Rune Herregodts powers to time trial victory at ZLM Tour while Tim van Dijke continues a great season

The traditional Dutch stage race ZLM Tour has returned for its 35th iteration in 2024. It might have slipped many fans' attention as the race dropped from 2.Pro to 2.1 category, perhaps losing some of its gloss. However that didn't prevent big battle in the opening 14.7 km time trial, as with only flat stages to follow, it was clear the cards for general classification will be distributed here.

And it was Belgian Rune Herregodts who managed to clock the fastest time of 17:16. Another pre-race favourite Tim van Dijke came second at 12 seconds behind, while the podium was rounded off with two Astana Qazaqstan riders Gleb Syritsa (3rd at +18'') and Max Walker (4th at +20''). The Russian sprinter can use this great time to work towards the general classification in upcoming stages, while Walker is likely to pick up some bonification seconds with his brave solo attacks.

This way, Herregodts took his first professional victory in two years. "I came to this ZLM Tour with the aim of winning this individual time trial," said 25-year-old Herregodts afterwards in the flash interview with the organization. "I even focused on time trialling in recent weeks. A number of things were also done in terms of materials. Our clothing sponsor created a new time trial suit. Our mechanics also did their utmost to optimize my time trial bike. I had made this individual time trial a goal. So we really worked towards this time trial and I was able to reward all that work with a victory."

Herregodts was 12 seconds faster than the other favourite Tim van Dijke on the course. But the race is far from with four more flat stages to go, where not only bonifications but also echelons and crashes can come into play. The Intermarché - Wanty rider is well aware keeping the yellow jersey won't be an easy task. "Tim is certainly a formidable opponent for the general classification. He is a man who can do something in the sprint and can also gain bonus seconds along the way."

"I am less fast myself. I have a nice, but small lead. I will do everything I can to maintain the lead in the rankings for as long as possible. But this ZLM Tour has already started very well for me and the team," Herregodts concluded.

Tim van Dijke

Visma | Lease a Bike's Tim van Dijke certainly cannot complain about lack of action at the early parts of the 2024 season. The Dutchman already completed full spring campaign, Giro d'Italia and now he's back in action at ZLM Tour. In case he manages to finish the race, that would put him at total of 55 race days. And we are only at the start of June. Yet it doesn't seem like the 24-year-old is slowing down at all, as he flied through the time trial course on Wednesday, losing only to specialist on the discipline - Rune Herregodts.

At the finish, Van Dijke had to give in twelve seconds to the Belgian Herregodts. "Just after arriving, I was especially disappointed that I just didn't win. Now that the result has settled in a bit, I realize that I can be proud of myself," he said on his team's website.

Also the Dutchman can see that a lot can be done about his current GC position: "I am now in a good starting position, also with a view to the final rankings. We participate in this race to win, so that's what we all want to go for. This is now possible on the one hand by grabbing bonus seconds, but we are also going to make a plan day by day and see where we can possibly trick the competition," Van Dijke shows himself ambitious.

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