m going to enjoy this European victory!”