BMC Racing Team Safely Home After Another Wet Day in Switzerland26. April 2017, Champérey (SUI) — Road Team
With four categorized climbs before the final ascent to Champérey, the opening road stage of Tour de Romandie was always going to be tough but wet and cold conditions added to the difficulty, and in the end, the stage victory came down to a reduced bunch sprint for the line.
The attacks started from KM 0 with two riders going immediately out in front as five riders tryied to bridge the gap behind them before the two groups eventually merged after 15km of racing.
Their advantage continued to rise and by the time the race had neared the summit of the second category climb to Vex, the gap was holding at around 7'30" with only four riders left out in front.
With 50km to go, the chase from the bunch heated up and as the race hit the foot of the short, but testing, La Rasse climb it had fallen to under 3 minutes as BMC Racing Team stuck together in the bunch behind.
The rain began to fall heavily once again and this meant that it was a fast but dangerous descent as the peloton, led by Tom Bohli, Stefan Küng and Daniel Oss continued to close in on the breakaway..
As the peloton climbed 14.4km to the finish line in Champéry, riders were being quickly dropped off the back. Danilo Wyss then took over at the front of the bunch to set the pace with Nicolas Roche, Tejay van Garderen and Richie Porte in his wheel at the 10km to go marker.
Attacks quickly followed including a move from van Garderen which prompted a reaction from the General Classification contenders behind. Riders continued to try and get the better of their rivals, but in the end, the bunch remained together going under the fog covered flamme rouge before Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott) took the win in the final sprint for the line.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I think we were a bit lucky as it wasn’t as bad as expected until the very end really. I think it was a good day to pass. It was so cold in the end there that it was hard to change gears and I think everyone felt equally as fatigued as each other. It wasn’t as exciting a final but it was nice to get the racing started.”
“From the start, we had Michael Schär, and Daniel Oss put us into the climb in the perfect position, and for me, Danilo Wyss was brilliant today. He set a really good pace all the way up the climb and kept me out of harm's way. Tejay van Garderen is also going really strong, and his attack was good for us as it drew some of the GC guys out. It was a really good day in that respect, and we will see what over the next few days. The race isn’t over yet.”
Tour de Romandie
Stage 1: Aigle - Champéry, 172.1km Top 3: 1. Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott) 2. Diego Ulissi (UAE Tea Emirates) 3. Jésus Herrada (Movistar Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 24. Richie Porte 33. Tejay van Garderen 60. Nicolas Roche
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.