Strong winds added to the difficulty of the 10.5km flat course, but Van Hooydonck settled into a good rhythm to clock 11’43” at the finish line, 20 seconds behind Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) who set the early benchmark and held on to take the stage win.
Joey Rosskopf, who made his debut in his CCC Team United States time trial champion skinsuit, was 12 seconds off the mark at the first intermediate sprint and was coming home strong but unfortunately crashed in the closing kilometers.
The American was able to get back on his bike and finish the race and fortunately, his injuries were limited to road rash.
Greg Van Avermaet, who started the day in 18th on the General Classification, was CCC Team’s last rider to roll down the ramp and tackled the course in 11’52”, which saw the Belgian move up to 16th overall, 4’57” behind eventual race winner Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma).
Quotes from the Finish Line
Nathan Van Hooydonck:
“It felt really good once I was doing the time trial. Before, in the warm up, I wasn’t feeling very good but that can also be the case after six days of hard racing. Your legs are a little bit more tired and you need to warm up the engine. But, once I was doing the time trial I was feeling very good and I had an expert behind me in Marco Pinotti. The way he motivated me was really helpful. As soon as I looked at my power meter and saw the power I was pushing, I was confident I was going to do a good time. When you see you are doing a good time, it keeps motivating you.”
Greg Van Avermaet:
“I’m quite happy with my time trial. I’m not a specialist but I’m happy with the performance I did and the way I was feeling. I’m glad this Tirreno-Adriatico is over and I’m coming out of it with good form, so I am looking forward to the next races. I think my form was exactly where it needed to be this week and maybe I was a bit unlucky. Alaphilippe beat me on stage two and then the next two stages were really hard, too hard for me, so I couldn’t try for a good place there. Overall, I am happy with how I felt the whole week. It is hard to compare form year to year. You always try to be at your best. But, I feel healthy and in good shape, which is the most important thing with the Classics coming up.”
Valerio Piva, Sports Director:
“It is a shame for Joey that he crashed today as I think he could have been in the top ten, but unfortunately crashes happen. In general, I am happy with what I saw this week. We would have liked to have finished with a stage win, and we came close on two stages, but a race like this is the perfect preparation for the Classics and all of our riders are leaving here with good form and good health. So, I think we can be happy with what we achieved here and now we look forward to the next races.”
Stage 7: San Benedetto del Tronto > San Benedetto del Tronto (10.5km)
Top 3: 1. Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal), 2. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First), 3. Jos Van Emden (Jumbo Visma)
CCC Team top 3: 17. Nathan Van Hooydonck, 29. Greg Van Avermaet, 30. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
Top 3 on GC: 1. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma), 2. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT), 3. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team)
CCC Team top 3: 16. Greg Van Avermaet, 33. Michael Schär, 34. Joey Rosskopf.
Photos: Cor Vos / Stefano Sirotti