Race report

Michael Matthews 3rd and Søren Kragh Andersen 4th in Suisse TT opener

Tour de Suisse

The Tour de Suisse began today with a nine and a half kilometre long time trial around the town of Langnau im Emmental. From the start house the riders would head downhill towards the intermediate checkpoint, before taking on some corners at the far end of the course. Following on from that, a return up the other side of the road they just came down awaited them, with the parcours slowly dragging uphill all the way to the line. 

A route where aerodynamics and being able to maintain speed were key, the Cervelo P5 was in its element and with the Shimano disc brakes allowing for later braking into the corners, the riders were able to gain a few extra seconds throughout their efforts.

With the forecast for storms later in the stage, the team decided to send out Wilco Kelderman, Michael Matthews and Søren Kragh Andersen earlier in the day. Unfortunately, Kelderman had a small crash during his effort while riding well, but he was able to get back on his bike okay and finish the stage. Matthews and Kragh Andersen set blistering times out on the route, with both near the top of the order at the intermediate split point before powering up the drag to the line. Their efforts would be enough to see them end the day in the top ten, finishing third and fourth respectively.

As the riders continued to roll down the start ramp the weather worsened and the rain started to pour down. Furthermore, the wind changed direction, meaning a headwind on the way back. Marc Hirschi was looking to impress on home roads and he set one of the fastest times at the intermediate split but because of the strong headwind and poor conditions, he wasn’t able to challenge the top of the leaderboard come the end of the route.

Speaking at the finish Matthews explained: “I’m happy with the performance today. It was a full gas effort against the clock and we were super close to getting the win, finishing just one second behind the winner in the end. Tomorrow is another day and we’ll have to see what happens; I’m looking forward to a good week of racing here at the Tour de Suisse.”

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts continued: “With the bad weather that was forecast we decided to put Wilco, Michael and Søren as our early starters. Unfortunately, Wilco had a small crash in the time trial while he was riding well but thankfully he seems to be okay after it. Michael and Søren both did really strong rides out on the course, finishing third and fourth at the end of the day. It was a shame that the weather got worse throughout the day and the wind changed direction. Marc did a very good start to his time trial but with the wind changing direction, he couldn’t finish it off as well as he had hoped. All in all, it was a good day for us with solid performances from the guys, with Michael and Søren coming very close to the victory.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 DENNIS Rohan Bahrain Merida 10:50 60
2 BODNAR Maciej BORA - hansgrohe ,, 25
3 MATTHEWS Michael Team Sunweb 0:01 10
4 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb 0:02 -
27 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 0:23 -
34 ROCHE Nicolas Team Sunweb 0:26 -
51 KÄMNA Lennard Team Sunweb 0:36 -
67 HIRSCHI Marc Team Sunweb 0:41 -
141 KELDERMAN Wilco Team Sunweb 1:28 -