Enric Mas made a spectacular jump in the general classification thanks to the team’s composed ride on Sunday afternoon.
For the sixth time in the past decade, the Tour de France scheduled an early team time trial, on a fast and slightly undulating 27.6km-long course around Brussels. Riding on their new and lighter Specialized Shiv bikes, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders were among the last to leave the start house and put in a huge effort, flying over the route at a whooping average speed of 56.519km/h.
Not even the technical finale in the shadow of the Atomium – the breathtaking structure built for the 1958 World Expo – could stop the Wolfpack from clocking one of the day’s best times, 29:18, which put us in third place at the end of the stage – the squad’s first podium at the current Tour de France edition.
Sunday’s result helped Elia Viviani remain the team’s best placed rider in the overall standings, where he now lies in tenth position, but more importantly, elevated race debutant Enric Mas and helped him gain nearly one minute on many of the riders who are gunning for a strong GC result.
“We did a good time trial. Ok, we lost Michael and Max quite early, but the other riders covered them and rode as a compact unit, keeping the speed high and giving their all out there”, sports director Tom Steels said. “We would have loved to win today, but considering everything, third isn’t a bad result, especially as we protected Enric and helped him move up in the ranking, alongside Julian.”
Photo credit: ©Justin Setterfield/ Getty Images