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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, June 20, 2021

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Tony Martin clinches tenth German time trial title

Here’s the report from Martin’s Jumbo-Visma team:

Tony Martin has won the German time trial championship for the tenth time in his career. The 36-year-old rider of Jumbo-Visma defended his title in Öschelbronn with flying colours.

Tony Martin

Tony Martin has been time trialing at a high level for a long time. Here he is racing in the 2011 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo

On the hilly route of more than thirty kilometres Martin was fast from the start. He subsequently recorded the fastest time at the intermediate point. At the finish Martin had an advantage of almost a minute over his nearest competitor Miguel Heidemann. The victory meant the fiftieth time trial victory in Martin’s career. For Der Panzerwagen it’s his first win this season and for Team Jumbo-Visma the seventeenth.

“I had to go deep”, Martin said. “The weather conditions were extreme. The heat made this time trial extra tough. Especially in the second part of the race it hurt. I was encouraged by the lap times. It was a great relief when I knew I was going to win. It is special to win this title for the tenth time. I am looking forward to riding in my country’s jersey in time trials for another year.”

Sports director and compatriot Grischa Niermann spoke highly of his rider. “Tony rode very strongly. Halfway through the race he already had a nice lead on the competition. The fact that he is winning the title for the tenth time is special. He did a great job today.”

In the Netherlands and Norway respectively, Tom Dumoulin and Tobias Foss also won the national time trial title in the yellow-and-black of Team Jumbo-Visma earlier this week. The Dutch formation, together with its partners, has been investing heavily in the riding against the clock for years.

Lawson Craddock crowned US time trial champ

Here’s the report from Craddock’s EF Education-Nippo team:

Lawson Craddock was crowned the new US Pro Time Trial Champion in Oak Ridge, Tennessee today.

Ten years prior, the USA Cycling Juniors Track National Championships saw a promising young rider win in its men’s three-kilometer event. Lawson Craddock, a National Development Program stand-out at the time, was the clear winner that day.

Lawson Craddock

Here's Craddock racing in the 2020 World championships. Sirotti photo

Craddock finds himself on a different team nowadays — but he’s still coming up with big results. The newly-appointed Olympic team member won his second time trial national title, exactly one decade since his very first. The Houston native finished the 34.9-kilometer course with an impressive time of 41:33.

“I’m very grateful. The year hasn’t gone as planned for me after a difficult start. But things are now starting to click,” said Craddock.

It was also a special day for Tejay Van Garderen whose efforts landed him in third place. The American rider recently announced that he will officially retire from the pro peloton this Sunday. The cycling legend was able to earn himself a well-deserved podium finish in his final days of racing and clocked in a time just 30 seconds behind his teammate’s Craddock’s final result.

“Chad and Tejay rode incredible time trials. I really had to work for it today,” said Craddock.

And guess who was in fifth just 30 seconds shy of our bronze medalist’s time? Our very own Will Barta.

Congrats to our American riders on their successful day in Tennessee. Next stop for the American crew? The Road National Championships on June 20th.

“I’m excited to send Tejay off in style this Sunday,” said Craddock. And we’re looking forward to it, champ.

Toms Skujins claims Latvian TT title

Here’s the report from Skujins’ Trek –Segafredo team:

Although Latvia is not a large cycling nation – though its World Tour presence has significantly grown in recent years – Toms Skujins still faced solid competition on his way to winning the race against the clock. His closest opponent was fellow Trek-Segafredo rider Emils Liepins, just 35 seconds back from Skujins’ winning time of 39’08” on the 32.7km course in the Latvian capital, Riga. It was far from plain sailing, as Toms explains:

Toms Skujins

Toms Skujins racing in the 2019 GP Beghelli. Sirotti photo

“I wish the race had been a bit more straightforward but luckily I could still win. I had a mishap with two bike changes because of a mechanical but it made an exciting race for the fans to follow. It would be super cool if I get the chance to show off the Latvian flag in a couple of stages of the Tour, and maybe if I win the road race I would be able to display it for 21 stages! I’m very, very happy, I felt really good. With the bike changes if I hadn’t have been feeling up to par I would definitely not have been able to pull it off. But yeah, I felt good, felt fast and the legs were great. I’m looking forward to the road race now.”

Kevin Geniets is Luxembourg time trial champion

Here’s the report from Geniets’ Groupama-FDJ team:

Before defending his Luxembourg road title on Sunday, Kevin Geniets already knows he will continue to wear his national colours over the coming year, at least in the time trial. On Friday night, the 24-year-old indeed conquered gold after just 20 kilometers around Harlange. He will then line up on the road race with quite a peace of mind and already a jersey in the bags.

Kevin Geniets

Kevin Geniets racing earlier this year at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. Sirotti photo

For quite a few months now, Kevin Geniets has got very involved in the time trial, and has actually been very consistent in this area. So much so that at the 2021 Luxembourg championships, the young rider of Groupama-FDJ had made it a clear goal. A bronze medallist last season for his first attempt among the “big boys”, he was definitely aiming higher on Friday on the Harlange short course. “I worked the time trial a lot with my trainer, I did many specific trainings,” said Kevin. “I had this race in mind for a while. I was really focused on this time trial, I wasn’t thinking about the road race”. His trainer Julien Pinot actually joined him the day after the team’s 1-2-3 at the French championships. “I’m really happy Julien came with a mechanic for me,” Kevin said. “It really gave me confidence, it was an ideal situation for me.”

On this time trial day on Luxembourg territory, the former “Conti” rider started his race quite late, after 8 pm. “The route was made of two laps of around ten kilometers (9.8) each,” added Julien Pinot. “There was a descending half, then a rather tough ascending half. It was important not to make a mistake in managing your effort, and Kevin did very well. We had little information, but he had a nice gap. He started fast, and although he did get stuck a little bit at the start of the second lap, he put in a great performance.” Twenty-four minutes and fifty-four seconds after his start, the young rider therefore crossed the line with the best time and an average speed exceeding 47km/h. His two most serious competitors completed the course forty-four and fifty-eight seconds slower, respectively. “He made big gaps on Ries and Kirsch who are not just anyone, let’s not forget,” said Julien. Kevin Geniets thus unquestionably got his first title as Luxembourg time trial champion among the pros, having already won the event as a junior and a U23. “The time trial went really well, I’m very satisfied,” he said.

He also already knows that he will not completely let his national colours go in the coming year, although he is also determined to retain his crown in the road race on Sunday. “It was a good thing to do this time trial before,” he added. “I will be relaxed and prepared for the road race. It really gives me confidence. We saw that the shape was good at the Dauphiné, I proved it here again and it feels good mentally”. “The condition is good”, confirmed Julien. “He has fulfilled this first goal but he’s already thinking about Sunday as he aims for the double on a course that may suit him”.

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