Defending champion Bauke Mollema won the stage four individual time trial at the Tour of Alberta to move into second place overall.It was the first professional time trial victory for Mollema, known for his exceptional climbing ability and not for his strength against the clock, but he has made significant gains in the time trial this year.
“The TT was a big goal for me this week, especially after my TT in the Tour (de France), and I knew that I had a good chance to win the stage,” said Mollema. “I knew that getting back the 17-18 seconds was quite a lot in 12 kilometers, so I just wanted to focus on winning the TT. That was my goal today, and I am happy that I did it. Now I am also one second behind in the GC.”
The 12.1-kilometer course was raced on road bikes, and the aero Madone played into Trek-Segafredo’s favor with Ryder Hesjedal also finishing in a strong fourth place.
Hesjedal, an early starter, set the benchmark, blistering around the undulating course in 15:03, a time that would hold up for nearly an hour until Adzs Flaksis (Holowesko-Citadel) bettered him by 10 seconds.
But Mollema would have the last say for Trek-Segafredo, flying across the finish nine seconds quicker than Flaksis and stopping the clock at 14 minutes and 44 seconds (49.2km/h).
“I had Ryder’s times in the radio, and I knew already at halfway that I was 10 seconds faster, and that gave me more motivation for the second part,” continued Mollema. “I think that was a good plan.
“I liked riding it on the road bike. Normally I ride the Emonda, and I asked the team to bring the Madone for this TT. I put the handlebar a little bit lower to make the aerodynamics as best as possible; I think that’s important for a time trial like this. 49km/h is quite fast for a normal bike, and I think we have a big advantage on other teams with the Madone, and that already gave me extra motivation before the start.”
Of the final riders, only Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel) edged in front of Hesjedal’s time, knocking the Canadian to fourth. Carpenter was 16 seconds slower than Mollema, but fast enough to slip into the overall lead by one second to set up an exciting final stage in Edmonton tomorrow.
“It’s not an easy course tomorrow,” pointed out Mollema. “There are short climbs and with the bonification seconds we are going to make a good plan and try and still win the GC – it’s going to be a hard day.”