Berner Rundfahrt: Spengler in the Breakaway Before Welten Sprints to Second20. May 2017, Lyss (SUI) — Development Team
Bram Welten continued his run of podium finishes in Switzerland today, sprinting to second place at Berner Rundfahrt after an early breakaway, which included BMC Development Team’s Mario Spengler was caught by the peloton.
The one-day race saw riders tackle five, 33.9km laps with the day’s successful nine-rider breakaway forming early and building up an advantage of four minutes as they crossed the finish line for the first time.
With Spengler in the breakaway, the pressure was off BMC Development Team behind as they settled into a comfortable position in the first half of the peloton.
As the race approached the final two laps, the gap between the breakaway and the rest of the field began to fall as teams sensed the possibility of taking the race to a bunch sprint.
Approaching the final lap, Spengler was one of seven remaining breakaway riders, holding onto an advantage of just over two minutes. However, the peloton was chasing hard behind and the race was eventually back together with 10km to go.
From there, teams began to battle for position with BMC Development Team beginning to organize their final lead-out for Welten inside 5km to go.
Heading under the flamme rouge, Nathan Van Hooydonck was setting a fast tempo at the front of the peloton before swinging off with 500m to go, and Welten tucked into the wheel of Jasper Philipsen.
A strong headwind added to the difficulty of today’s sprint with Welten launching his final effort before being narrowly beaten on the line by Filippo Fortin (Tirol Cycling Team).
After doing the final legwork for Welten, Philipsen still had the strength to maintain his speed, finishing fourth in Lyss.
The same eight BMC Development Team riders head back to the start tomorrow for Cham – Hagendorn.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“Today was a hard course with five laps which included a pretty tough climb. Having Mario Spengler in the leading group was the perfect position for us as we didn’t have to pull at the front of the peloton. On the first three climbs, I felt good, and I could follow the bunch and the guys did a great job at keeping me out of the wind.”
“On the last two laps, the pace was really high with teams trying to split the peloton, and at that point, Nathan and Callum Scotson stayed with me to make sure I got over the climb and bring me back into the bunch. Thankfully it worked every time, and we made it back into the bunch and heading towards the final sprint. All the guys did a great job today, and I was confident going into the sprint. I maybe started my sprint a bit too early with the headwind which could have allowed the other rider to beat me on the line. I am still happy with my effort today especially as I wasn’t sure I could make it over that climb and still be up there at the finish. A lot of my success today is down to the hard work of Nathan and Callum.”
“We were in a good position right from the beginning of the race really with Mario Spengler in the breakaway, which at one point reached over four minutes. The pressure was off us a little bit in the peloton, so we were able to relax a little bit. At the end, when the gap was starting to fall quickly, we still had seven fresh riders in the bunch, so we started to ride. In the end, we did a final lead-out for Bram Welten but we went quite early, and no-one was able to pass us really. Nathan Van Hooydonck did a great job setting the tempo with 1km to go before I dropped Bram off for his final sprint around 200-250m before the line. With the headwind, we might have made a mistake in going so early. But we can’t complain, although we want to, you can’t win every race, and it is also important for us to learn. There was a lot more climbing kilometers today than we will have tomorrow so, it was good to get today under our belts and come away with a good result as well.”
“I know this course really well, so I knew when the right point to try and force a breakaway was and it was a good day for me, I felt good riding out at the front of the race. I was able to do a good job for the team by taking the pressure off them. Eventually, when the group was caught, I was also able to take a turn to help with the lead-out so, I think I did a good job today. Tomorrow is a totally different race, it is a hard race to control so, I think everyone will be looking to us to do a lot of the work, but I am confident that if needed we can do that and still get results.”
Sports Director, Jens Blatter:
“We knew we wanted to be in the breakaway today. We had hoped to have two riders in there, but when it went away, it was only Mario Spengler who was in the right position. It was a strong breakaway, but he did a good job and was able to take some of the pressure of the guys behind. With 50km to go, we moved up to the front off the peloton as teams were pulling really hard to force the bunch sprint. Once the race was back together, the guys started their lead-out for Bram Welten, and they did a great job getting him into the perfect position. Bunch sprints can sometimes be a bit of a lottery, so while we just missed out on the top step of the podium, we can be happy with our two top five finishes and with how well everyone rode as a team.”
One day race: Lyss > Lyss, 169.7km
Top 3: 1. Filippo Fortin (Tirol Cycling Team) 2. Bram Welten (BMC Development Team) 3. Fabian Lienhard (Team Vorarlberg)