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Campenaerts: The Giro d'Italia time trials are my next big goal

Lotto Soudal's Victor Campenaerts sets a new 5,000-metre track record of 5:51:00 at the t'Kuipke velodrome on the final night of the 2019 Gent Six Day
Lotto Soudal's Victor Campenaerts sets a new 5,000-metre track record of 5:51:00 at the t'Kuipke velodrome on the final night of the 2019 Gent Six Day (Image credit: Getty Images)

Victor Campenaerts has his sights set on all three of the individual time trials at next year's Giro d'Italia, ahead of hoped-for rides against the clock at both the Olympic Games and the World Championships.

Speaking during a Facebook Live event with Belgian website Sporza.be this week, Campenaerts said that he'd "like to win all three" of the Giro tests, and that he hoped they'd go some way to securing him the second of Belgium's two time-trial places for the Tokyo Olympics, with the first having already been claimed by European TT champion Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep).

"My next goal is the Tour of Italy. The three time trials at the Giro are tailor-made for me, and I'd like to win all three of them," Campenaerts said. "I've got a free pass from my new team to focus on them."

Campenaerts will be part of NTT Pro Cycling – the new name for Dimension Data – in 2020, having spent the past two seasons with Lotto Soudal, with whom he won his second titles at the European Championships and national championships time trials in 2018, and in 2019 took the Hour Record, recording 55.089km to eclipse Bradley Wiggins' 54.526km that the British rider set in 2015.

"Taking the Hour Record was a great start to the year," the 28-year-old Belgian said. "I also won the time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico. But, afterwards, I had a serious dip in form. My build-up to the World Championships [in Yorkshire, in the UK] was good, but unfortunately I crashed in the time trial. So it was a case of peaks and troughs, but that's all part of a sports career.

"I wanted to stay with Lotto Soudal, but there's more to the team than it being built around one time triallist," continued Campenaerts. "And next year they're going to be mainly built around their strong new signing Philippe Gilbert, which would mean that I was less of a priority. But I've now found a very nice new team, and there are no hard feelings at all."

Campenaerts said that he knows his chances of Olympic selection will depend a lot on his performances during the first half of the season, with the Belgian selectors having said that they'll name the rider for the second TT place in May, with the lucky rider likely to be chosen from Wout van Aert, Laurens De Plus (both Jumbo-Visma), Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) or Campenaerts.

The 2020 Giro begins on May 9 in Budapest, Hungary, with an 8.6km prologue time trial and finishes on May 31 in Milan with a 16.5km individual time trial. In between – on May 23 – comes a 33.7km test for stage 14, which adds up to just under 60km against the clock.

"If my Giro runs as planned, I will definitely stand a chance, but Wout van Aert will be my biggest rival for it," Campenaerts said.

While the time trials at the Giro are his next goal, Campenaerts hopes that Olympic selection and another tilt at the World TT title – in Switzerland – will mean he finishes next season on a high.

"What am I hoping for in 2020? An Olympic or world title, or maybe both," he said. "I certainly hope that by the end of my career I'll have either an Olympic or world title on my palmarès."