Stefan Bissegger stormed past his teammate Mark Padun in the home straight of the Volta ao Algarve‘s concluding time trial, but then he stopped pedalling and coasted home from around 100 metres out.
Wearing the European champion’s skinsuit, Bissegger had been one of the big pre-stage favourites in a Battle Royale of the world’s top time triallists, but it was clear his hopes of victory had long evaporated.
After finishing more than 90 seconds down on the best time – still early in the race – Bissegger returned to the EF Education-EasyPost bus where agitated conversations about tyres and rain commenced.
“We made the wrong choice with the tyres,” Bissegger told Cyclingnews after his effort in Lagoa. “Now you see here it’s full dry, but you go 1k, on the course and it’s full wet, like proper, proper wet. From 1-20 [kilometres] it was just full wet.
“It was strange, but we’re by the coast, so maybe that’s why,” he added, although there were patches of light rain in the area shortly before his start time.”
The conditions, Bissegger explained, turned the 24.4km course into an ice rink, at least for someone who’d selected tyres – Vittoria’s Corsa Speed Graphene 2.0 – for the driest of conditions.
“We made the wrong decision with those tyres and then you slip a lot. With the tyres I had, you have massive grip, and when it’s dry it’s probably the tyre with the most grip and the least rolling resistance, even both at the same time. But in the wet, I just can’t handle them in the wet.”
As such, Bissegger, who crashed twice in the Tour de France‘s sodden Copenhagen TT at last year’s Tour de France, nursed his way through the early corners while saying goodbye to any hopes of a first win of the season.
“I sprinted up every kicker but I played it really really safe in the corners because I knew it was already too late,” he said.
“It’s definitely frustrating. I felt pretty good but that’s how it is. Copenhagen was a big goal but this is not so big, so sometimes you need to be smart and not take risks. I didn’t crash today so I’m happy about that.”
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