Victor Campenaerts won the Ruta del Sol’s time trial today in Córdoba, Spain, with one second over Alejandro Valverde. Standings leader Alberto Contador placed third at six seconds.
It was his first time to race in the discipline this season and the first win since the Belgian time trial championships last summer.
"Everything today was good, my preparation was good and the race went perfectly for me,” he said. “We worked hard as a team and it is nice that it pays off with a victory.
"Several weeks ago, I felt in good shape. This was the first individual time trial and we made every effort possible to have a good one here. We've been to the wind tunnel and adapted my equipment as well as possible.
"The course was not in my favour, a little too much climbing, but I managed to use all of my power. I kept a high pace and I handled the curves perfectly.
"Even if I'm riding alone, this feels like a team victory. I could save some energy in the last few days and made sure that I arrived at the start line relatively fresh. When the moment neared I became nervous, but the team around me makes sure that I stay calm. Grischa Niermann coached me for the first time and I really liked that."
‘It looked good’
Grischa Niermann made his debut as sports director behind Victor Campenaerts. It went in the best possible ways.
"It was exciting, especially when we heard that Valverde going well at the halfway point,” Niermann added. “We were not sure it would turn out well. It is nice that it succeeded anyway.
"Technically it looked perfectly from the car. He approached the corners well and kept in a good position for a long time. In the descent, he went 80 kilometres per hour.
"We reconned the course a number of times this morning. That paid off during the race. Trainer Mathieu Heijboer told us that Campenaerts with this form would not be far from the victory and Campenaerts proved it."