Smith solid as Kung wins rain soaked TT

Stefan Küng of BMC Racing won a rain-soaked second stage of the BinckBank Tour, and took with it the overall lead.  The Swiss rider was fastest over the short 9km course that claimed a number of crash victims over the stage; where survival and the ability to stay upright was almost as much an achievement as a high finish.  Maciej Bodnar took second place with Tom Dumoulin third.

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Dion Smith in action in stage 2 of the BinckBank Tour, with the TT won by Stefan Kung, photo Sirotti

Stefan Küng of BMC Racing won a rain-soaked second stage of the BinckBank Tour, and took with it the overall lead.  The Swiss rider was fastest over the short 9km course that claimed a number of crash victims over the stage; where survival and the ability to stay upright was almost as much an achievement as a high finish.  Maciej Bodnar took second place with Tom Dumoulin third.

The 9km around the technical streets of Voorburg would be a frustrating 9km for anyone looking for a time trial that enabled riders to settle into a comfortable rhythm.  The stage was riddled with turns and corners, and was made no easier by the fact that the rain made things extremely treacherous.  A number of riders hit the deck over the course of the day, including time trial powerhouse Tony Martin; whose win in the German National Time Trial Championship being his only win against the clock this season.

Stefan Kung was best of the early starters, and took advantage of the drier conditions before the rain really set in, photo Sirotti

The three fastest times on the course came early in the day, with the roads still a little dry, and the worst of the weather still ahead of the riders.  Tom Dumoulin of Team Sunweb, Maciej Bodnar of Bora-Hansgrohe and Stefan Küng of BMC Racing were quickest on the stage, with the three separated by 5 seconds at the finish line.  Bodnar was the first to finish, having started the stage in 175th position overall.  The winner of the final individual time trial at the Tour de France was again on fine form in the Netherlands, taking the lead with a time of 11.02mins.

Despite riding in front of a home crowd, the Dutch national time trial champion and winner of the Giro d’Italia, Tom Dumoulin, was unable to get the better of Bodnar, crossing the line just 1 second down on the Pole.  But it was Stefan Küng who was most impressive.  The young Swiss time trial specialist was the only rider to stop the clock in a sub-11 minute time; completing the course in 10.58mins.

Kiwis Dion Smith of Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Sam Bewley of Orica-SCOTT got around the time trial course safely, with Dion Smith posting the fastest time of his Wanty-Groupe Gobert outfit.  On a stage that was not suited to Wanty-Groupe Gobert, with none of the team being time trial specialists, Smith got around the course safely and in a time of 11.41mins.  

Tom Dumoulin was strong but finished third behind Kung and Bodnar, photo Sirotti

After the stage sports director for the team, Steven De Neef, said, “We know that this is not our speciality, so the most important thing is that everyone finished safely.  Dion Smith rode a solid time trial.  Everyone has performed at his level, we could not expect more.  We are looking forward to Wednesday.”

Despite finishing in the top 20 on the stage, Peter Sagan was unable to maintain his overall lead, and dropped to 8th overall, 15 seconds behind Küng.

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