PARIS (AFP) — Giro d’Italia champion Tom Dumoulin led Team Sunweb to victory in the world team time trial in Bergen on Sunday ahead of Rohan Dennis’s BMC Racing and Chris Froome’s Team Sky over the 42.5km course featuring a tricky late climb.
Four-time Tour de France winner and recent Vuelta a Espana champion, Froome, and his five teammates had been leading at the halfway point, but fell 22 seconds adrift after Geraint Thomas and Owain Doull got into trouble on the climb.
“It’s the team event of the year, and we pulled it off,” said Dutchman Dumoulin, a solid time trialist who will go head-to-head with Froome in the individual time trial championship event. “We tried to keep together especially on the long climb, and that just about worked out. But we made it over, and we were all flying.” Thomas and Doull had kept up the fastest pace until the late climb where BMC Racing ended within eight seconds of Sunweb. Froome and Dumoulin, both good climbers and good time trialists, are expected to slug out the individual time trial over the same route on Wednesday.
BMC Racing Team looked to be making a late charge, but it was not to be and had to settle for the silver medal, eight seconds back. “As we always do, we came here to win gold,” said Dennis. The Australian took long pulls in the final kiolmeters to try to bring his team to victory.
“It is sometimes a little disappointing to get silver, but we’re still the second-best in the world here in Norway. Team Sunweb’s result is surprising, but it also isn’t. They have been competitive in everything this year and they had a great team here today.”
The defending world champions in the event, Quick-Step, could only manage fourth on the day and missed the medal by 13 seconds. The team started quickly and was on pace with the leading teams at the first checkpoint, but faded after the tough climb. “We were hoping to be on the podium today, but that’s life and we have to accept this result,” Philippe Gilbert said.
“We can’t say that we’ve made any mistakes, maybe the fact we lost one rider early into the race cost us and we paid for that. With the course going up and down all the time and being very technical, it was difficult to recover from that point on. It’s a disappointment, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
The men’s victory made it a golden day for Team Sunweb, after the women’s team won earlier in the day.
1. Team Sunweb (GER), in 47:50.
2. BMC Racing Team (USA), at +00:08.
3. Team Sky (GBR), at +00:22.
4. Quick-Step Floors (BEL), at +00:35.
5. Orica-Scott (AUS) +01:03.
6. Team Movistar (ESP) +01:19.
7. LottoNL-Jumbo (NED), at +01:19.
8. CCC Sprandi Polkowice (POL), at +01:44.
9. Katusha-Alpecin (SUI), at +01:45.
10. BORA-hansgohe (GER), at +01:55.
11. Astana Pro Team (KAZ), at +02:15.
12. Trek-Segafredo (USA), at +02:49.
13. Team Joker Icopal (NOR), at +03:08.
14. Sangemini-MG.Kvis (ITA), at +05:02.
15. Uno-X Hydrogen Development Team (NOR), at +05:10.
16. Team FixIT.no (NOR), at +05:21.
17. Team Sparebanken Sør (NOR), at +05:30.