Niki Terpstra says he thought that Bradley Wiggins would 'beat everyone by 40 seconds' in the Tour of Qatar stage three time trial
Instead, reigning time trial world champion Wiggins placed third behind Terpstra and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing).
“I’m surprised,” Terpstra said in the leader’s gold jersey. “Yesterday, I said to some guys, ‘I think Wiggins is going to win with 40 seconds on the second best rider’. To beat him, the world champion, I’m happily surprised.”
Wiggins briefly held the best time at 14-12 minutes until multiple world champion Cancellara finished at 14-11. Terpstra, 2014 Tour of Qatar and Paris-Roubaix winner, finished the fastest and moved into the race lead with 14-03.
“It was a really good time trial for me,” said Terpstra. “In the first kilometres, I was going steady, not full gas. I decided to save energy for when we turned into the head-wind. At that at point, my DS encouraged me from behind, saying, ‘Up! Up! Up!'”.
The 10.9 kilometres covered the flat roads around the Lusail Iconic Stadium, where the handball world championships were held last week, and the Moto GP track. The wind, which blew up to 40 kilometres an hour and kicked up sand over the Arab state, played an important role.
“The distance probably suited me more than it did Wiggins, and that it’s on a normal bike instead of a time trial bike is good for me. And I was extremely motivated for the classification, that’s also a big thing in time trials. You need to be motivated and focused,” added Terpstra.
“I’m sure he [Wiggins] was also motivated in the rainbow jersey, but he has won it already so…”
Terpstra moved into the race lead by 11 seconds over Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 12 seconds over Sky’s Ian Stannard. Along with Cancellara and others, he will be one of Wiggins’ rivals at Paris-Roubaix on April 12.
“I’m happy with my shape, of course. I hope I can still improve for the next two months,” he said.
“Obviously, in 10 kilometres, my shape is good. I hope that in the long classics it’s good, too, and that it doesn’t go bad suddenly.”