Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) had to settle for second place in the Giro d’Italia’s stage 16 time trial, but the former multiple world champion has taken huge heart from his performance, saying that it proves he’s back with the best in the discipline.
Martin, who has won the time trial world title four times, has been lacklustre against the clock of recent times. Of the 12 chronos he’s competed in since winning his last world title at the end of 2016, Martin has won just one, and that was the German national title. He expressed a little frustration at missing out on the win by 14 seconds to Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) but nevertheless received a confidence boost after getting so close.
"Of course you end up disappointed if you do not win, especially when you sit in the hot-seat for so long. But Rohan Dennis was one of the top favourites for me," Martin said in a team press release. "I can say I am happy with my performance. I was not good in other time trials in the past months. Now I'm back with the absolute best world class riders, and it’s especially important that I finished in front of Tom Dumoulin, the current world TT champion.
"This gives me confidence again. I can build on this result. Myself and the team will continue to work hard to be back among the leaders."
It was a good day for Katusha-Alpecin all-around, with Alex Dowsett also making it into the top 10, Jose Goncalves finishing in 12th and Mads Wurtz Schmidt in 14th.
Lopez extends lead in white jersey competition
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) may have finished some 2:47 off the winning pace in the stage 16 time trial but the Colombian extended his lead in the fight for the white jersey. Lopez slipped down the overall standings, but in the young riders classification he added 10 seconds to his advantage over his closest rival Richard Carapaz (Movistar).
With a podium challenge looking much less likely, though not impossible, the white jersey has become a much larger focus for Lopez. The time trial was always going to be a challenge and losing so much time to some of the other general classification riders was no real surprise. Although he was happy to have pushed out his lead to 30 seconds over Carapaz, he had hoped for a little bit more as the race heads towards its climax.
"Honestly, I did all I could today. I tried to do a good race and thought it would be enough to gain some more time on Carapaz and not to lose too much from other rivals," explained Lopez. "I lost a bit more than I expected, but I don’t see any tragedy in it. The final three hard mountain stages are coming and I have to attack there to move up in the overall. I am happy to stay in the white jersey and since now I am preparing for the decisive moments of this Giro d’Italia."
Campenaerts heads home
Victor Campenaerts became the second Lotto Fix All rider to leave the Giro d'Italia early, after Tim Wellens called it quits last week due to illness. The decision to pull out came after missing out on victory in the race’s second time trial on Tuesday.
"I am very disappointed with today's result. It is natural to feel that way if you start the time trial with high expectations. I never received negative signals this week and I certainly don't want to hide behind excuses. Two days ago, I could produce more power during 40 minutes than I did today. Being a time trialist, that's just something you don't expect," Campenaerts said on the team website.
"The time trial will be my last stage in this Giro. After mutual agreement with the sports directors, we decided that I won't start on Wednesday. I will focus on new goals such as the Critérium du Dauphiné. The French stage race starts with a prologue, and later on there is a team time trial."
Campenaerts, the European time trial champion, had focused heavily on the Giro d'Italia time trials in the opening part of the season. He even chose to ride the Tour de Romandie mountain time trial on his standard TT bike in order to get more time on it. He came close in the Jerusalem prologue, losing just two seconds to stage winner Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb). Since then, Campenaerts has been conserving his energy and reportedly riding his time trial bike daily in order to prepare for Tuesday's test.
However, the day didn't go as expected and he lost more than a minute to Rohan Dennis on the 34.2-kilometre course. Campenaerts will now head back to Belgium to rest up for a few days before beginning his preparations for his next goals.
The final week of the Giro d'Italia is underway, with Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) winning the key time trial, while Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) limited his losses to Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) sufficiently enough to hold onto his pink jersey. The race will continue with a transition stage before the general classification riders resume their battle in the high mountains.
Cyclingnews will be following the race behind the scenes for the final week in our latest Cyclingnews Films production, CRESCENDO. Featuring exclusive interviews with those in the midst of the action, it will capture the raw emotions and daily drama of Grand Tour racing. You can pre-order the film now to make sure that you have it as soon as it is released. You can also still watch our first production, THE HOLY WEEK on vimeo.