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Jurgen Van Den Broeck was ecstatic over the weekend with his impressive sixth-place performance in Sunday’s 25.8km race against the clock, where he finished within 29 seconds of TT gurus Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin.
The Belgian GC rider has been working hard on improving his time trialing ability because he knows that if he hopes to even reach the Tour de France podium, much less win, he needs to bolster his TT credentials. Van Den Broeck’s strong ride Sunday revealed that the hard work is paying off. “I am amazed,” he told Sporza. “This is my best time trial in years.”
In an earlier interview with VeloNews.com, Van Den Broeck said working on his time trial skills was the center of his off-season preparation. A solid climber who can stay close to the specialists and even attack against his GC rivals, Van Den Broeck has struggled to hold his own in time trialing.
“I know I must improve or I know I will never win the Tour,” Van Den Broeck told VeloNews.com. “We are working hard to improve my position as well as the material. Even small changes can make a difference. And then it’s just a question of riding more time on the TT bike.”
The Lotto-Belisol captain said he’s trained more than ever on the time trial bike during the off-season, dedicating several hours a week to honing the time trial position and working on his core strength to be able to withstand the grueling, hour-long races against the clock.
Van Den Broeck also said that he’s working with one of Lance Armstrong’s former mechanics, Chris Van Roosbroeck. He says he’s picked up details that are already paying off.
“He has given me a lot of tips,” Van Den Broeck says of Van Roosbroeck. “I have the mechanic of Armstrong, and this is already giving me legs. It’s pleasing that the work I have done in the winter is already paying off. I felt another level of power in my legs.”
With nearly 100km of time trials on tap in the 2012 Tour, Van Den Broeck knows that he will need all the help he can get if he hopes to have any chance of reaching the podium in Paris.