Quick-Step Floors take fourth at the World TTT Championships
Our squad came just outside the podium after the toughest race in the event's history.
Two hard climbs, twisting descents, a cobblestone stretch and treacherous corners made up the 42.5km-long course of this year's team time trial race at the World Championships, where Quick-Step Floors lined out a squad comprising Jack Bauer, Philippe Gilbert, Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert, Niki Terpstra and Julien Vermote.
Our team – defending champion and the only outfit to have won the gold medals on three occasions – was the last one to leave the start house on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed a remarkable ride until the first split, were we set a time of 11:37, just one second off the leader's. Unfortunately, Niki was dropped early and this impacted on the team's result, who at the bottom of the last climb had only four riders left, after also Jack lost contact.
Fourth at the last checkpoint, Quick-Step Floors managed until the finish in Bergen to reduce the deficit on the third-placed team, but it was not enough to jump onto the podium and conclude the race in the top-3 for the sixth consecutive year. Clocked in 48:25, Gilbert, Jungels, Lampaert and Vermote finished behind new world champion Team Sunweb, BMC and Team Sky.
"We were hoping to be on the podium today, but that's life and we have to accept this result. 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", said Philippe Gilbert, who'll now look to next Sunday's road race.
Tom Steels – who followed the team from the car – shared his view on the Bergen parcours and Quick-Step Floors' result: "The approach to the race was good, the guys knew the roads by heart and did what they had to do. We were motivated and strong, setting the pace we needed, but when you lose a rider early it's difficult to bounce back by the time you reach the finish. We would have loved to be on the podium, but that's life. Next year we'll return and fight again for a top result."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele