Just 7" off medal places in Bergen
Portuguese specialist from Movistar Team brings out his enormous quality after difficult Vuelta a España, completes fantastic time trial in Norway to finish only behind podium trio Dumoulin (NED), Roglic (SLO) and Froome (GBR)
He felt disappointed about his own Vuelta a España performance as he rode into Madrid, due to own mistakes and health problems with prevented him from chasing a stage win in the Logroño time trial. However, Nelson Oliveira bounced back in impressive style to round off an otherwise really decent 2017 season and completed a sensatinoal performance in the World ITT Championships held in Bergen (Norway) on Wednesday. The Movistar Team rider in Portuguese national squad colours was 4th into the demanding, 31km course, just seven seconds off the podium.
Nelson timed his efforts to perfection and increased his speed through the second part of the course. Only 16th quickest of all times after 11km, Oliveira went on to clock fantastic splits at the end of the first lap – already closing in on the top-ten – and especially at the run-in to the foot of the 3.5km Mount Floyen finishing ascent. Before the climb, as the Portuguese rider changed his Canyon TT bike for a road machine as many other competitors did, Oliveira was already in 4th position, and the uphill section saw him beating Gougeard (FRA), Moscon (ITA) and Kiryienka (BLR) – the latter two by less than one seconds – to take the provisional lead and spend more than one hour on the 'hotseat'. Only three riders from the late group of starters, under rainy conditions, were able to take him off the podium: Tom Dumoulin (NED, gold), Primoz Roglic (SLO, silver) and Chris Froome (GBR, bronze).
It's the best result ever for Portugal in the elite Worlds ITT and yet another bright performance in the event – the Blues took bronze in Doha (2016) – for the Movistar Team, also represented in Norway today by Jonathan Castroviejo (14th), Gorka Izagirre (27th) and Jasha Sütterlin (35th).
Nelson Oliveira (thanks to the UVP-Portuguese Cycling Federation): "I'm really happy with this fourth place. You can get a bit sad when you miss out on a podium finish by so few seconds, but that's how cycling works, someone has to finish outside the podium in the end. It happened to me at last year's European Championships, too. However, I feel really content with my result, even if it could have been even more historic. I thank the federation, my team and all my family for helping me out and making such a good result possible.
"I wasn't expecting at all to feel so strong on the course. I really could show all my potential during the TT, and also kept a clear mind about saving some energy for the climb and giving it my all on those last kilometers. Many people have asked me after the TT if changing my bike was a good choice, and it's true that you lose some time with the swap, but for me, it's been the right move. I really feel like I would have climbed slowed with the TT bike. You've also got to admit that the rain falling over the late starters might have helped me get this result, but all in all, you've got to feel really satisfied about such a performance."
Picture: Luca Bettini / BettiniPhoto.net