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"It was a long time since I last did a TT. It was a demanding effort, but I felt physically well. We weren't interested in the times by Dennis or those two started before me, but the top guys, in order to assess to the result."

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ALEJANDRO VALVERDE

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ALEX DOWSETT

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MOVISTAR TEAM

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NAIRO QUINTANA

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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04.07.2015 @ 21:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The only individual time trial in the 2015 Tour de France, 13.8km in and around Utrecht, became an extremely fast contest which created small differences between the main GC contenders. Rohan Dennis (BMC) profited from his world-class power and favourable wind conditions to beat Tony Martin (EQS) and Fabian Cancellara (TFR) for the stage, while the three national TT champions from the Movistar Team finished within the top 15 of the day's results sheet.

 

Remarkable was Jonathan Castroviejo's 6th place (+23"), also early in his start and staying for most of the stage in a great third place; Adriano Malori took 8th (+29"), on a course too short for his abilities; and in 13th, less than 40" behind, Alex Dowsett also confirmed the Unzué-led squad's potential, especially looking towards next Sunday's team time trial on stage nine.

 

In turn, the two big GC threats from the Blue squad did a good job. Nairo Quintana took advantage from correct team strategy, having set his depart more than two hours earlier than most of the favourites', and enjoying less wind, he finished with a time only 24" away from Mollema (TFR) and 20" adrift of Urán (EQS) and Pinot (FDJ), who also started halfway through the TT order. Meanwhile, Alejandro Valverde finished 5" faster than his team-mate, and at the same time, close to Nibali (AST) - 13" faster than him, 18" over Quintana- Froome (SKY) - 6" on the Spaniard, 11" quicker than the Boyacá rider - and Contador (TCS), who rode slower than Valverde and only 3" better than Quintana.

 

The Grande Boucle will tackle an intriguing first road stage, with gusty winds expected to show up in the south western coast of the Netherlands, mainly against dykes on the way from Utrecht to Neeltje Jans (166km).

 

 

“The start of a Grand Tour is always difficult," Quintana said. "It was a long time since I last did a TT. It was a demanding effort, but I felt physically well. We weren't interested in the times by Dennis or those two started before me, but the top guys, in order to assess to the result."

 

“I’m disappointed, but it’s not a heavily surprising result; it was a really hard TT, always at full speed, even reaching 56kph into headwinds," Dowsett said. "I cooked myself early on, and when you do that on such a course and you’re down on average speed, you don’t get a choice to keep pushing and try to reach Rohan’s speed or backing off and saving it for the end. I struggled a bit compared to the big boys.”

 

“It's not important to have finished 5" ahead of my team-mate," Valverde said. "Nairo did really well and we were also up there. Things went more or less good; there were some gusty winds in the final sections of the TT, but not much harder than for the early starters, but it's true that this might have made gaps shrink a bit between the GC favourites."

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