New Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) says that he's been left disappointed by his time-trial performances at the Tour de Romandie, despite having finished second to overall race winner Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) on the final test around Geneva on Sunday.
Campenaerts hoped to take his good form from setting a new best distance for the Hour Record in mid-April into the opening time trial stage of the Swiss stage race last Tuesday, but crashed on the Neuchâtel course, leaving him to limp home in last place.
Campenaerts rode consistently over the following five days, finishing the race 83rd overall, but had gone into the final stage hoping that he might be able to make amends and win over the 16.85km course. It wasn't to be, and the 27-year-old had no choice but to settle for second place on the day, 13 seconds off Roglič's winning time.
"I rode the best possible time trial," the Belgian said on his team's website. "The first part included some climbing and was really tough, but I'm very good at riding uphill on my time trial bike. However, there was still someone who does that even better, and that's Primož Roglič. The team prepared everything to perfection, so it's a pity I couldn't reward them with the victory.
"Throughout the week, I'd already noticed that Roglič was riding on another level, so I knew it would be difficult to beat him. Of course, I'm very disappointed. The prologue, in which I crashed, was a wasted opportunity. I've thought about it a lot. I took too many risks and it backfired on me," he said.
Campenaerts now heads to the Giro d'Italia as part of a Lotto Soudal squad that also includes Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan and breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt. There are three individual time trials at this year's Corsa Rosa, and Campenaerts has an eye on all of them, although they're all far from flat.
"In the run-up to the Giro, Romandie has taught me that I can easily survive uphill, but also that it'll be really hard to beat Roglič in the time trials," Campenaerts said. "He always needs to give his all given the good general-classification placing he'll be pursuing, so he'll be a really tough opponent, but of course I'll go for victory in all three time trials.
"Hopefully, I'll be able to take the win in one of them. If I could choose, I'd prefer to win the first time trial, but that will also be the hardest one to win," Campenaerts said of the Giro's opening stage in Bologna on Saturday, which is held over 8.2km and features a tough 2km climb up to the finish, where the race's first pink jersey will be awarded to whoever can win the stage.