Maciej Bodnar and the Bora-Hansgrohe team had been waiting for a second stage victory at this year's Tour de France for a long time. Ever since stage 3 winner Peter Sagan was disqualified for dangerous sprinting on stage 4 and Rafal Majka crashed out in the Pyrenees, the German team had been lucking for revenge and redemption. Bodnar delivered in the Marseille time trial by beating fellow Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski by a single second and his Team Sky teammate Chris Froome by six seconds.
Time trial experts Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Stefan Küng (BMC) were also beaten, making Bodnar's success the surprise of stage 20. It was sweet revenge for his team leader's absence and for missing out in 2016, when he joined Sagan, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas in a late echelon attack but was unable to fight for victory.
"This is first time I've won and yeah, this is something special for me," Bodnar said, shaking with emotion when he realised that Chris Froome would not beat his time of 28:15 for the testing 22.5km course in Marseille.
"I've waited a long time for this moment, for my first stage victory at the Tour de France. When I was a child, my dream was to race in the Tour de France, and now I've taken a stage! It is a fantastic moment. I have to thank my girlfriend who always stood by me, my mother and, of course my father, who unfortunately passed away and wasn't able to watch this great moment.
"After the stage I rode last year but lost, I thought it'd be nice to do something, it's nice to win. I woke up feeling really good this morning and felt I'd do a good ride. After the opening three or four kilometres I felt super good and thought I'd maybe not win but top five or ten for sure. It's amazing to win the Tour de France time trial."
After starting his ride early, Bodnar moved Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac) out of the hot seat and then spent three hours deep under the new soccer stadium, waiting, watching and suffering as his rivals failed to beat him.
"It was nice atmosphere, with the people cheering the riders as they started and finished. I think other time trial should start like this. It was very cool," he said.
"It wasn't great for me because I was waiting for three hours in the hot seat. It was really stressful watching strong riders like Tony Martin and Michal Kwiatkowski ride. Kwiat is my friend, beating him by one second maybe due to luck but I couldn't enjoy it. I then had to wait for Froome to come in."
Bodnar is Peter Sagan's close friend, domestique and teammate. Losing him so early in the Tour de France somewhat derailed his race.
"We missed Peter and also Rafa and there were only six of us left in the team for the last 10 days," he explained.
"It's not easy because I've been with Peter for the last seven years, I've always worked for him. He was motivated to fight for a sixth green jersey. It wasn't easy for us as a team but we still tried every day, we tried to keep our morale high. For sure will be back with Peter next year. We have shown we're a strong team."
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1