Küng Just Outside Top Ten on Tour de France Stage 20 Time Trial28. July 2018, Espelette (FRA) — Road Team
Stefan Küng was BMC Racing Team’s best-placed rider on Tour de France stage 20 today after a strong performance on a tough time trial course saw him finishing just outside the top ten on the penultimate day of racing.
Before reaching the iconic backdrop of the Champs-Élysées tomorrow, the riders faced one more challenge at this year’s Tour de France, an undulating 31km individual time trial from Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle to Espelette which, with 3km to go, went over the top of the Col de Pinodieta, a short 900m long climb with an average gradient of over 10%.
As soon as Küng started his effort, he immediately showed his time trialling prowess by posting the provisional third-fastest time at both the first and second intermediate checkpoints, which came after 13km and 22km respectively.
The current Swiss national time trial champion pushed himself from start to finish on the tough parcours and eventually stopped the clock at 42’18” which, after the General Classification contenders began to roll off the ramp, was enough to see him secure 12th, 1’26” behind stage winner, Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).
Damiano Caruso also put in a determined effort out on the course to cross the line in 42’23” which was saw him finish 13th on the stage and move up into the top twenty overall.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
"It was really, really hard. We are in the Basque Country and when you look at the other races that are held here like Tour of Basque Country and San Sebastian, it's always light, punchy climbers who are up there. So, I guess it's also a course for them today and that's not quite my type of rider. Anyway, I gave it all I had and I think I couldn't have gone any faster today so I'm pretty happy. In the end, there is not much you can do and you just do your own thing and try to go as fast as possible. At the end of the Tour de France, it is always pretty difficult and yesterday with the neutral, we were six and a half hours on the bike so for sure it's not the same when you are going into a time trial fresh. But, compared to last year I felt better today so I take it as a step in the right direction."
Greg Van Avermaet:
"It has been a really nice Tour de France for me. To spend eight days in the yellow jersey is something special. I was really happy with my first week. In the second, I was in the breakaways and tried to give as much as possible. Then, the last week was pretty hard in the mountains and now I am happy that we are heading to Paris. We will see how it goes tomorrow. There is a chance that there is an open sprint but there are also a lot of teams interested especially the French teams with Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ who have good sprinters and who will try to keep the pack together. We will try to do something but in the end, I will be happy that the race is over."
Tour de France
Stage 20 / ITT: Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle > Espelette, 31km
Top 3: 1. Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) 2. Chris Froome (Team Sky) 3. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 12. Stefan Küng 13. Damiano Caruso 29. Tejay van Garderen