Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) continued his run of success, winning the 8.1km time trial stage at the BinckBank Tour, exactly two weeks after his second stage victory at the Tour de France.
The Dane used his aggression and power to blast around the technical course and stopped the clock in a time of 9:59. He was the only rider to go under ten minutes. European time trial champion Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) was unable to better Kragh Andersen on the technical course, finishing with 10:05 Stefan Bissegger (EF Pro Cycling) was third in a time of 10:06.
Mad Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) finished fourth in a time of 10:08 and so extended his lead on his overall rivals. He will start Saturday’s final stage in the Flemish hills with a lead of seven seconds on Kragh Andersen, 13 seconds on Kung and 14 seconds on Bissegger.
“I’m really happy with my TT victory, it’s my second of the season. It was a dream of mine to win a TT and so now I have two,” Kragh Andersen said, recalling his time trial at Paris-Nice in March.
“I was stronger than I expected. I was feeling really good on the bike, so I’m just super proud and happy with the result.“It will be hard to win the GC. Pedersen looks really strong but I will definitely give it a shot. I’m here with the ambition of going for the wins so i’ll do my best. But to win today is really nice.”
How it unfolded
The time trial stage around the Belgian town of Riemst replaced a road race stage from Riemst to Sittard in the Netherlands after new COVID-19 restrictions stopped all racing in the country.
The 8.1km course started with the Slingerberg climb, locally considered as the Limburg version of Alpe d’Huez. It was followed by long straight roads through fields on narrow country roads before crossing a canal for the blast to the finish line. Cornering speed and the skills to judge the risks would make a huge difference.
The riders started in reverse order of the general classification, with Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) setting the early fastest time of 10:45. He was soon dethroned from the hot seat by Tobias Ludvigsson (Groupama-FDJ) but then Jannik Steimle (Deceuninck-Quick Step) stopped the clock in 10:18 and then fellow German Jasha Sutterlin (Team Sunweb) beat him by two seconds to set a new benchmark of 10:16.
Kragh Andersen finished soon after and raised the bar significantly in 9:59.
New European champion Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) was expected to challenge for victory but lacked the aggression and nerve on the corners after starting too fast. He stopped the clock in 10:05.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) also failed to go close to Kragh Andersen’s time, setting a time of 10:12.
Mad Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) was the last rider off as race leader. He took risks, even going off the concrete road onto the dirt on a corner, but was always a few seconds down on Kragh Andersen and set a time of 10:08.
However that was enough to keep him in the green leader’s jersey and give him a shot at overall victory in Saturday’s 188km Flemish stage to Gerardsbergen that includes the Kapelmuur and the Bosberg climbs.
The nine seconds awarded at the late Golden Kilometre sprints and then the climb to the finish in Geraardsbergen and the time bonuses on the line will make for a thrilling finish.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb||0:09:59|
|2||Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||0:00:06|
|3||Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Pro Cycling||0:00:07|
|4||Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo||0:00:08|
|5||Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:00:12|
|6||Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team Sunweb||0:00:16|
|7||Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-Quickstep||0:00:18|
|8||Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep||0:00:20|
|9||Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling||0:00:21|
|10||Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis|
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo||6:35:31|
|2||Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb||0:00:07|
|3||Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||0:00:13|
|4||Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Pro Cycling||0:00:14|
|5||Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix||0:00:17|
|6||Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates||0:00:19|
|7||Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep||0:00:24|
|8||Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) NTT Pro Cycling||0:00:28|
|9||Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:00:30|
|10||Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep||0:00:31|