The 15.1km stage four of Paris-Nice featured an individual time trial around St. Amand-Montrond. The technical course was not all about the time-trial specialists as it consisted of two short climbs and was an important day for the battle for GC.
Our hopes for the team best time was on ITT specialist Jan Tratnik, but despite a strong performance, he ended the day in 13th. It was the surprising performance of Pello Bilbao who produced the fasted time for the team and a top-five finish. Bilbao took 5th place only 15″ behind the stage winner Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb).
Overall, the team performed well with four riders amongst the top 20 with Dylan Teuns finishing 13th. More importantly, Teuns moved back into the top 10 for the GC and is sitting in 6th place, 1’10” from Schachmann (Bora Hansgrohe) with plenty more racing to come.
Speaking after his brilliant ITT, Pello Bilbao said: “Today I was really motivated to do a great job in the TT. It’s in the last three years that I started to work on TT seriously when I have seen that I have good possibilities. This year I was feeling I have to achieve my important goal – to win my first TT. Already in Andalusia, I was quite close, only 3″ behind Dylan, and Today I just went to win the TT because I knew that the parcours was perfect for me. In the end, 15” seems an important gap, but when another possibility arrives, I will try to go for the win. This is a really important discipline for me. Also, I am very motivated being with a new team because I know that we have all the resources to continue working on this and we are going to achieve the goals. I am happy with the result today”.
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainMcLaren)
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