The opening individual time trial was held in the city of Neuchâtel and even though it was a short effort, it was still quite demanding with a technical and undulating course that included some steep sections midway through.
Riccardo Zoidl was the first CCC Team rider to start and set a solid time of 5’21” before Francisco Ventoso, who is returning to racing after a hand injury, went another five seconds faster and, for a very brief moment, lead the standings.
Bevin, the New Zealand national time trial champion, was the last rider from CCC Team to roll down the start ramp and was very eager to fight for a place in the top five. He put in a great effort on a course that suited him and finished the day with a time of 5’11” which eventually put him in 11th place in the final results, only five seconds behind the winner, Tratnik.
CCC Team had another national time trial champion in its ranks today with Joey Rosskopf racing in the stars and stripes skinsuit of the USA. After coming into the race from Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the American saw the prologue as a way to ease himself into the race after the brutal Monument, stopping the clock at 5’21”.
Quotes from the finish line:
“These short races haven’t been my strength. I think I was better at them when I was 20 years old and heavier. After having raced on Sunday, I took yesterday very easy and used the prologue to get back in the race rhythm and open up again. A technical course like this is not really my specialty, so I didn’t take too many risks. I made sure to go hard but at the same time, I tried to keep it safe. I felt good at a high power which is characteristic for such prologues.”
“Short time trials are always strange. I like being on a TT bike, but in a prologue like this, it feels like you could as well be on a regular road bike because you hardly use the aero bars, you are cornering, going uphill or accelerating out of the saddle. I look forward to the next time trial and will try to do well in the groove of the aero position.”
“I was pretty excited to start this stage race with such a short, technical prologue but, honestly I’m disappointed with 11th place. It was a decent ride but I wanted to be further up in the results. It was one of those days where if you made a mistake or didn’t get it quite right then you suffered because there was a lot of guys all riding similar times. You always strive to be better, but a lot of the time, bike racing and particularly prologues, is often very tight at the top. You have to deliver a full performance with every corner, every climb, and on every part of the course. It’s nice to be underway racing here though and I’m looking forward to the days ahead, especially to the longer time trial.”
“There was not one big mistake that I can pick out, it was just me being cautious. A couple of times I found myself coming out of the corners thinking “it wasn’t quite right”. Those seconds add up, especially when there are climbs involved and you have a momentum going into those hills. We will go through the video and have a closer look to recap the ride.”
“This course suited me since it was a time trial that had a bit of everything. You had to be good through the corners and good with changing the pace on a couple of climbs there. I think it’s the first prologue I’ve ever done like that. It was an eyeopener to see how quickly we can lose time.”
Stage 1, Neuchâtel – Neuchâtel, 3.9km (TT)
Top 3: 1. Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Merida) 2. Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma) 3. Tom Bohli (UAE-Team Emirates)
CCC Team Top 3: 11. Patrick Bevin 33. Francisco Ventoso 55. Will Barta