Tinkoff’s Polish time trial specialist, Maciej Bodnar, had been focused on the final stage time trial at the Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde since losing a chunk of time on the tough opening stage, and he delivered on his promise to give it everything, racing to victory over the 14.2km course.
It came down to the wire in the end with Maciej finishing in a time of 17’39”, less than a second ahead of the other podium places, but it was enough to take the top step of the podium, the second time that he has won this stage after his victory in the 2014 edition of the race.
“Of course I’m extremely happy to win today, it’s a really nice victory,” Maciej confirmed after his podium duties. “It’s nice to take my second win in this race. In addition, the fact that I finished ahead of some strong specialists like Tony Martin is very encouraging for me, and I’m really satisfied with that.
“It’s a pity that the first day didn’t go as planned, and afterwards my chances for the GC were very limited. It was visible that the work to help and support Peter Sagan at E3 and Gent – Wevelgem took its toll on my form. So I’m happy that I’ve recovered and could take the win today. Also, the fact that I started the TT early meant that I had less time to recover than the guys starting later, yet I still felt very strong which is a good sign. Now I’m looking forward to the next races starting with Flanders on Sunday.”
The time trial followed the same route as it has done for a number of years now, racing around the city streets of De Panne, on a largely straight forward course that suits the specialists. There were three hair pin turns to negotiate but the roads were largely fast and open meaning that power was of importance. Maciej won this stage back in 2014, on his way to third place overall in the race, and so he knew what was needed to take victory here.
Pavel Brutt also had a strong ride, finishing 25th, 1’04” down on his teammate. Juraj Sagan and Nikolay Trusov went into the stage in 17th and 19th overall, but with the TT not so much of a focus for either they slipped back to 27th and 20th respectively.
Nikolay Trusov finished the race in 20th overall. Photo by Bettini Photo
Having followed Maciej in the car during his effort, Sport Director Patxi Villa was very happy with the win. “It was a really strong ride, he was focused, paced himself well, everything went perfectly – he really deserves the win. He was second at the Vuelta time trial last year and is consistently in the top ten, and is still improving, but it all came together today. He showed he’s one of the best guys for this in the pro peloton.
“We’ve lost a few races by very small margins recently so to be on the other side is a nice feeling. It’s good for the moral of the team and also for Bodnar. The whole team here did a great job, from the staff to the riders, but at the end he had to do the pedalling. I’m really really happy for him as he’s a great guy and works really hard for the team so it’s nice to get his reward too.”
Stage 3b Result
1. Maciej Bodnar (POL) Tinkoff 00:17:39
2. Tony Martin (GER) Etixx – Quickstep +00:00:00
3. Tom Bohli (SWI) BMC Racing Team +00:00:00
4. Lieuwe Westra (NED) Astana +00:00:03
5. Johan Le Bon (FRA) FDJ +00:00:19
25. Pavel Brutt (RUS) Tinkoff +00:01:04
39. Nikolay Trusov (RUS) Tinkoff +00:01:16
49. Erik Ba?ka (SVK) Tinkoff +00:01:27
50. Michael Kolar (SVK) Tinkoff +00:01:32
73. Juraj Sagan (SVK) Tinkoff +00:02:01
1. Lieuwe Westra (NED) Astana 12:08:19
2. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) Katusha +00:00:13
3. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana +00:00:16