Wout Van Aert, who earlier won silver in the road race, fuelling great expectations of further Olympic glory, finished 1’40” behind the winner.
The Olympic time trial had started so well for Belgian medal hopefuls.
A thriller was in prospect. After ten kilometres the seven leaders were separated by only ten seconds. At that point Van Aert was 4th – four seconds behind the leader. Hopes of a medal were high.
By the 15th kilometre Van Aert had approached the leader to within 4 hundredths of a second, but halfway through the race it became clear this was Medals Wednesday for Slovenia. Roglic proved unstoppable and Van Aert’s chances of a medal soon ebbed away.
Van Aert told VRT: “I was aiming for more, but I wasn’t good enough today. I couldn’t keep the pace I started on during the second lap. I knew that was needed to win.”
“I came to a halt in the uphill stretch during the second lap. I experienced cramps. I got back on top of it in the descent, but it wasn’t enough.”
Van Aert hasn’t yet considered the toll exacted by his win in the road race: “I have no regrets. Today I was able to start all relaxed in the knowledge I had already pocketed a medal. In figures I wasn’t reaching the level I can reach. Maybe it was a race too many.”