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by Shane Stokes
March 14, 2018
Dennis wins Tirreno time trial, Kwiatkowski takes overall; Avila wins stage 3 of Tour of Taiwan, Clarke takes race lead; Benoot celebrating strong GC ride; Bouhanni speaks of frustration after Cofidis team doesn’t select him for Milan-San Remo; Vinokourov/Kolobnev trial delayed until June; Sale of Niner Bikes closes, Huffy’s parent company is the buyer; Video: Graeme Obree, Athlete or Genius?; Video: Phil Gaimon’s 12.5-pound Cannondale Hi MOD Strava Bike
Winner in the recent Strade Bianche, Tiesj Benoot provided further evidence of his strong form when he finished fourth overall in Tirreno-Adriatico. He ended the race one minute and six seconds behind winner Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), and was 34 seconds off the podium place of Kwiatkowski’s teammate Geraint Thomas.
“I am very happy with this fourth place on GC. Before the start of Tirreno-Adriatico I aimed for a place on top ten, but this fourth place is beyond expectations,” he said. “I hadn’t thought to climb four places on GC today. Before the time trial began I hadn’t even thought much about what would still be possible on GC. Gaining one, or maybe two places seemed possible, but it was a surprise that I climbed over Landa and Urán too.”
Benoot finished second overall in the Tour of Belgium in 2015 yet, given the lineup, Tuesday’s result is arguably his best stage race performance to date. “During the warm-up I felt I had good legs. Just before the start of my time trial it started to rain. Of course it were the same circumstances for my opponents. I asked for a different set of tubes to take as little risk as possible. I planned my time trial well and had enough energy left to accelerate in the second half. Because it was a matter of seconds, I rode full gas until the finish line.”
He also won the best young rider contest. After the stage he talked about highlights. “My overall result is the best result of the past week for me. My third place on the steep finish in Trevi was of course very strong,” he explained. “And becoming sixth on the summit finish on Saturday was better than expected. This proves that I have set a step forward on different terrains. Now I will rest a few days and enjoy my recent results, including my current second place in the WorldTour classification.”