Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma) spends a lot of time in the hotseat of time trials before surrendering the lead to the eventual winner, but fortunes have turned for the 34-year-old Dutchman over the past several weeks, first with a win in the prologue at the ZLM Tour and now with his second Dutch time trial title.
Van Emden beat EF Education First's Sebastian Langeveld by eight seconds over the 40.8km course on Wednesday in Edes, donning the champions's jersey for the second time after he also won the title in 2010. Team Ineos' Dylan van Baarle, who recently won a stage at Criterium du Dauphine, was third at 27 seconds.
"I think this is one of the nicest jerseys there is," Van Emden said. "It almost became an obsession for me to win here again. If it wouldn’t have worked out, I would have found it a loss. I did not anticipate this victory, though. Yesterday, I did not feel too good due to the heat, so my confidence dropped.
"I am not satisfied with my time trial, but I kept fighting until the end, and that resulted in this jersey," Van Emden said. "I partly owe this victory to Mathieu Heijboer. He puts a lot of time and energy in me and this discipline and he knows how much I wanted to win. I trust him blindly."
Given the number of times throughout Van Emden's career that he's come close in time trials without getting the win, his victory Wednesday in Edes was especially emotional for the rider, staff and team.
"Jos often gets beaten by a small margin," said Heijboer, the team's head of performance. "The fact that we succeeded today is one of the highlights of the year. We have invested a lot of time in this discipline. We went to the wind tunnel and tested new material from our partners.
"As a result, Jos’s position was adjusted somewhat, and this resulted in a faster time trial," Heijboer said. "He is an essential link in the team, also for the victories of Primoz in the past six months. But in addition, the fire for time trialing continues to burn within him. It will never go away and we will continue to improve."
Heijboer will now turn his attention to Jumbo-Visma's other riders in the national championships, including Wout van Aert in Thursday's Belgian time trial. Van Aert's stock in the race was boosted considerably when he won the 26.1km individual time trial at Criterium du Dauphine.
"After the spring, we trained a lot on the time trial with Wout," Heijboer said. "This resulted in a great victory in the Dauphiné. Hopefully he can take the Belgian jersey tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow we also have a good chance with Tony Martin in Germany. One of the reasons that Tony came to ride for this team is that he brings a lot of knowledge about the time trial. In that respect, Jos’s title may also be due to him. Tony has given the time trial a new impulse in our team."