UCI World TTT Championship: OPQS Takes Bronze in Ponferrada
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team was the last to leave the start house as two-time defending UCI World TTT Champions in Ponferrada on Sunday, and looked to have a good chance after the second intermediate checkpoint with a 7" advantage.
However, the final kilometers of the course proved to be the difference. BMC Racing Team won gold with a time of 1:03.29 (53.967km/h). Orica-GreenEDGE took silver, 32 seconds down. OPQS finished 36" down (53.462km/h).
OPQS made history in 2012 by winning the first UCI World TTT Championship, and also won gold in 2013 by less than a second. This is the third straight year OPQS reached the podium in the TTT event, showing their spirit for the time trial discipline.
The riders who participated for OPQS were Tony Martin, Tom Boonen, Michal Kwiatkowski, Niki Terpstra, Julien Vermote, and Pieter Serry.
"I think this year was one of our best time trials technically," Sport Director Tom Steels said. "Everyone was in line and had a good pace. Just as we said at the meeting in the last straight heading toward the last hill, we really wanted to make a difference there. But the weather conditions prevented us from doing that. When they tried to speed up they went into a wall of wind. They kept on going, but we lost it there I think. The rain in the descent cost us more time. But we followed the plan and pushed the whole way and we kept our pace. We were consistent the whole way but with the change of conditions you cannot do anything about it otherthan try your best. But BMC Racing Team and Orica-GreenEDGE were the faster teams today and they deserved the gold medal and silver medal. Congratulations to them."
"We all gave 100 percent so it's no concern about our effort today," Martin said. "I think we lost the race at the last 15 kilometers. We have to analyze what went wrong, what went missing. It's always hard to say what went wrong so close after the race, but without question we lost the race in the final kilometers. I think there were a few things that worked against us, but it's hard to say for sure what really made the biggest difference. In the up and down section it was really hard to find a good rhythm but we all did a good job and took care of each other. I'm proud of all six guys as we all went full gas today. In the end it's still a medal, we're still in the top three of the world. I think we can be disappointed but also proud of what we did today. Now I must look to this Wednesday as I try to defend my status as three-time World TT Champion. I have to prepare and be focused immediately."
"I think technically we did a good time trial," Boonen said. "Everyone did their best. The part that we planned to make a difference, I thought before that we were still in the lead, it seemed we were a bit behind instead. We tried to make a difference there, but you felt the wind change completely straight away, despite our plan in that section. We lost a lot of time there. That, combined with the rain in the final, I think we have to be happy with the circumstances. We still have a medal, but I think with this team and the effort we did, in a little better conditions we'd be fighting for a better place. You could see it with our time at the second intermediate point when the conditions were more as planned. But OK, we did our best with what we could control."
"I think we are a winning team and if you don't win you hate it," CEO Patrick Lefevere said. "But today I'm proud of the guys. They did their best as they use to do always. In 3 edition of the Worlds we won 2 times and this year we were again on the podium proving that there is a culture and an attitude about TT in our team."
"It was fast," Terpstra said, "But in the last 10 kilometers it was really hard. We couldn't keep the right speed to go for the win at that moment. We kept on fighting and on the last climb I think we did a really good pace. Maybe we took some seconds back there, but not enough. So, in the end we finished 3rd. It was not what we were aiming for and we are disappointed, but of course it's not bad to be on the podium. Congrats to BMC and Orica for their performance."
"I did everything I could for the team today in a super fast time trial," Serry said. "Of course we came here to win, but I must say I am happy about my race and how my teammates did today as well. It was great to stay few days with Tony and the other guys. I think I learned a lot. This is the first medal of my career and I hope not the last. It's really a special feeling."
"I think we did a really good TT," Vermote said. "We immediately got into the rhythm and the team worked well. We had some great times in the beginning. We knew the end was hard and we conserved some energy for that, but I think the conditions went against us today, and we lost a lot of time we didn't expect in the last part of the race. But anyway, it's nice for us to have a medal and to be on a podium. I'm also happy about my personal performance and that I was able to ride for the team and try to defend OPQS as two-time world TT champions."
"I have no regrets," Kwiatkowski said. "I gave my heart and tried to do the best I could. It's not about arriving to the finish with a smile and six guys. It's about being fastest at the finish line. I did my job, I did my last turn really full gas and I'm happy the guys finished the race as strong as they could. This discipline is becoming year by year more interesting. The competition is very high and teams and suppliers put a lot of energy into it to prepare the race as best as possible. That's why I'm proud to be part of this team who was able once again to finish on the podium and be once again among the best in the world."