Yves Lampaert finished just outside the podium, whilst teammate David De La Cruz jumped one place in the overall standings, despite having mechanical problems.
Runner-up this year at the National Championships, Yves Lampaert displayed again his prowess against the clock, on Friday, when the Vuelta a España scheduled the sole ITT of this edition, one which took the riders from Xabia to Calp (37 kilometers), over a rolling and technical terrain. One of the early starters, Yves set the fastest time at both checkpoints, before becoming the first rider to go under the 48-minute barrier at the finish line and thus going into the hot seat.
At the end of the tricky stage 19, during which also the wind made the riders' life more complicated, the 25-year-old Belgian – a Grand Tour debutant – was fourth in the rankings, with a time of 47:59, just two seconds shy off the podium. Chris Froome (Team Sky) won the individual time trial, ahead of Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar) and Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin), while Nairo Quintana (Movistar) held onto his red jersey.
"I'm happy of my performance, especially as it comes after three tough weeks of racing. The ITT was held on a hard parcours, made even more difficult by the headwind, but at the same time was a good test before the European Championships of next week. The parcours will be more or less similar, and I'm satisfied with my result", said Yves Lampaert, Etixx – Quick-Step's top finisher on Friday.
The team's GC man, David De La Cruz, didn't enjoy a smooth ride in the tough test against the clock, as a flat rear wheel in the first 15 kilometers forced him to change the bike. The bad luck didn't stop here, another mechanical, which occurred a few kilometers later, meaning the 27-year-old Spaniard had to change the front wheel this time. Still, despite suffering these setbacks, he put in a strong ITT and even managed to gain a place in the overall standings, going up to 9th.
"Must say I'm pretty content with my ride and with the fact I felt good and had strong legs. Unfortunately, I had these mechanicals and lost around 40-50 seconds, which could turn out to be important tomorrow. I don't know Alto de Aitana, but I will do my best, as I'm determined to finish in the top 10", explained David De La Cruz, the only Spanish stage winner at this edition of the Vuelta a España.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele