Having won the first WorldTour time trial of his career at the BinckBank Tour on stage 2, Stefan Kung is eying off the overall victory. BMC's Swiss national champion covered the 9km course four seconds faster than Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe) to move into the leader's green and black jersey.
Kung, 23, was second in the opening day Tour de France time trial and continued his recent form against the clock into the Voorburg stage for his second win of the 2017 season.
"It was a tricky time trial. It's a city parcours, so there were lots of corners, lots of signs and painting on the road and with the rain, it made it a big challenge," said Kung. "I think I was able to push all the way through, but with all the roundabouts it was hard to know exactly when to push. On a time trial like this, you are always on the line of how much risk you want to take because you want to go as fast as possible, but you don't want to go down, and I think I managed to do that well today."
Despite fourth place overall at the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde his best overall result to date and that he was 79th at last year's race, Kung is aiming to finish the race on the top step. He will take a four second lead over Bodnar into stage 3 with a handful of potential rivals within 30 seconds of his time.
"The goal is to take this jersey all the way to finish. It is going to be hard as there are some difficult stages, a lot of difficult stages actually with the race heading to the Ardennes and then the finish in Geraardsbergen," he added. "But I am coming out of the Tour de France, and I am in good shape so, we will fight until the end."
In 2016, BMC lead the race at the start of the final day with Rohan Dennis only for the Australian to crash out with Greg van Avermaet the best-placed rider for the team in fourth place. The Olympic champion is also well placed on the GC for the team in 27th place at 28 seconds to his teammate.
Having opted to finish at the rear of the peloton to ensure an early start time knowing the weather conditions, sports director Valerio Piva explained he was pleased the plan paid off.
"We took the decision yesterday to finish behind because we knew that at the beginning of the time trial there was maybe going to be less rain," Piva said. "It was wet for everybody and the time trial specialists and the favorites for today started together at the beginning. Stefan Küng was very strong, and he was able to keep the lead until the end. I am really happy both for him and for the team. We made the right choice yesterday."
Going into the remainder of the race, BMC have two cards to play in Kung and Van Avermaet and has five riders ensconced in the top five overall. Including the in-form Jempy Drucker who offers the team another avenue to stage wins.
"Stefan is now in the leader's jersey, and we will work hard to try and defend his overall lead. We are still at the beginning of the race, and the difficult stages will come in the next few days," said Piva. "Tomorrow is usually a stage for the sprinters, but with the weather and the risk of wind, it will be important to have the team together, but now we have the leader's jersey so everybody is motivated to do the job for Stefan. Plus we also have Greg Van Avermaet, who lost a little time after being blocked by another car today, and he is still in a good place as we look ahead to the rest of the week."