Tom Dumoulin secured the fourth Netherlands time trial title of his career on Thursday, storming to victory in Drenthe.
The Jumbo-Visma rider dominated in humid conditions in the Dutch province, setting the fastest time at the opening split and maintaining that dominant pace across the 29.5km course, finishing 28 seconds ahead of EF Education-Nippo's Sebastian Langeveld.
Koen Bouwman, also of Jumbo-Visma, finished in third, more than a minute behind Dumoulin.
Dumoulin's 2021 season over after breaking wrist on training ride
"In the second part the heat started to play a role, my legs became slightly tired. It was hard work", Dumoulin said of his winning ride. "But I have recovered well after a week of racing in Switzerland.
I rode a very good time trial. If I had ridden this time trial a few years ago, I would have been very happy too. I am close to my good form.
Dumoulin announced that he was taking a break from the sport in January off this year, leaving Jumbo-Visma training citing mental fatigue.
But the 2017 time trial world champion announced his return in May, with one eye on a big for Olympic gold in Tokyo this summer.
"In Switzerland [during his break] it went a little bit better every day, I started to like racing more and more," Dumoulin said. "And I have continued that feeling. I am very happy with the title today. This is really a victory over myself.
"It’s not easy to return to my old level, but gradually things are improving.
"These kilometres on the time trial bike are very important towards the Olympics. My base just needs to be a little more stable. I have every confidence that it will work out."
‘Absolute masterclass’ – Bahrain Victorious delight as Mohoric wins final stage, Colbrelli tops GC
Dumoulin to take part in World Championships