Trek Factory Racing’s Laurent Didier won his first elite National Time Trial Championship stopping the clock at 27:31 for the 21-kilometer course. Bob Jungels, last year’s victor, raced to a close second place five seconds behind, giving Trek Factory Racing a one-two finish in the Luxembourg National Time Trial Championships on Thursday. Ben Gastauer (AG2R-La Mondiale) rounded out the podium, a further 37 seconds in arrears.The 21-kilometer course consisted of two laps on undulating, technical roads, and after the first lap Didier trailed Jungels. Not losing any rhythm, Didier slowly chipped away at Jungels’ lead, and narrowly edged out his teammate by the finish.“It was quite a hard circuit, it had a little bit of everything with technical corners, false-flats and up and downs, before finishing on a flat road. We had to do two laps and I was trailing Bob after the first lap. I tried to hold my pace, and in the end it went really well. I didn’t expect that I could beat him! I am happy! At the intermediate I was told I was behind Bob around 10 seconds.”
“This is my win in the National TT as a professional; I had done it as a U23 before. I was surprised to beat him, but I attribute that to coming into the Nationals with good form from the Tour de Suisse. Otherwise I would not have beaten him.”
Bob Jungels, 21, a definite favorite to repeat his National time trial title, was disappointed after a less than stellar day. However, gracious in defeat he was happy to see his teammate, and friend, on the top step, donning the Luxembourg National Championship jersey.
“I did not have a great day. I was feeling very good and confident in training the days before, but I knew immediately in the first lap that it was not my day. You have these days; that’s sport. Of course the most important thing in the National Championships is that the team gets the jersey and it does not matter who. Laurent really deserves it, he did a great ride today and I am super happy for him, he is a great friend of mine.”
Didier and Jungels will be joined by Andy and Fränk Schleck on Sunday as they battle for the road national title. Trek Factory Racing will be the largest WorldTour contingent in the race, and they are fingered as the team to beat, but this does not make the win a given, explained Jungels.
“We have four contenders for the jersey, we will try and make it as hard as possible. It is going to be an interesting race, everyone is in good shape, and racing against amateurs does not mean that it will be really, really easy. The racing will be different and we will see – but we have four strong guys and it is doable.”