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"I think we rode well and strong as a team improving by quite a few seconds on our time from last year. This is good for our GC riders as they stay in close contention."

Photo: MTN Qhubeka

JOHANN VAN ZYL

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LOUIS MEINTJES

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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TOUR OF THE ALPS

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21.04.2015 @ 18:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The Giro del Trentino got off to a blistering start with a short 13km team time trial. Bora Argon 18 would ride away with the victory, edging out Team Sky by a few split seconds. Team Astana rounded out the podium in 3rd.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were the final team to start the flat and fast course. As a continent not renowned for its time trialing prowess, the 6 African riders put in a strong ride to keep their GC hopes well and truly alive. Strong turns from Daniel Teklehaimanot, Natnael Berhane, both riders former National and Continental time trial champions, and Johann van Zyl helped the team maintain an average speed of just over 55km/h for the 13km course.

The finishing time was good enough for 8th place on the day, a solid ride that keeps them within 24" of the race lead. Louis Meintjes and Merhawi Kudus both crossed the line with the rest of the squad and now the 2 African climbers will look to the 3 tough climbing stages to make their mark on the race.

"What a busy day for just a 13km TTT," van Zyl said. "We started the day by going for a 90min morning cruise. Loosening the legs and seeing the course. We came back and had our pre-race meeting followed by lunch. Shortly after, we were back in our chamois for a full circuit at high pace recon to get the feeling of every corner.

"I think we rode well and strong as a team improving by quite a few seconds on our time from last year. This is good for our GC riders as they stay in close contention. We are privileged to have the fastest equipment as every detail counts during these short efforts against the clock.

"I am happy with how my legs felt during the TTT and with the contribution I could make. From now on it's literally only uphill so I'm hoping for a bit of luck."

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