As Rohan Dennis (BMC) was celebrating winning the opening time trial at the Tour de France, his time trial rivals and the overall contenders could only try to console themselves and find the good points of their performances.
Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep), second at 00:05
“I came here to win. Second place is still a good result but it is not the result I came here for. It’s a big disappointment,” the former world time trial champion told Eurosport.
“I didn’t imagine that the heat would play such a big role but at half distance I was cooking. I couldn’t do my usual power, so I knew I the second half that I wouldn’t take the victory because I knew that Rohan Dennis had done a good second half. It’s a big disappointment.
“He (Dennis) was always on my mind. Everyone was talking about Dumoulin but I always had Dennis on my mind. For 40km there are a lot of guys who can do a good job if they have a good day but Rohan is for sure one of these guys.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), 22nd at 00:43
"It was a hard time trial because 14 kilometres isn’t a real time trial like we’ve done in the past but not a prologue either. An effort like that is sort of half-way between the two. It was quite an explosive time trial and you could feel the effects of that effort in the end. Of the GC guys, the only one who did better than me was Thibaut Pinot, who put in a wonderful time trial. But we knew he was in good condition.
“I didn’t know what to say straight after the finish but now that I’ve seen the times I can say that I’m happy with my performance. But the Tour is still long, so we’ll go on with our feet firmly on the ground.”
Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing), 14th at 00:37
“It was amazing out there with the crowds,” he said of the huge partisan Dutch crowds who cheered during his ride.
“My teammates told me it was really hard on the second part with the headwind, so I started carefully and then gave it everything in the last six kilometres. I felt good and I think I did a good time.
“This is just the start of the Tour de France, even if there are gaps of 10 or 20 seconds. It’s good to do a good time trial but I think we’ll see some big differences later in the race.”
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), 12th at 00:33
“I went full out but didn’t feel good at all really. I tried to get on pace and start strong but knew it wasn’t in the legs for whatever reason. From five kilometres to go, it was just a massive grind and felt like I was dying all the time. I was counting down the kilometres but it wasn’t nice,” Thomas told ITV4.
Alex Dowsett (Movistar), 13th at 00:36
“I got wrapped up in how exciting the whole thing was and cooked myself early on, so I faded badly at the end,” Dowsett told ITV4.
“I was looking down at my power metre because I knew Dennis had 55.5km/h and I knew the out leg was the easier leg. I wanted to save myself on the out leg and aim for a faster time. But when I looked down I was over 500 watts and I knew that I couldn’t hold it, holding 56km/h is really hard.
“I’m disappointed but not overly surprised. This was a little short for me and too flat. I need more corners or climbs to catch a rest on the descents. I struggle on power courses compared to the big guys.”