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Covering the 45.5km course in 58.13, Castroviejo beat Campenaerts by 30 seconds to become the first European time trial champion; an excellent finale allowed Moser to leapfrog Oliveira in the battle for bronze

Photo: Unipublic / Graham Watson








15.09.2016 @ 16:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain) finally got what seems to be a long overdue medal at an international time trial championships when he took a dominant win in the inaugural European Time Trial Championships. The Spaniard covered the hilly 45.5km course in Plumelec in 58.13 to go 30 seconds faster than Victor Campenaerts (Belgium) who held off a strong comeback from Moreno Moser (Italy) to take the silver medal, with the Italian completing the podium.


Last year Jonathan Castroviejo experienced one of the biggest disappointments of his career when he missed out on a medal at the World Championships by less than a handful of seconds. In a dramatic repeat, he had a similar frustrating near-miss at the Rio Olympics where he was mere seconds from leapfrogging Chris Froome in the final and claiming the bronze medal.


The results made it evident that it was a question of time before the Spaniard would take his first international TT title. He quickly turned his attention to the inaugural European Championships and after his strong second place in the Vuelta TT where only a dominant Chris Froome was faster than him, it was evident that he was the man to beat on the hilly 45.5km course in Plumelec.


This time there were no disappointments for Castroviejo as he lived up to his status as the overwhelming favourite by claiming a clear win in the first edition of the event. Being the penultimate rider to leave the ramp, he was a slow starter and at the first time check he was only fourth, six seconds behind Marcin Bialoblocki (Pole). However, while most others started to fade, Castroviejo increased the speed and when he passed the second and final time check he was a massive 25 seconds faster than trade teammate Nelson Oliveira who was the second fastest at that point.


Castroviejo didn’t slow down in the hard finale that included the difficult climb of the Cote de Cadoudal and he reached the finish in 58.13 to knock then-leader Moreno Moser out of the hot seat by 39 seconds. He just had to wait for Victor Campenaerts to reach the finish but as he had been 28 seconds faster at the final time check, the outcome was never in doubt. Castroviejo could finally raise his arms in celebration to celebrate a win at a major international championship.


Campenaerts confirmed his huge progress in the discipline as he finished strongly to claim the silver medal with a time of 58.43. Moser delivered a small surprise as he took the bronze medal with a remarkable performance on the final climb. The Italian did the final part of the race faster than anyone else and took back 33 seconds on Oliveira to beat the Portuguese by 17 seconds and take the bronze medal. Oliveira had to settle for fourth while Anthony Roux made up for a spectacular collapse from fast starter Sylvain Chavanel to make sure that the local fans had a rider in the top 5.


In addition to Chavanel, there were several disappointments. Bob Jungels, Fabio Felline and Tobias Ludvigsson were among the biggest as none of the three specialists managed to finish in the top 10.


With the time trial done and dusted, the attention turns to Sunday’s road race where the Cote de Cadoudal will again be the scene of a spectacular finale suited to puncheurs.


A lumpy course

The inaugural edition of the European Time Trial Championships was held on a 45.5km course that brought the riders from Josselin to Plumelec. After the start, the riders tackled as small climb when they left the starting city and from there, they followed lumpy roads without too many technical challenges for most of the day. The first time check came at the 16.6km mark and then the terrain got slightly easier until the riders hit another small climb just after the second time check at the 34.6km. Having reached Plumelec, they descended out of the city before turning around and heading back towards the finish. In the end, they went up the famous Cote de Cadoudal which averaged 6.2% over 1.7km.


It was a cloudy day when Julio Pintado (Andorra) rolled down the ramp as the first rider. However, he was not the first to reach the finish as the second starter, Alexandr Pliuschin (Moldova) was more than five minutes faster and posted a time of 1.04.04 to become the first leader of the race.


Best time for Samoilau

Tobias Ludvigsson (Sweden) was expected to set an early mark and the Swede did so with a time of 1.02.37 but it was a below-par performance from the Giant-Alpecin. He was quickly beaten by Gatis Smukulis (Latvia) who was more than two minutes faster with a time of 1.00.32.


Branislau Samoilau (Belarus) had a surprisingly good ride to become the first rider below the one-hour mark with a time of 59.52 that saw him move into the hot seat. Rein Taaramae (Estonia) had been faster at the first time check but as he crossed the line, his time of 1.00.17 was only good enough for second.


Roux takes the lead

Ryan Mullen (Ireland) had a solid ride with 1.00.44 which saw him slot into fourth before Jan Tratnik (Slovenia) moved into fifth with 1.01.06. However, it was Nils Politt (Germany) who was the first threat for Samoilau. The German had had a slow start but finished strongly to take the lead with 59.39.


Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain) was faster than Politt at both time checks but he lost four seconds in the final part and so had to settle for second with 59.41. Fabio Felline (Italy) was far off the pace and instead it was the in-form Anthony Roux (France) who gauged his effort perfectly to stop the clock in 59.12 and move into the hot seat.


Lampaert misses out

Roux faced his first threat immediately as Yves Lampaert (Belgium) had been seven seconds faster at the final time check. However, the Belgian lost ground on the final climb and at the finish, he missed out on the lead by just two seconds.


Nicolas Roche (Ireland) again proved how much he has improved in the time trials as he posted a time of 59.27 to move into third but he was quickly knocked into fourth by Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) who was seven seconds faster. Anton Vorobyev (Russia) had to settle for fifth with 59.29.


Moser moves into the hot seat

The local fans were waiting for Sylvain Chavanel (France) who had posted the fastest times at both time checks. However, the Frenchman cracked spectacularly in the finale and reached the finish in 59.43 to slot into a disappointing 8th place.


Bob Jungels (Luxembourg) had a terrible ride with a time of 1.02.23 and neither Kanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus) nor Andriy Grivko (Ukraine) could break the one-minute mark, with the latter slotting into 10th with 1.00.09. Matthias Brände (Austria) was also off the pace and instead it was Moreno Moser (Italy) who delivered a small surprise. The Italian had been a slow starter but did the final part of the course faster than anybody else to stop the clock in 58.52 and so move comfortably into the lead.


Castroviejo takes the win

Marcin Bialoblocki (Poland) had posted the fastest time at both time check but faded in the end to slot into sixth with 59.29. As expected Stefan Küng (Switzerland) was far off the pace in his comeback race after an injury and so the attention turned to Nelson Oliveira. The Portuguese had been the fastest at the final time check but he lost a massive 33 seconds to Moser in the second part and had to settle for second with 59.09.


Everybody was now waiting for Catrsoviejo to arrive as the Spaniard had been 25 seconds faster than Oliveira at the final time check. He maintained his speed, passed Steven Lammertink (Netherland) and stopped the clock in 58.13 to beat Moser by 39 seconds.


Only Victor Campenaerts (Belgium) was still on the course and he was firmly in medal contention as he was third at the final check. With a strong finish, he passed Oliveira and so took the silver medal with a time of 58.43.



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