While the wet weather in the BinckBank Tour stage 2 time trial hampered Peter Sagan, Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Maciej Bodnar enjoyed a dry early run to finish second. The Pole won the penultimate day Tour de France test against the clock last moth but over the 9km course was unable to match the time of Stefan Kung (BMC).
Sagan's 18th place saw him drop from first to eighth but his overall aspirations remains despite the weather hindering his effort.
"I think I had a good result under such tough weather conditions. It is never easy to race when the conditions aren't the same for everybody but, of course, there is nothing we can do, it's part of a time trial," said Sagan who will be back on his rainbow stripes for stage 3. "Overall, I'm satisfied with what I achieved today and, especially, that I didn't crash under the heavy rain. It's a real pity Bodi didn't take the win today, he was strong and got so close."
For 32-year-old Bodnar, the result was his second close call in a week after narrowly losing the European time trial championships to Victor Campenaerts of Belgium. Bodnar explained that he could not blame the weather, noting the technical course ultimately wasn't suited to his strengths and couldn't find the four seconds needed to better Kung.
"Despite its short length, today's time-trial course was very technical, with many twists and turns. I was lucky that I got off the ramp before the heavy rain started pouring but still, the road wasn't completely dry," Bodnar said. "The strongest TT riders and specialists started a few minutes later and were also able to take advantage of the same conditions, which meant that the weather didn't turn into an advantage for me. Taking second place, just 4 seconds off the winner, is a pity but despite that, I'm satisfied with my performance and my result. I'm much stronger in less technical time-trials, with fewer curves and stop-and-goes but my result today showed that my accelerations were very strong."
Bora-Hansgrohe's sports director Enrico Poitschke added that it was disappointing to have come so close to the win but is pleased the team can still play its GC card with Sagan over the remaining stages.
"Weather conditions were really dangerous. We focused today on Bodi, we had a look on the course with him and also watched the weather since yesterday. He did a great race today, he made no mistakes and we can be satisfied with his result," Poitschke said. "Everybody else did their job today. Because of the tough weather, we didn't want to risk anything so, everyone should just finish safely. We even wanted Peter to ride carefully because the road was really slippery and wet. He finished safely in 18th. Everything is still possible in the GC and we will give our best in the upcoming stages."
Stage 3of the BinckBank Tour takes the peloton from Blankenberge to Ardooie over 185 kilometres. Cyclingnews will live coverage of the stage so join us to see if Sagan can claim his 99th professional victory.