Quick-Step Floors won the UCI Road World Championships men’s team time trial, pulling back a thirteen second deficit from the first time check, to a margin of one second at the next marker, eventually taking the win ahead of defending champions Sunweb by 18 seconds.
In the last year that the competition will feature trade teams, the Belgian outfit took their fourth victory in the discipline, blasting through the 62.8 kilometre course in 1 hour 7 minutes 25 seconds.
They averaged 55.5kph, with a team made up of Kasper Asgreen, Laurens De Plus, Bob Jungles, Yves Lampaert, Max Schachmann and Niki Terpstra.
The remainder of the podium were closely matched: second place went to Sunweb, 18s slower than the winners, with BMC racing scooping bronze at 20s.
How it happened
The longer than average route from Otztal to Innsbruck featured a gently downward sloping early 40km, followed by a rude awakening in the shape of the 5km Axams hill climb, after which came the inevitable descent, and a flat final 12km.
The start list of 22 teams contained 12 UCI WorldTour teams, one Professional-Continental (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and nine Continental outfits, with Tirol Cycling Team off first.
Two time checks featured along the way – one at 22.8km, and one atop of the key climb, at 45km.
Quickest at the time check, once all teams had ridden through, were Mitchelton-Scott with 22-14. BMC Racing were 8s slower, and Quick-Step were ranked third at 13s. Defending campions Team Sunweb sat in fifth, behind Team Sky, 23s down on the leaders.
The first of the WorldTour teams to lose a rider was LottoNL-Jumbo, who distanced Timo Roosen ahead of the climb. Katusha-Alpecin, however, crested the climb with just four riders within their train.
The slopes of the challenging ascent wreaked havoc for many teams, with Ag2r-La Mondiale crawling at the peak, to wait for their essential fourth rider.
Once all had reached the top of the greatest test of the event, the quickest performance was held by Team Sunweb – but their 50-00-21 was only 1s faster than the time set by Quick-Step Floors, and 4s faster than BMC.
Next in line was Team Sky, a full 31s back, marking them and others out of podium contention with just over 17km left.
At the finish line, Mitchelton-Scott briefly made their way to the hot seat, with 1-08-22, but were out before they’d sat down, with Quick-Step Floors clocking 1-07-26 at an average speed of 55.5kph.
Team Sky finished without troubling the podium, 44s slower than the blue train. BMC, on arrival, shifted Team Sky from second place, but were still just under 20s behind the riders in the hot seat.
With 2km remaining, the final team on the course – Sunweb – was 18s down, the chance of victory by this point impossible. Their final time remained at 18s slower than the winners – leaving Quick-Step to celebrate their fourth victory at the event which will never be run in this format again.
Results: UCI Road World Championships team time trial (62.8km)
1 Quick-Step Floors 1:07:25
2 Team Sunweb at 18s
3 BMC Racing Team at 20s
4 Team Sky at 45s
5 Mitchelton-Scott at 57s
6 Movistar Team at 1-32
7 Trek-Segafredo at 2-04
8 Bora-Hansgrohe at 2-08
9 CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 2-38
10 Astana Pro Team at 2-54