Pello Bilbao wins Spanish time trial championships
The Spanish national time trial championships were held on a demanding course in the Jaén province. Following up on last year’s runner-up position, Pello Bilbao rode to his first national elite championship title in La Iruela aboard MERIDA’s TIME-WARP TT.
The organizer of Spain’s national road championships held in the Jaén province had flagged out a very hard course for the individual time trial. The elite men had to cover a distance of 45.3 kilometers from Cazorla to La Iruela. The course featured one hard climb halfway into the race, and the last 3.5 kilometers were all uphill as well. Adding to the challenge were temperatures soaring towards the 40°C mark in the afternoon.
The only athlete of Team Bahrain-McLaren to contest the individual time trial at Spain’s national championships was Pello Bilbao. At last year’s championships, Bilbao had only bean beaten by Jonathan Castroviejo, and this spring the rider from the Basque country had scored two top5 finishes in time trials at high-profile stage races. The demanding profile of the course also was in Pello Bilbao’s favour, and the rider had been preparing for this race meticulously, logging plenty of kilometers aboard MERIDA’s TIME WARP TT.
«Winning an individual time trial was one of the big goals of my season, and the profile of the championship course looked very promising to me», Pello Bilbao commented after race. «Facing a full-out effort of more than one hour in 40°C is never easy, but I came here to win my first individual time trial and was fully motivated. Everything went right and as we had planned. I dedicate this win to the entire Team Bahrain-McLaren: The timing is spot-on after the hard period we went through with the lockdown and many weeks without a race. And the win certainly adds to the motivation for the next big goal of the season, being the Tour de France.»
This weekend, five more riders of Team Bahrain-McLaren are competing at the mass-start races of their respective national road championships. Ivan Cortina is lining up for the Spanish championships while Enrico Battaglin, Eros Capecchi, Damiano Caruso and Sonny Colbrelli will be fighting tor the Italian champion’s jersey.
SPANISH NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL ELITE MEN
CAZORLA - LA IRUELA, 45.3KM
1. Pello Bilbao, ESP/Team Bahrain-McLaren, in 1:03.32 hours
2. Luis Leon Sanchez, ESP, + 0.36
3. Gorka Izagirre, ESP, + 1.36