The second stage of the Tour de France was a flat, fast 27.6-kilometer team time trial in Brussels. Jumbo-Vismo took a second stage win in as many days, stopping the clock at 28’57. The time was 28-seconds faster than the time EF Education First Pro Cycling delivered. Our 29’25 proved good for sixth place.
Team Ineos spent the duration of the stage in the hot seat until Jumbo-Vismo, the final team to race, knocked them from the provisional top spot. In the end, only eight seconds separated second (Ineos) from sixth (us).
As road captain Simon Clarke said: “The gaps were close. If you take Jumbo-Vismo out of the equation, there are five teams in the space of eight seconds. That is going to be a negligible time difference when we get to Paris. We’ve ticked that box in getting through unscathed. It was a great effort by the whole team and the result showed that.”
We approached the team time trial as one of our biggest objectives during the opening week of the Tour de France. While the Tour would not be won in Brussels on Sunday, it could be lost with a poor showing.
Rigoberto Uran, Tejay van Garderen and Mike Woods all finished on team time. We lost no more than eight second to any pre-race favorite and put time into others. Box ticked.
Comments from the team
Sport director Charly Wegelius said:
“The ride was the right mix of rationality and passion. It looked fast. It looked like we had done our homework.”
Road captain Simon Clarke says:
“The time stops on the fourth rider, so when you have eight guys, there’s no benefit to going to the finish with more than four. If any four can sacrifice themselves in the closing kilometers by pulling a longer turn, emptying the tank, knowing they don’t have to get back on, then you can really squeeze the maximum out of the team in the last final kilometers. You would have seen not only myself but Langeveld and Scully drop of in the last couple kilometers because we committed to delivering the team, knowing that the other four, five guys were going to take it to the line for us.”
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