European time trial champion Victor Campenaerts signed for Lotto Soudal this season and at the Volta ao Algarve this week, the Belgian will ride his first time trial for his new team. The five-day stage race starts today and includes a 20.3 kilometre time trial on Friday.

“We did a recon of the time trial course today and it is pretty technical,”
said Campenaerts. “There are some fast descents with corners and two hills. The first hill is only 150 metres long, but very steep. After the top it doesn’t go downhill right away and I like that. The second hill is steep too and is 500 metres long. You ride full speed towards the bottom.”

“It’s a course for time trial specialists and I’m glad about that. It will be crucial to divide your energy and not to lose much speed uphill. After the hills you need to make sure to go quickly back to 53 or 54 kilometres an hour. I had already taken a look at the course on internet, but it is an advantage to have been able to do a recon today.”

“It’s still early down the season and I want to reach my top shape by the opening time trial of the Giro at the beginning of May, but the goal is clear: I want to win on Friday. With Stefan Küng, Tony Martin and Ryan Mullen I have some strong opponents, but it will be a disappointment if I don’t finish on top five.”

“I had a good preparation ahead of the Volta ao Algarve. After Challenge Mallorca I stayed one more week on Mallorca to train. Back home I took some rest and the last days I put some pressure on the legs. Saturday I did one last intense time trial training. That preparation can be compared to last year, when I won the time trial at Ruta del Sol. I have a good feeling now too.”

Volta ao Algarve Stages

Stage 1 Wednesday 14 February: Albufeira – Lagos (192.6 km)
Stage 2 Thursday 15 February: Sagres – Fóia (187.9 km)
Stage 3 Friday 16 February: Lagoa – Lagoa (20.3 km) (ITT)
Stage 4 Saturday 17 February: Almodôvar – Tavira (199.2 km)
Stage 5 Sunday 18 February: Faro – Alto do Malhão (Loulé) (173.5 km)


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