Team Sunweb scored a Worlds TTT double on Sunday, following up a victory in the women’s event with the victory in the men’s. Tom Dumoulin, Lennard Kämna, Wilco Kelderman, Soren Kragh Andersen, Michael Matthews and Sam Oomen comprised the winning team in Bergen, Norway, setting a time of 47:50.42 on the rolling 42.5km course.
BMC Racing settled for runner-up honours for the second straight season, while a Chris Froome-led Team Sky rounded out the podium in third.
“It’s crazy. First the women, and now us. It’s crazy,” Dumoulin said after the gold-medal ride. “The team was so homogenous. It was absolutely amazing. Normally you would say, ‘Maybe you’re the best time triallist on paper,’ but with this team … it was so smooth, it was crazy.”
The 13th of 17 teams to set out on the course, Sunweb took control of the hot seat from Movistar and then withstood the challenges of pre-race favourites Sky as well as the 2016 podium trio of Quick-Step, BMC and Orica-Scott.
Midway through their run, BMC looked to be on their way to victory, but they faded in the closing kilometres and landed silver instead, leaving Sunweb to win their first ever gold medal in the men’s event just hours after the women claimed theirs.
“We had a very good pace and kept it all the way to the line,” Dumoulin said. “We tried to keep together especially on the long climb, and that just about worked out – barely. But we made it over, and we were all flying. I don’t have words, it’s really unexpected but it’s really very nice. It’s the team event of the year, and we pulled it off.”
How it unfolded
The men’s team time trial kicked off under clear skies in Bergen with Norway-based Team Fixit.no the first squad to hit the road, followed by fellow Norwegian Continental outfit Team Sparebanken Sør.
Fixit.no’s initial mark was topped by Uno – X Hydrogen Development Team, the third team out on the course, who then gave way to Joker-Icopal, whose time was handily bested by CCC Sprandi Polkowice, the lone Pro Continental outfit in attendance.
The orange Poland-based squad survived Astana’s challenge but their time fell to LottoNL-Jumbo, who were the first team to spend even a few minutes in the provisional lead. Katusha-Alpecin and Bora-Hansgrohe fell short of toppling LottoNL-Jumbo, but then Movistar narrowly outdid the Dutch squad to take control of the hot seat by one second.
It was clear they wouldn’t spend long atop the provisional standings, however, as Sunweb had set better marks at all three checkpoints and was hot on their tail, powering up and over the day’s main climb with apparent ease. Sunweb crossed the line a full 1:19 faster than Movistar to take a commanding lead, but their victory was anything but certain with four heavy hitters yet to come at that point.
Setting off three minutes after Sunweb, Sky had topped their time at the first checkpoint but began to struggle on the climb, dropping both Gerant Thomas and Owain Doull. From there they began losing significant ground. With Quick-Step also down to four earlier than hoped and shipping time after a strong start, it became clear that BMC Racing would be the biggest challenger to Sunweb.
Setting the third best mark at the first checkpoint, the American-based outfit kicked into gear for the climb, setting the best time there – but they began to fade over the closing kilometres.
From the hot seat, Sunweb watched Sky come home 22 seconds down on their time and then waited for BMC to deliver the final verdict.
The 2016 runners-up came home eight seconds slower than Sunweb, and with Quick-Step Floors finishing a further 27 seconds back, Sunweb’s world title was secured.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|2||BMC Racing Team||0:00:08|
|8||CCC Sprandi Polkowice||0:01:44|
|11||Astana Pro Team||0:02:16|
|14||Sangemini – MG. K Vis||0:05:02|
|15||Uno – X Hydrogen Development Team||0:05:10|
|17||Team Sparebanken Sør||0:05:30|