After Valkenburg and Firenze, our team took the gold medals in Doha, following a masterful display in the desert.
Bob Jungels, Marcel Kittel, Yves Lampaert, Tony Martin, Niki Terpstra and Julien Vermote will go down in the history books as the winners of the 2016 World TTT Championships, a race which Etixx – Quick-Step led from start to finish, under the boiling sun of the Middle East. The 40km-long course was a pan-flat one, suited to the powerful specialists, but very technical as times, especially in the first and closing kilometers, as it included several corners and roundabouts.
Starting from the Lusail Sports Complex, the route took the riders on roads which many knew from the Tour of Qatar, before hitting the final part in Pearl Island. Etixx – Quick-Step was the penultimate team to roll off the ramp and set the best time at the two checkpoints (13.6 km and 26.4 km), before stopping the clock in 42:32, for an average speed of 56.426 km/h. BMC was runner-up, 11 seconds adrift, while Orica-BikeExchange rounded out the podium, on a day in which Etixx – Quick-Step became the first three-time winner of the race against the clock.
Bob Jungels: "Riding in the desert was really hard, but we worked well together and we had a good preparation for this race at home, but also here. We could count on strong riders, they all went to the limit and we are very happy now. I am very grateful and happy to ride for this team."
Marcel Kittel: "In a team time trial it's always about pushing, pushing, pushing, and today was the same. The only fun part in such a race is when you cross the finish line and you hear you've won. We didn't knew the time differences during the race, but we could see how great the team was riding and were really confident. To win the gold medals is fantastic!"
Yves Lampaert: "Becoming world champion is something that will last forever. At the beginning of the week it was difficult for me to adapt to the tough weather conditions in Qatar, but things went better day after day and you could see that today. I am super proud of this result!"
Tony Martin: "We rode as a team and fought against ourselves, riding to the limit, and it wasn't easy, as the heat made things complicated. It's very special to win my last race with Etixx – Quick-Step. I've raced all the team time trials since the discipline returned at the Worlds, came every time on the podium and won twice before, but this victory is different. I want to thank the team for today and for these five years, they were incredible."
Niki Terpstra: "In the past two years we lost the title and there was some pressure on us, but we had a good squad and knew that we could win. We prepared really hard for this and all the work paid off. The nicest thing about today is that even when we suffered we managed to gain time. This makes the triumph even sweeter."
Julien Vermote: "Riding behind a huge engine as Tony wasn't easy, but I was prepared to suffer and bring my contribution to the team's success. I worked hard in the first part of the race and I'm completely empty now, but it's all worth it. World Champion is something that stays with you for the rest of your life and I will need some time to let it sink in. I must thank to my teammates and to Tom Steels, who knew how to prepare this race."
Tom Steels: "The guys did a really great job. They stayed in one line, never hesitated in the corners and did what they had to do. The team was smooth and strong, even on the technical parts, so congrats to our riders. Simulating a course makes a big difference, and doing this in our preparation for Qatar helped us a lot today."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele