"Work to be done" for Heijboer and Jumbo-Visma: "Need to thoroughly examine all aspects" Cycling

"Work to be done" for Heijboer and Jumbo-Visma: "Need to thoroughly examine all aspects"

"Work to be done" for Heijboer and Jumbo-Visma: "Need to thoroughly examine all aspects"

After the World Championship time trial podium in Scotland was occupied by Remco Evenepoel of Soudal Quick-Step and Filippo Ganna and Joshua Tarling of INEOS Grenadiers, the latter managed to win the European Championship in Emmen on Wednesday. Jumbo-Visma, undoubtedly the dominant time trial team in recent years, had to settle for Wout van Aert's bronze medal.

Head of Performance Mathieu Heijboer also traveled to Drenthe on behalf of the Belgian leader for additional coaching. He saw Van Aert's third-place finish as a commendable result. "I think Wout rode a solid time trial. There were some doubts after the World Championships, but I believe he delivered an excellent performance here. The in-depth analysis is still pending, but I observed that he coped well with the challenging conditions, including strong winds. He maintained his position effectively, so he will leave here with a more positive feeling than after the World Championships," he commented, referring to Van Aert's disappointing fifth-place finish in Stirling.

Heijboer doesn't think performance Tarling will demotivate Van Aert for time trials

For the Belgian, it was by no means an easy week leading up to the World Cup, as master mechanic Nathan Van Hooydonck was involved in a car accident following a heart problem. During the European Championship, it was announced that Van Hooydonck would have to put an end to his career, which also deeply impacted Van Aert. "I did have a tough time with it," the Jumbo-Visma leader understandably disclosed after his time trial in Drenthe.

wout van aert

"It has been a highly emotional week, during which he also fell ill," Heijboer also noted. "That has undoubtedly affected how he is here. Tarling is nevertheless the deserved winner." The young Brit did not surprise the Jumbo-Visma time trial guru. 'He was already the favorite for us and didn't start last for nothing. With what he shows here, he demonstrates a different level than the rest.

The Dutchman does not think the significant gap with winner Tarling demotivates Van Aert. "The classics will always remain Wout's primary focus, but he will never abandon time trials. It is an incredibly beautiful discipline, in which it is very motivating to stay engaged."

"Work to be done" for Jumbo-Visma in time trials

Heijboer - unlike Filippo Ganna, for example, who indicated that if Tarling could still convert his two kilos of baby fat into muscle he would become unbeatable - does not want to draw any conclusions yet after the barely 19-year-old rider's feat. 'We have already said that of more riders. Remco Evenepoelwas also European champion at 19, there are new frontiers being pushed every time. But of course: Tarling is a super promising rider, although after such a performance you can't call him promising anymore. He is taking it to a new level again, so there is work to do for us.'

podium tijdrit dumoulin roglic dennis sirotti

With that "work to do," the performance coach is not so much referring to Van Aert but to the time trials as a whole. At the Tokyo Games, the entire time trial podium still belonged to Jumbo-Visma, but with the exception of Vingegaard's near-perfect time trial in the Tour, this season's flat tests against the clock did not live up to expectations. 'You can see from our time trials that the level has become higher across the board. A few years ago, we were more dominant. INEOS has always been very focused on time trials, but UAE-Team Emirates has also caught up with equipment. In that respect, we have to stay sharp. There is work to be done," Heijboer reiterated his point from a few minutes earlier.

"That's a challenge for me as well," he admitted. "I hope it will improve, and we are working very hard on that. We need to thoroughly analyze every aspect of it, and each time we find areas to improve." Isn't that becoming increasingly difficult, given the intense competition in cycling? "Those margins are indeed getting smaller and smaller, but ultimately, the key is to enhance the strong facets."

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