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Stopping the clock in 20.05, Cannondale-Drapac beat CCC by 11 seconds in the opening team time trial at the Czech Cycling Tour; Klein Constantia completed the podium, with Lampre-Merida in fourth, and Langeveld is the first leader

Photo: Sirotti








11.08.2016 @ 18:27 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Cannondale-Drapac took their first team time trial victory for several years when they came out on top in in the opening stage of the Czech Cycling Tour. The American team beat CCC by 11 seconds and Klein Constantia and Lampre-Merida by 15 seconds and so put Sebastian Langeveld in the first leader’s jersey at the four-day race.


When he turned his small development team into a professional squad, Jonathan Vaughters put plenty of focus on the team time trial. The team signed several TT specialists and memorably won the first stage of their first ever grand tour at the 2008 Giro d’Italia.


The team continued to be one of the leading figures in the discipline for a number of years, most notably with a stage win at the 2011 Tour de France, but since then they have turned their attention away from the TTTs. With the old guard of time triallists having long retired, the team is now more geared towards GC and climbing.


However, the team briefly returned to their former specialty today when they emerged as the strongest in the opening team time trial at the Czech Cycling Tour. Being one of only two WorldTour teams in the race, they went into the stage as one of the favourites and they didn’t disappoint as they took a comfortable victory with an 11-second margin over CCC on the short 17.4km course in the Czech Republic.


Cannondale dropped Jack Bauer, Alan Marangoni and Ryan Mullen along the way but Patrick Bevin, Sebastian Langeveld, Wouter Wippert, Ruben Zepuntke and Kristoffer Skjerping stayed together to stop the clock in 20.05 to take the lead. With just Lampre-Merida yet to finish, it was clear that they were going to take the win and they could soon celebrate a rare collective triumph.


Langeveld was first across the line and so is the first leader of the race, wih GC rider Bevin finishing in the same time. However, the biggest rivals are all close to him. CCC that have arguably the strongest team of climbers and four potential GC riders, Victor De La Parte, Felix Grosschartner, Davide Rebellin and Jan Hirt, were second, 11 seconds behind the American team, and even though Hirt lost more time, they remain within shouting distance. The Lampre-Merida team of pre-race favourite Diego Ulissi was just 15 seconds behind in fourth and Pawel Cieslik for the Verva-ActiveJet team only lost 24 seconds.


The big surprise of the day was the small Klein Constantia team, Etixx-QuickStep’s feeder team. The young talents beat WorldTour team Lampre-Merida to take third place, just 15 seconds behind Cannondale-Drapac. That puts their climbers Jhonatan Narvaez and Frantisek Sisr in a good position before the upcoming stages.


Langeveld leads the race in the same time as his four teammates Bevin, Wippert, Zepuntke and Skjerping. He will try to defend his lead in stage 2 which should be for the sprinters.  The 177km between Olomouc and Unicov are definitely not flat as a flat start leads to a tough middle section with four categorized climbs. However, the final climb comes with 73.4km to go and then the riders will head along flat roads to the finish where they will end the stage by doing three laps of a 10.9km circuit that is completely flat.


A flat course

As usual, the 2016 edition of the Czech Cycling Tour kicked off with a team time trial but the course had been changed compared to previous years. The traditional 20.4km course in Unicov was replaced by a route of 17.3km in Frydek-Mistek. The new stage was a bit hiller and consisted of an out-and-back run without many technical challenges. The first part was mainly descending so it was important to save something for the second half where the riders traveled along slightly ascending roads back to the start-finish area.


The riders had perfect conditions when the Aisan team lined up on the ramp as the first team but as expected, the Asian team had a hard time in this very special disci0line. The Japanese riders stopped the clock in 21.25 to move into the hot seat and they managed to keep their lead for four inutes as the second team, Novo Nordisk, were five seconds slower.


Best time for Metec

The Belgian Beobank team is mostly known for its skills in cyclo-cross but they were on a good day. Stopping the clock in 21.05, they took the lead with a 25-second advantage.


The Tirol team of Clemens Fankhauser was the first to go below the 21-minute mark with a time of 20.58 but they were beaten immediately as the Dutch Metec team was one second faster. The second Dutch team in the race, Parkhotel Valkenburg, couldn’t topple their compatriots as they had to settle for fourth with 21.09.


Fantastic performance by Klein Constantia

The local Whirlpool Author team pleased the home public as they lowered the mark by 18 seconds, stopping the clock in 20.39 to take the lead and that was enough to beat Jan Tratnik’s Amplatz team which was three seconds slower to slot into second. Surprisingly, the Adria Mobil team which is one of the best continental teams, could only manage seventh as they reached the line in 21.17 as the ninth team.


Markus Eibegger got the race off to a bad start as his Felbermayr team could only manage seventh with 21.10 and instead it was the young Klein Constantia team that really impressed. Etixx-QuickStep’s ffeder team stopped the clock in 20.20 to beat Whirlpool Author by no less than 19 seconds.


CCC take the lead

Verva-ActiveJet was the second pro continental team to take the start by they could only managed second with 20.29. Uniero Willier was also unable to match Klein Constantia as 20.41 was only good enough for fourth.


With no less than four GC riders, CCC have widely been regarded as the strongest team in the race and they lived up to expectations when they stopped the clock in 20.16 to beat the Czech youngster by four seconds. They faced the first big threat from TTT specialists Gazprom-Rusvelo but they had a bad ride for fourth, 14 seconds off the pace.


Cannondale win the stage

Wallonie got the race off to a great start for Sebastien Delfosse when they slotted into third with 20.24. However, at this point it was already clear that Cannondale-Drapac were on a great day. The Americans sprinted across the line in 20.05 to beat CCC by 11 seconds.


Diego Ulissi’s Lampre-Merida team was the final team to reach the finish but they were unable to beat their WorldTour rivals. With a time of 20.20, they had to settle for fourth, 15 seconds behind the stage winners and so Bevin who had crossed the line in first position, could step onto the podium as the first leader of the race.



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