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“Markel and I spoke one week ago about this TT, and bet a beer on who would clock the best time between us. But then we were asked to not go hard. In the end, it was still close! Now I have to pay him a beer."








10.09.2015 @ 00:03 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

While the 38.7-kilometer race against the clock was the one of the most important and decisive stages amongst the general classification contenders, Trek Factory Racing approached the race with a different focus.


“For us today, since we did not have a rider in the GC, it was just to save energy and to activate again after the rest day for the next three days where we will try for a breakaway again," sports director Josu Larrazabal said. "The goal was just to go through the day since the team has worked so hard already and there are bigger opportunities for us to come. There was no real chance to do a big result today, so it's better to save that energy.


"We asked the team to just make a regular effort and Riccardo tried to go a little bit deeper in the last part.  He showed that he is strong, and ready for the next three days. We are focused on the last four stages.”


As expected, Markel Irizar posted the quickest time amongst the pinstriped team, stopping the clock in 49:02, but with a friendly bet and a beer on the line, Riccardo Zoidl came across the line only eight seconds slower.


“Markel and I spoke one week ago about this TT, and bet a beer on who would clock the best time between us. But then we were asked to not go hard. In the end, it was still close! Now I have to pay him a beer,” Zoidl laughed.


“The rest day was good yesterday,” he continued, “and I took the first part of the time trial easy. This was the plan for me, to not go full gas until the last 15-kilometers where I went really hard. Luca [Guercilena, general manager] wanted to push me a little bit in the last part. I think it was a little bit of a test for the upcoming TTT.”


Both strong in the discipline, Markel Irizar and Riccardo Zoidl have earned a spot in the World Championships team time trial team for Trek Factory Racing.


Time Trials are unique: different effort, different equipment, it is a race for specialists.


Even though the team time trial shares all the same equipment as the individual effort – Trek Factory Racing will ride the same sleek, fast Speed Concept time trial bike in the World’s race on September 20 – the races are completely different, explained trainer and director Josu Larrazabal:


“The TT and TTT are completely different efforts. The TTT is not a regular [steady] effort, it’s short pulls, short recovery, short sprint to come back to the [end of the] line. We see many riders who are strong in the TTT’s who are not strong in the TT. Of course, those who are strong in the TT, normally are strong in the TTT. But no, the TTT is a completely different effort.”


Zoidl, officially named to the TTT squad Wednesday ahead of the time trial, explained what it takes to become a time trial specialist:


“I train 3-4 times a week on the Speed Concept, it’s very comfortable, I can even train for five hours with it. For me, it’s super stiff, fast and yet I still feel super comfortable with my position.”


A well-known specialist is Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin), a bronze medalist at the 2014 World TT Championships, and as expected Wednesday he completely overpowered the rest of the GC favorites, handily winning the time trial and leaping back into the red leader’s jersey.



With four stages remaining, the overall of the three-week Grand Tour has not been decided. While Trek Factory Racing focuses on breakaways and strives for one more stage win to add to its tally, Tom Dumoulin leads Fabio Aru (Astana) by a mere three seconds; it will be an exciting finish as the two dual it out for the overall victory. 


Riccardo Zoidl has been a super domestique for the team during the Vuelta, giving all his energy to support the team stage after stage, and in the final three days he welcomes the opportunity to ride for a result:


“I think the next three stages it would be good for me to be in the break and then I can go for a result for myself.  Of course, the last day it’s everything for Danny [van Poppel] to try and get one more stage win.”



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