Omega Pharma-Quick Step Repeats as World TTT Champion
Omega Pharma-Quick Step has successfully defended its world time trial championship. The Belgian squad beat back GreenEdge by an eyelash to win the gold medal on the flat, 56.8-km course from Montecatini Terme to Florence, Italy in 1:04:16.81. The Australian team settled for silver at 0.81, and Sky took the bronze at 22.85.
Before the teams that would contend for the title started, the Continental and Pro Continental teams rode their races. The Rabobank Development Team was the best of these. The Dutch squad posted a 1:08:45, which put them in the lead until the big boys began to cross the finish line.
Vacansoleil-DCM was the first World Tour team to finish, and it bettered Rabobank’s time by 0:50. Lotto-Belisol outdid Vacansoleil-DCM by 0:37, only to see Cannondale outdo the Belgian outfit. Astana edged the Italian team, and RadioShack-Leopard pipped the Kazakh team by about three and a half seconds.
BMC and Garmin-Sharp were supposed to challenge for medals but they were never close. At the end, the race came down to Omega Pharma-Quick Step, GreenEdge, and Sky. At the first time check, (7.3 km), the Belgian squad led, with GreenEdge at 0:12.2 and Sky at 0:12.4. At the second checkpoint (24.1 km), Omega Pharma-Quick Step led the Australian team by 0:14. Orica-GreenEdge poured on the coal, and at the third checkpoint (42.3 km), it had carved out a 1.45-second lead on Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
Sky powered home to take the lead from BMC. The time checks and GPS trackers had Omega Pharma-Quick Step and GreenEdge battling for the gold medal and running neck and neck. The Australian team snatched the lead from Sky with a 1:04:17. Omega Pharma-Quick Step was still on the road, however. All that the Australian team could do was watch.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step powered home to nip GreenEdge and take the gold. All that Luke Durbridge of the Australian team could do was shake his head. It was that close.
Matthew White, GreenEdge’s directeur sportif, was philosophical about the hair’s breadth loss. “I can’t complain about how things went today,” he said. “We can’t fault anyone. If we had gone nine-hundredths of a second faster, we would be world champions today.
“To be so close to winning a world title over an hour effort is a little disappointing Sometimes it’s easier to swallow when it’s a bigger margin. We know what it’s like to win by such a small margin, too. We just edged out Quick Step at the Tour. Today they turned the tables on us.
“We started a little bit slower than expected. We were 0:13 behind Quick Step at the first time check. The guys didn’t panic, and they gradually began to peg them back until it was very, very close at the end.
“Omega Pharma-Quick-Step was the team to beat today. We knew our strength was depth in numbers. We came here to win, and we followed the plan we developed to achieve that goal. The boys stuck to the plan. They left their egos at home and did what they needed to do. I can’t ask for anything more than that.”
World time trial champion Tony Martin led Omega Pharma-Quick Step. His description of his team’s race was clinical. "It was really one hour a block," he said, "especially in the final 10 kilometers. We took a few risks, sped it up because we knew