De Plus moves to eighth overall in Tour of California
The Belgian rider continues to impress at the seven-day race, just his second outing of the season.
The 34.7km individual time trial around San Jose suburb Morgan Hill, the home of Quick-Step Floors sponsor Specialized, provided a serious reset of the overall standings despite having just a small climb on the route, with only a single mountain stage left on the menu between here and Sacramento, where the 13th edition of US race will conclude on Saturday.
Laurens De Plus, who is on a comeback trail which started in Eschborn-Frankfurt at the beginning of the month, was the highest finisher of Quick-Step Floors, after stopping the clock in 42:46. Riding a bike equipped with the new 321 Roval disc wheel, the 22-year-old rolled down the ramp late in the afternoon poised to make the most out of his first outing in over nine months in an individual time trial, and he didn't disappoint.
The result Laurens got on the Silicon Valley stage won by new race leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC) cemented his place in the general classification, where the talented Belgian is now eighth, after gaining two positions thanks to his solid and composed ride, which he produced despite not being a time trial specialist.
"Today was my first ITT since the World Championships in Bergen last autumn and I suffered, but managed to set a good pace, as I was really motivated to get a good result. Of course, after seven months without competition it wasn't easy, but being in the top 10 is a nice reward, above expectations I might say, and I will try to retain my place over the next couple of days", Laurens said at the end of stage 4.
The Tour of California will continue Thursday with a flat ride between Stockton and Elk Grove, where the sprinters are expected to fight for honors and the green jersey.
Photo credit: ©Christopher Graythen/ Getty Images