Tour de Suisse: Küng Consolidates Overall Lead After Aggressive Stage 210. June 2018, Frauenfeld (SUI) — Road Team
Stefan Küng made the most of racing on home roads on his first day in the leader’s jersey to consolidate his lead by taking three bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint before crossing the line safely to retain the overall lead.
The 155km stage was made up of four laps of a 38km circuit, featuring a category 3 climb, and saw an early breakaway of three riders gain a three-minute advantage.
Küng’s BMC Racing Team teammates, Alessandro De Marchi and Michael Schär, controlled the race and kept the breakaway’s advantage to less than three minutes until the halfway mark, when the sprinters’ teams started to help with the chase with the expected bunch sprint in mind.
Albasini (Mitchelton-SCOTT) bridged to the three leaders with 50km to go, by which time the peloton, led by BMC Racing Team, was 1’30” back.
The breakaway was eventually caught with 26km to go on the final lap, which allowed Küng to win the final intermediate sprint and claim three bonus seconds, before the stage was set for an aggressive finale.
Bora-hansgrohe set a fast pace on the climb to force a split in the peloton while up ahead, Richie Porte tested his legs with an attack with 19km to go.
Porte’s attack was neutralized with 18km remaining before seven riders gained a small advantage in the final 10km. Simon Gerrans and Tejay van Garderen put in a big effort to bring them back with 5km to go and from there, the sprint trains were formed.
Peter Sagan took the win in Frauenfeld ahead of Greg Van Avermaet, who sprinted to eighth place, and Porte and Küng crossed the line in the peloton.
Küng sits three seconds ahead of teammates Van Avermaet, Porte, and van Garderen in the top four of the General Classification, while Gerrans is in eighth place.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was great today. I think I knew half of the public on the side of the road. It was really cool beforehand because a lot of people told me that they were going to be there. It was a pretty easy start and I had time to look around and say hello to the people so that was really nice. Once the racing started, I felt good immediately so I took the chance to take the bonus seconds in the sprint because everything came back together. Then, we just wanted to be up there and attempted to cover the moves. Richie said ‘I think I should attack’ and I said ‘why not’ so, he gave it a go. It is always better to be on the offence than on the defence so I think we did a good job. In the end, it came down to a sprint but I think Greg was up there so overall it was a good day for us.”
“I had a look at this parcours for the first time about two months ago and I thought then that it probably wouldn’t do that much damage but then when you race it and it has small roads and it’s up and down, left and right, if you’re in position 100, the guys in front of you are already 200m ahead. I think that was what caused the split plus the really hard racing from the intermediate sprint. So for us, it was perfect because going as hard as possible, we could drop some sprinters and then it is less dangerous. For sure, it is hectic but for us it makes it a lot easier. We have such a strong team here and I think we were up there present with five guys and two guys were riding in the beginning. I think we should we showed we are ready for it.”
“Tomorrow is also going to be a hard one. I also had a look at this stage. The climbs are a little bit longer but they are not as steep. With the weather announced, there might be some thunderstorms but I except the same type of racing as today.”
“There was not really any intent behind the attack but seeing as I was there and the sprinters’ teams were either missing their sprinter or didn’t have any guys left, I gave it a go. It was an aggressive final which I didn’t really expect. I think our guys were good. Stefan took a time bonus as well so I think everything today was good. It was quite hard but the guys put me in a pretty good position with Simon especially looking after me all day. I think the signs are good.”
“I felt a little bit blocked today but I think that’s the same for most of the bunch especially as we came in a bit early and have done a lot of sitting around in hotels as well. It’s not ideal but it’s to be expected. I think today was not super hard but not so easy. I think the crucial stages are later on in the week so hopefully I could get the bad feelings out of the legs today.”
Tour de Suisse
Stage 2 Frauenfeld > Frauenfeld (155km)
Top 3: 1. Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), 2. Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), 3. Nathan Haas (Katusha Alpecin)
BMC Racing Team top 3: 8. Greg Van Avermaet, 22. Stefan Küng, 25. Richie Porte