The Tour Take | Tour de Suisse Stage 1
1st – BMC Racing, 20:18
2nd – Team Sunweb @ 0:19
3rd – QuickStep Floors 0:27
An 18.3km time trial kicked off this year’s Team Time Trial. Held on mostly wide open roads, it wasn’t an overly technical course, but the opening and finishing kilometres had some tricky turns. It was mostly flat too, bar a few small pinches in the first half of the race, and a downhill section where riders were hitting 100km/h. With a pan flat second half, there was time for the power riders to hit the throttle in the big gear.
Overall Leader – Stefan Kung
The Winning ride
UAE set the early mark at 21:08, but they were outclassed by QuickStep, who set the quickest time at the checkpoint, and then the finish with 20:45. Bora-Hansgrohe threatened the QuickStep time but fell short by a half second. Their team looked like the winning time until the final few teams left the start house.
Sunweb beat QuickStep to the intermediate check by seven seconds, but burnt through their riders quickly, and were down to four with a couple of kms to go. They had to slow down to keep the four together, and that might have cost them. They came home in a time of 20:38, which was the fastest time to that point, but BMC were flying behind.
BMC bested the Sunweb intermediate time by 5 seconds and never slowed. They crossed the line in 20:18, 19 seconds faster than the next best time. Crossing the line, they allowed Stefan Kung to lead the team and take the Leader’s Jersey. Fitting for the Swiss boy.
The Movers and Shakers
Richie Porte’s race started perfectly, he’s got an enormous lead over several other GC contenders. Wilco Kelderman is his nearest competitor, 20 seconds back. Patrick Konrad and Jack Haig are both coming off the Giro, so we’ll see if they can compete for the overall, but they both got good starts, being 27 and 29 seconds back respectively from Porte. Movistar and Bahrain-Merida rode good times, so the Izaguerres, Landa and Quintana are all in the hunt, around 30 second back.
Who flopped? Astana rode poorly to put Fuglsang on the back foot; he’s 1:18 back on Porte now. Bauke Mollema is 0:58 back, while Steven Kruijswijk has 0:53 to make up.
2nd- Richie Porte
8th- Michael Matthews
9th- Simon Gerrans
Stage 2 will be held on a 39km loop that the riders will cover four times. The loop includes three punchy climbs, all averaging around 5% for between two and 3 kilometres. The second of the three has a short pitch at 20%, but it’s brief, and none of the climbs are brutal. A flat 6-kilometre run-in to the line means we’ll likely get a reduced bunch sprint.
There’s a big field of classics specialists here, Sagan, Van Avermaet, Haas, Gilbert, Colbrelli to name a few, and a couple of sprinters in Demare and Gaviria. It’s likely a touch too hard for the pure sprinters due to the number of climbs, so we’ll back the inbetweeniest option, coming in the form of Michael Matthews. Bling picks his races sparingly - he’s not been seen with a number pinned on since Romandie, where he won the opening prologue – when he turns up, it's generally to win.
See you back at the social club,